I’m currently seven months pregnant, and my maternity (if all goes to leave) is just over a month away now, which I expect will go really quickly. I’m currently waiting to hear back about my maternity allowance, to check that the government will actually help me during my time off, since I’m self employed and don’t have a job that will still pay me when I give birth, etc. There shouldn’t be a problem, but waiting to hear back sucks.
If all goes to plan though, I’ll actually be taking a long time off from work; around 6-9 months off. That seems crazzzzyyy to a workaholic like me, but I’ve come to this decision for quite a few reasons. Mostly, I haven’t had a break from my job in years. I’ve never gotten holidays, sick pay, or just even a week off really. So I think it’s about time I do. And I REALLY, really want to be there to look after baby during those first few months. I’m not sure how I could handle learning to become a mum, looking after baby around the clock, AND still keeping up with work. My family all live in Liverpool remember, so we only really have Gary’s mum as an option for babysitting! And I certainly don’t expect her to do that all the time. So, time off for me it is.
Rather than winging it, I’ve decided I need a real plan in place to look after myself while I’m on maternity leave. It’s no secret that I’m a workaholic, I find it hard to switch off, and it greatly affects my mental health when I can’t be creative for big chunks of time. So, what’s my plan?
1. Let Art become a hobby again
For years now, Art has become my job. While that sounds incredible (and it is), it can have major downsides. I actually wrote about this a while back, if you want to check it out. Basically; it can be hard to find time to just be creative for the sake of it, and not feel like you need to make something others will like. Whatever I create nearly always ends up being a product for people to buy. This is great, but it can take away the freedom I so love with Art. So while I’m on maternity, I’m keen to get this freedom back! I can’t have my shop open at all, or earn pennies by selling things; so I really an paint, draw, collage, scrapbook and create absolutely anything I want, all just for the joy of it. I’m SO pleased about this!
2. Start writing my book
Yep. I need to bloody get a move on. I’ve had this one book planned for years now, but it’s never taken off. I’ve never gotten any further than my notes, because I’ve always made work a priority. I’m hoping during my time off, I can at least START to finally tick this off my bucket list. I have a story built up inside my head that’s just dying to come out, so I need to make this happen.
3. Indulge in blogging/Instagram
I wrote recently about how I’m a bit of a crap blogger, and while I’m not expecting miracles while looking after a baby; I do see this as a good time to make the most of my blog and Instagram. I want to use the chunks of free time I’ll have, to write regularly, and to keep my Instagram updated with family life, creative things, and just everyday happiness really! If it can serve as a diary of this time, I’ll be pleased as I think it’ll be something I treasure looking back on.
4. Get into a good routine
Mental health is so important, and I already know what puts myself in a bad mental state. Add a whole new journey of looking after a child in there, and it is something that worries me slightly. I don’t want to forget myself, lose my passions, and feel like I’m doing nothing but feeding and changing. At some point; I hope Gary, baby and I can get into a good routine; making sure we have lots of family time, baby and I get out exploring regularly while Gary’s in work, and that I also have time to myself at some point. I’m going to make it a priority because I already know how much I’ll need it.
5. Visit family more
This one is INCREDIBLY important to me. I live so far away from all my family, and a lot of my friends; so I want to make sure we visit as much as possible. I’m hoping once every 5 or 6 weeks if possible. We just need to work around Gary’s work schedule, and he’s already promised that he’s happy to drive us all to Liverpool even if it’s just for one night or two (this is incredibly thoughtful, as it’s a heck of a journey). Of course I hope family will visit us here in Plymouth too, but I know it’s easier if we go to them, so I’ll be trying my best. I don’t want my mum and brothers not seeing my little boy as he grows and changes. So since I’ll have no work to do; this will be my priority!
If you’ve been on/are on maternity leave; let me know how you spent the time, or what you wish you did more of? 🙂
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