Mothers-to-be often daydream about an idyllic maternity leave, but that’s not always the case. In fact, a lot of new mothers feel worn out, tired, stressed and downright miserable during their maternity leave. And that’s because they haven’t had a full’s night rest in weeks, don’t recognize their bodies and still have to take care of most of the household chores even though they have a new 7-pounder to look after around the clock.
In other words, a maternity leave is no vacation, my friends.
Sure, staying home for 6-8 weeks or in some cases even three months might sound like a dream. And most of the time it is, especially since you don’t have to worry about getting up before the crack of dawn to beat traffic on your way to the office every morning. But instead of dealing with your boss, deadlines and office politics, you’ve got other things on your mind during your maternity leave. Here are just some reasons why you shouldn’t treat your maternity leave like a vacation because guess what… it’s not one.
Here are 9 reasons why a maternity leave is not a vacation.
1. No Sleep
Parents need to work their sleep schedules around the newborn’s patterns. Newborns sleep a lot – typically up to 16 to 17 hours a day. But most babies don’t stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time, day or night, during the first few weeks of life. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule for your baby can make all the difference in the world, but of course, it’s not always easy.
Simply put, unlike a real vacation, you never get to sleep! Forget island time. Your basically on your baby’s schedule. In essence, sleep when the baby sleeps.
There is simply no rule, regulation or reason under FMLA that says you cannot keep up with work emails while you are out on leave. But why in the world would you want to? It’s so hard for some new mothers to stay offline but at the same time they can’t help but think about work issues while they are at home with their new baby.
Ideally, it would be wonderful if we could stay off our phones, computers and technology during our maternity leaves but the lot of us know that it will never happen. You’ll end up checking in at the office one way or another, which is something you probably wouldn’t do on a real vacation.
Unfortunately, it’s still called a maternity leave and not housework leave. According to one study, women end up doing MORE housework after their baby is born than their partners.
According to a study by Ohio State University’s New Parents Project, once a baby comes home and, after whatever parental leave either parent took, time diary data showed that the women continued to do about 15 hours a week of housework. And they added 22 hours a week of child care. The men picked up 14 hours more of child care. But they’d started doing less housework. Five fewer hours a week!