It was wonderful. Except for when it wasn’t.
Spending time to get to know my son was fabulous. I thought I was going to really dislike being on maternity leave and away from my (very excellent) clients for so long. Honestly, I thought I was gonna get bored.
Yeah, yeah. I can hear all of you experienced parents laughing at that one.
Mostly though, I really liked my maternity leave. Having the time to get to know my son has been amazing and so important.
But there have been six very distinct maternity leave experiences that have got under my skin.
1. The sorry-not-sorry enquiries
Sorry to bother you on maternity leave, but I’m Cassandra from I-Can’t-Take-A-Hint Ltd and we really need some copy for our website.
We need a gazillion product descriptions, a sales page and a 50 email nurture sequence. All delivered yesterday. Can you do it?
Hope you and the little one are well. It’s such a special time. Cherish every moment.
Sigh. I shit-you-not I had messages with the same sentiment as the above (obviously over-exaggerated) example.
No, Casandra. You’re not sorry or you wouldn’t have emailed at asking something of me that I can’t do and demanding time I can’t give you. Following up with another two emails won’t help your cause. You’ll still only get you my out of office reply.
D’you reckon employees who work in-house for a company get requests for work from managers or colleagues while they’re on approved mat leave? Curious.
2. A disgustingly messy office
My once (reasonably) clean and well-organised office went to shit. It became a dumping ground for various boxes, baby things, half-completed life admin. My laptop and desk were abandoned for so long that a fine layer of grey dust settled over them. And that made me sad. Seeing my workplace sanctuary morph into a habitat fit for The Twits was heart breaking.
It took me weeks, weeks! to find the time to finally blitz the fucker and restore order.
3. Not having enough time
To watch, read, or listen to all the podcasts, masterclasses and articles I’d bookmarked. Somewhat naively I thought I’d be sat on my arse for long stretches of time feeding The Squidge and I could use the time to learn some fresh freelance business-y wisdom-y things.
I could barely concentrate on an episode of Spaced while feeding. And I’ve watched each episode a trillion and six times. At least. Having the brain capacity to digest and implement new stuff, I now realise, is laughable.
When I was afforded a few precious moments to myself (in my last month of leave) I was so giddy that I couldn’t pick what to work on. I wanted to do all of the things!
4. Having too much time
To think about all the stuff I want to do with my business but probably won’t bring to life any time soon. Sitting and feeding The Squidge is like when you’re in the shower, out for a walk or sitting on the shitter. It’s the perfect time for ideas to strike. But with one hand holding the baby, the other hand full of boob, and my mobile phone frustratingly just out of reach, capturing those ideas was tough.
Aside: I did eventually learn to be organised enough to place my phone close before feeding. So some good ideas will make it into my business. At some stage. Maybe in the next eighteen years.
6. Mushy kid-talk brain
Maternity leave and mumming have mushed my adult talkie brain. Hours of singing nursery-rhymes and babbling gibberish has infiltrated my vocabulary, as I discovered during a recent catch up call with a colleague.
Writers are often inspired and influenced by what’s around them. And right now, my life is singing old ditties and blowing raspberries for giggles. I can’t promise my near-future clients that their copy will be free from accidental rhyming and more onomatopoeia than is healthy for a piece of copy.
Still want to hire me?
You’re brave. Thank you. I appreciate it. I promise I am still a decent writer post-maternity leave. My regular clients have been assuring me of this.
Get on my email list to hear about my upcoming availability, which is carefully planned between nappy changes and tantrums. Speak soon!
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