WHEN I finished work for my 11 month “baby holiday” I had no idea how I would fill that time … I even started this blog as a way of keeping busy.
I spent ages looking for events in Llanelli and checking what Facebook groups people I knew with babies had joined so I wouldn’t miss out on anything.
Fast forward seven months and my social calendar (or Santi’s, should I say) is fit to burst! I struggle to find time to blog, and when I do it can take weeks to get one post written.
And far from counting down the days to going back to work, I’ve extended my leave by a couple of months to spend more time with Santi.
What have we been up to during all this time…
We’ve been to two stages of Sing and Sign and have just started the third, completed a course of Waterbabies swimming lessons, and we go to three mother and baby groups each week.
We’ve been to a Halloween party (bit of a disaster, find out why here), and before Christmas had four parties to attend.
Throw in lunch out and a couple of coffee catch-ups and there’s something in the diary almost every day.
While I’m enjoying my time off work and definitely making the most of it, what I’ve come to realise through signing up to loads of groups and events is that it’s more for the mothers than the babies.
Yes, it’s great for the babies to socialise, but truthfully I think I’m getting more out of this than Santi (he’s only just started to acknowledge the other babies in the group … He’s so antisocial!).
Over the weeks I’ve been asked if Santi knows sign language yet.
No (although I think he might be trying to do a couple of signs since I started to write this week’s ago)
I’ve been asked if he can swim yet.
No (but honestly, do you expect to be able to leave a seven-month-old float around alone in the pool?!)
He’ll pick both up in time, I’m sure, but in the meantime I’m learning a new skill and gaining the confidence to take Santi swimming on my own.
I feel guilty when Stew asks what we’re up to each day as he has to go to work, but I’d feel even worse if we were hiding away in the house. And it’s actually quite hard work just getting to these groups, especially groups that start at 10am!
It takes military style planning to get us both dressed and out of the house, and you can guarantee there will always be a dirty nappy as we’re about to leave.
Then there’s the pram to get into the boot, the car seat that weighs a tonne, and the endless kit and feeds to remember.
I was asked before I finished work if I was going to take up a hobby while I was off, and I actually did think I’d manage something. I had grand plans of updating my career goals, getting fit and brushing up on (or attempting to relearn) my French and Italian.
I thought after a few months off I’d be a new person. How naive I was!
Despite gaining the 37.5 hours I would have been in work, I now have less spare time than ever.
We’re usually only out for a few hours each day, but by the time we get home I’m exhausted!
And it’s not all sitting on the floor drinking squash with other mothers while the babies play (or crane their necks in the opposite direction to ignore the others in Santi’s case). Between activities there are bottles to make, clean and sterilise (constantly), food to plan (for us and Santi now that he’s on solids and somehow puts away four meals a day), washing to do (occasionally), and nap time battles (several times daily).
When exactly I thought I’d read all seven Harry Potter books in two languages and start running again, I have no idea.
But it’s all worth it.
We’ve made some lovely friends along the way, and I hope we’ll keep in touch when we have the new challenge of trying to fit motherhood in with full time jobs.
But let’s not think about that just yet…