Maternity leave is such a blessing, and the fact that I’ve been able to be off work for four months has been something that I will be forever thankful for. I’ve seen Olivia grow from a little tiny peanut to a baby who can hold her head up and start to giggle. She even seems like she’s about to roll over from back to front. Maternity leave is also challenging because it’s not the most mentally stimulating circumstance, and sometimes I feel like my entire day is made up of getting Olivia up, feeding her, and putting her back down for a nap.
I love day in the life posts, so I thought I’d share a day in my life on maternity leave. It should also give you a sense of what Olivia’s sleeping and eating habits are at 16 weeks. This is a slow day where we didn’t go anywhere.
2:30 AM: Olivia wakes up for the first time since going to bed at 8:15 Monday night. That makes three days in a row that she hasn’t woken up around midnight, and I’m thankful for the sleep. I feed her for 13 minutes and put her back in her bassinet.
5:00 AM: Olivia wakes up again and I quickly get her and feed her for another 13 minutes (random that both times have been 13 minutes). She goes back down again and Tim gets up for the day to go workout before going to work early.
6:18 AM: Tim says bye and leaves for the day. Olivia must have heard him, because she’s up. Her eyes are open and she’s smiling. Normally when she’s up anytime after 6 she won’t go back to sleep even with a feed. I cross my fingers, feed her for five minutes, and put her back down hoping so much that she will go to sleep until 7. She cries, and I put her paci in her mouth; it works to quiet her down. I lay down for a few minutes and fall asleep.
7:18 AM: I wake up. It worked! She went back to sleep! Normally I get her up or she gets up at 7, so I’m a little nervous about what’s going to happen with her morning nap because we got up late (yes, 20 minutes makes such a difference).
7:30 AM: We’re downstairs and she’s eating and I play on my phone looking at Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. After she eats in the morning I just let her hang out on the couch with me and talk to her and sing her songs. The awake window is so short and I’m still too tired to get into any activities.
8:10: She’s fussy already. This is a bad sign, because she’s only been awake 45 minutes or so. I go ahead and take her up to her room, put her in her Magic Merlin suit, and lay her down. She settles down and lays there while I turn the video monitor and white noise machine on.
8:29: She finally closes her eyes and is asleep. Usually it takes her ten or so minutes of quietly laying in her crib and rolling her head from side to side to fall asleep, so I can tell this probably isn’t going to be her usual long nap because it took her so long to get to sleep this time.
During Olivia’s morning nap I fold clothes, pick up downstairs a little, scroll through Facebook, watch a little bit of the Today Show, and work on some blog stuff.
9:24: Olivia is awake, but she’s quiet. I find that sometimes if I just let her lay there long enough she’ll fall back asleep. If she starts crying I know the nap is over and I go get her, but quietly laying there usually means she’ll go back to sleep. She actually laid there quietly for a really long time, so I had hope that she would fall back asleep. 20 minutes later she started crying, so I went up and got her.
9:56: I feed Olivia and keep playing on my phone. When she’s done eating I put her on her play mat and play with her. She’s working on rolling from back to stomach, so she plays for a very long time. I turn her over and we do tummy time. I take pictures and send them to my family to show her how well she’s doing with tummy time and rolling tummy to back.
While we’re playing I leave a tv show on in the background that I watch half interested in. Right now it’s Friday Night Lights.
This awake window is longer than normal! We talk more and I change her diaper (I did this a few times already but didn’t mention it). She loves having her diaper changed; it’s still the funniest thing to me how she coos and smiles.
11:05: She’s ready for another nap. I take her back upstairs and lay her down in her Merlin suit. This time she’s asleep much more quickly.
I come back downstairs and check my phone. I have a missed call from the daycare. They thought she was coming this week. I had told them we were planning on coming when I head back to work, so we get that squared away but she suggests I bring Olivia a few times next week to start to adjust while I’m not at work and don’t have to worry. Maybe I’ll do that…
I call my mom a little upset at the thought of how soon I’m going to be taking her to daycare. My mom assures me that eventually it will become habit and I’ll be okay.
Someone comes to clean our dryer vent, so I help him and show him all the places that he needed to know about.
11:52: She’s up again. This time she immediately starts crying so there isn’t a chance she is going back to sleep. It’s only been 1:50 since she ate, so I bring her downstairs and put her on her play mat for a few minutes. She stops crying and plays for about 10 minutes before she decides she needs to eat immediately.
12:05: She eats for about twenty minutes and then I play with her and sing to her. She smiles and coos while I sing, and we “talk” back and forth. She starts to get fussy much more quickly than normal, so I can tell that her last nap just didn’t cut it. I take her upstairs and put her in her Merlin and turn on the camera and sound machine.
