Taking Leave: Justifying my “Laziness”

I’ve written a little bit before about maternity leave and intimated that I’m planning on taking a good couple of months off before Flangelina is due to put in an appearance. The thing is, I’m starting to come in for some criticism for that decision, to the point that some people are implying I’m lazy! I know it’s no one else’s business, but I do find myself justifying what I’m planning to do, much as I’m about to here, right now.

It’s quite simple really. Why struggle when I don’t have to? No one awards any kind of medal to women who work right up to their due date. I understand that for some women it’s a necessity, but I’m lucky that financially I don’t need to do it. In fact, my earnings would likely drop off even if I were working the same hours as negotiating a huge bump will surely have a negative impact on my efficiency. And that’s not to mention all the time I’ll need off for my frequent “high risk” pregnancy appointments which will only increase in frequency. I certainly don’t want to be working the same hours being less productive and suffering discomfort and exhaustion as a result.

Oh yeah: exhaustion. I want to avoid that. I’m already starting to have difficulties sleeping. When I’m lying awake in the wee small hours I’m making things worse by worrying that I’ll not have had enough sleep to function well at work the next day. My tossing and turning disturbs Ian, who in turn doesn’t sleep well. When I don’t have to work, I’ll be able to get up in the middle of the night without worrying, if that’s what suits. I can read a book, leave Ian to sleep and go back when I’m ready. I can nap during the day, and adjust my activity to suit my energy levels. I want to enter motherhood feeling as rested as possible, not with a lagging sense of stress and tiredness from working. Labour will be tiring enough!

Selfishly, I’m also looking forward to some “me time”. The calendar is already filling up in September and October with stuff to do. I’m looking forward to meeting friends for lunch, a spa day, trips to the theatre and at least one photo shoot. It will be great to be able to go swimming regularly and I’m looking forward to having a chance to read some books and catch up on craft projects, as well as doing all the laundry for the baby and make practical preparations. Far from being bored, it’s already starting to look as though I’ll be pressed to fit everything in.

Once Flangelina is born, I’ll not have the same level of freedom that I have right now for a very long time. I’ll always have the baby to consider whenever I plan anything. I won’t be able to come home from work and pop out for a quick swim. We won’t be able to go to the theatre or cinema without arranging a babysitter. Even when I’m at home, the opportunities to fit in quiet time reading a book will likely be limited, especially in the early days.

I want to make the most of this last opportunity to be just me, and save myself potential difficulties. I’m not sure why that is so hard for so many people to understand.

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