The Writer Mom Chronicles: Why I’m Not Taking Maternity Leave

I don’t understand how some moms can happily take months off work after baby arrives. It’s not that I don’t understand and empathize with the new demands on the body (adjusting to less sleep and being a human pillow) as well as how much harder it is to get anything done.

But that’s just it: what do those moms DO all day, week in and week out, for months?

An acquaintance of mine – via Facebook – is expecting her first child. She’s already posted how she’s taking 4 months off from her business once her daughter arrives. I remember being jealous at that announcement… that this soon-to-be mom’s business, finances, and lifestyle afforded that. And mine, absolutely, did not.

Before C’s birth, my goal was to take a month off. But when Ben was laid off in February… that went out the window. Ben is working, but it’s not what the old job was paying.

And let’s be real: money matters. For little things like groceries and propane and the mortgage and dog food.

I made my peace with a much shorter maternity leave.

Then something unexpected happened…

C was born on a Friday. We were home on Sunday. Tuesday rolled around and my weekly newsletter needed to go out. I had a guest article already in my inbox, I just needed to edit it, post it, and prep the newsletter. Ben took C for a drive and I scooted into my office to focus. An hour later, I was finishing up: C breastfeeding and racing a lightning storm so I could shut down the computer. When I pushed “send” I realized…

I’d missed this.

It had only been 5 days and… I was done. I was so over the non-working “maternity’ leave.

I was exhausted from sitting at the desk that long (C-section, remember) but I was energized as well.

I wasn’t allowed to drive.
Or hike.
Or walk to the gate.
Or bend, twist, feed the dogs or load the dishwasher…

But, damnit, I could do this!

And I missed it. I’d missed the normalcy of writing, working, answering emails.

So I went back to work. An hour here, an hour there. Slowly building in time and comfort level. Thankfully, I only had one client who needed me. That’s a thankfully it was ONLY one and a huge debt of gratitude TO that one – a real reason to get back to the keys.

The other thing that was obvious… I was instantly a better mom for the working. For getting into my own head and focusing on my area of brilliance. Because any new mom will tell you – there’s a shit-ton of doubts about how well you’re doing as a mom. And no amount of “you’ve got this mom!” articles, videos, or memes actually ease that worry in these early days!

To my acquaintance who’s taking 4 months off…

It’s okay if you don’t end up wanting to!

I missed my business.
I missed writing.
I missed that facet of myself.

Remember, I’m a writer first and a mom second. By honoring that need to write, life is just better.

(Case in point: I didn’t really sleep the night before outlining the first installment of the Writer Mom Chronicles. Not because C was keeping me awake… but because I didn’t want to lose the ideas!)

So write on, Writer Mom! Balance the laptop on the kiddo and get those fingers onto the keys.

Um… just remember that laptops get hot the more you use them. And you don’t want to overheat your kid. Not at all like I did that… Nope. Wasn’t me…

BTW: I’m not mom-blogger. I’m a Writer Mom. Navigating the very-real world of being a writer, business owner, and new-mom. This isn’t about the mom life – it’s about the Writer Mom Life. And how to make that a reality!

Kim Galloway
Find me!