After I told her I was taking my maternity leave early – at least a month earlier than most women would consider stopping work, probably – someone asked me, incredulous, “What will you DO all day?”
On one hand, I was a little offended. People who don’t work can still be productive members of society, I thought. I can still contribute to life around me. I can still matter. I can DO all kinds of things.
But on the other hand, I was wondering the same thing.
Of course, if we hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t be on maternity leave yet. My body is still in pretty good working order, relatively speaking, and my job wasn’t particularly strenuous or hazardous to a pregnant lady. But we did move, and I certainly wasn’t going to find a new job for a few weeks just to leave for a year.
So, maternity leave it is.
And what do I DO all day? So far, more than I ever did while working.
I took the last week off before we moved to sort out all kinds of legal things and financial things and utilities things and other things. (I also signed up for a personal challenge to see how many times I could use the generic, bland, bane-of-my-existence word ‘things’ in a sentence without hating myself. It turns out four was too many.)
I thought I would need to find a new show to watch on Netflix to fill in the time gaps between doing one thing and another, but between all the phone calls, errands, and social engagements, those gaps seemed few and far between.
The week of the move – yes, from start to finish the process took a week – filled itself in without my help, thank you very much.
And since we’ve arrived, I will say without hesitation that I have accomplished a lot of, well, things. Sure, one day I sat down and read an entire book, but that day I also got three rooms in our house completely unpacked and organized. Another day, I did two full coats of paint – trim included – in the baby’s room. I’ve painted the master bedroom (although that was not a solo effort) and baked treats for my husband’s platoon and gone through all the paperwork required to change my name and taken the dogs out to explore this new world around us and assembled lamps and gliders.
I haven’t even really missed having the Internet at home.
(Although, having it back now is good. Very good.)
I’m not sure this keeping busy trend is going to come to a halt any time soon, either. There are a couple more rooms I’d like to paint, plus I could always paint the insides of all of the closets, and maybe the deck. I’d like to clean up the yard and cook lots of extra meals to freeze and drive around all the back roads and plant a vegetable garden.
And once Little Parasite makes her entrance into the world, I have a feeling – although it could be completely unfounded – that I might be even busier.
So I’m left wondering – what did I DO all day before maternity leave?