12:57: She’s out! While she sleeps I eat, pick up, blog, and watch TV. I should be doing dishes, but I just want to sit. The nap game is exhausting sometimes.
2:00: She wakes up and wants to get up immediately. I watch Friday Night Lights while I feed her. After a longer than normal feeding I realize she’s asleep, so I let her sleep for a while in my lap before she startles herself and wakes up and wants to eat from the other side. The same thing happens on the other side, and before I know it it’s 3:10. I decide timing-wise she’ll need to take one more nap in the crib to have enough sleep for the day to keep her happy, so I sit her up and burp her.
3:20: I put on the Tula and we walk over to Kahwa. It’s during our walk to Kahwa everyday that I think about how much I’m going to miss her when I go back to work. It has started to make me tear up in the last few walks, and today is no exception. When we get to Kahwa I talk to the barista since I know them both so well, and then we walk home. It’s a short walk, so it doesn’t count as exercise; it’s just getting out of the house for a few minutes.
When we get home I change Olivia’s diaper again and play with her on her mat. I don’t put her on the mat this much everyday, but because she’s learning so many new skills right now I give her more time to practice them on the floor. Most days include more books, rattles, etc.
3:57: Fussy again! Perfect timing. I take her upstairs and put her down again in the Merlin, but when I come downstairs she starts to cry. I go up and put her paci back in her mouth and walk out again. She cries again. I realize it has been longer than usual since she started her last feeding to when she goes to sleep, so I pull her out of the crib and feed her for a couple of minutes.
4:14: She falls asleep this time. During this nap I do the dishes, sweep, and take clothes upstairs to be put away. I’m starting to get tired of Friday Night Lights for the days, so I finish the episode that’s on pause and stop watching for the day. I can only handle so much Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen.
5:00: She stirs and starts to resettle. Most days she really does need one two hour nap to function, but I hate it when it’s the last one (she has only made the last nap of the day a two hour nap one other time). I was getting myself ready to go on a walk with her, because we went on one yesterday for an hour and a half, and the weather is perfect for it again! Oh well. Every time I think I’ve got her figured out she likes to remind me that we follow her plans for the day and not mine.
I decide to turn on an episode of the Totally Mommy podcast. I scroll all the way back and listen to the Sleep, Glorious Sleep episode. A friend told me about it a long time ago and I just have started listening again.
5:51: Olivia wakes up, and I go get her and feed her. It had been a while since she had a full feeding. After feeding her I sit there for a minute and decide if I want to get everything together to go for a walk, but I decide against it and instead FaceTime my mom.
6:23: FaceTime with Grandma and Pops for a little while so Olivia can chat with them and they can see her.
7:00: Olivia plays on her play mat while I make dinner. Tonight we’re having huevos rancheros, because they’re easy to make and are also tasty.
7:15: Tim gets home, and he hangs out with Olivia for a little bit before eating. Halfway through our meal Olivia starts to get fussy. We take turns holding her and changing her scenery. Ultimately it’s the tv that silences her. She just loves looking at the tv.
7:40: The fussy picks up big time, so I feed her the bedtime feeding downstairs before taking her upstairs and putting her in the Merlin.
8:17: I nurse her to sleep every night, but she doesn’t fall asleep this time. I put her in the bassinet with her eyes open and give her the pacifier hoping that she will fall asleep on her own. I come downstairs and turn on the monitor and finish writing this blog post while Tim and I watch the Top Chef Finale recorded from last week.
Today was a standard day when we don’t leave the house. I normally stay home at least two days per week so she can get good solid naps, but I also try to get out in the car and meet up with people once or twice per week. Normally we would have gone on a walk today, but as you see, Olivia calls the shots.
These days are so precious to me, but sometimes they seem to go by so slowly, especially around the 1-4 time. I always look forward to the days we have plans, but on the days we have plans I look forward to staying around the house and resting. Later this week we have plans to meet up with a friend to walk by the water, meet up with another friend and her twins at a playground, and have someone over to visit. On those days the time flies by and I wish it would slow down. I love spending the days with my girl.
And that’s an average day on maternity leave! Olivia has just started figuring out this nap thing; if I had done this a few weeks ago it would have included much more running up and down the stairs to replace the paci or soothe her or rock her. I’m hoping her naps start to standardize soon, but until then I’ll keep doing what I can to make sure she gets enough daytime and nighttime sleep.
What do you/did you do on maternity leave to keep your mind occupied?