Looking forward to the joys of parenthood? You will no doubt have your hands full when your little bundle arrives. Maternity leave is a valuable time in any parenting journey, giving you both a time to rest before the baby arrives, and precious time getting used to your new family when they do make an appearance. Amongst the endless nappy changes and sleepless nights, you’re likely looking for a few ideas that will make your maternity leave enjoyable. Below, we’ve listed ten ideas that will help you make the most out of your time off with your new arrival.
Make your memories last.
The precious early years of our little ones seem to go by in the blink of an eye. This makes it so important to document the journey when you can so that your family has memories to look back on in the years to come. Of all the ways you can record baby’s special moments, a baby book can be a great project to take on. Whether you choose to follow a month by month pattern, recording things in a premade templated book, or you want to simply have a scrapbook that you make your own, creating a baby book throughout their first year of life will be a special project to take on.
Join a local mums group.
When your partner heads back to work after the first few weeks of baby bliss, it can be easy to feel alone when it’s just you and your baby. Getting involved in a new mums meet-up can be essential to you enjoying this new experience. Not only will you make new friends (and your baby too!) but having the support of people going through similar experiences will prove to be invaluable for your own well being.
Discover more of nature.
The commitment of a newborn baby might make you want to stay in all day, whether that's to rest, or just because you’re so worn out you don’t feel like doing anything else! But heading out to get some fresh air and exercise, even for just 15 minutes a day, can do wonders for your mental health and your mood. Take the opportunity to seek out some outdoor locations that you haven’t visited before. Find a ‘walking buddy’ who you can take with you on some of your jaunts around the local park. You’ll find that making this effort on a regular basis will really be worth it in the long run.
Take your baby swimming.
Love to swim? You don’t have to give up this hobby when your baby comes along. Getting your little one into the water at an early age can improve their coordination and balance, help to build muscles and develop their brain, and may even improve their sleeping pattern. Not only this, but taking your baby swimming will provide you with quality time to enjoy and special memories to look back on.
Start a project.
Whether you’ve got crafty bones in your body or just enjoy setting yourself new goals, your maternity leave can be a chance to embark on a new project. This might look like learning a new skill, taking an evening class, getting crafty or even starting your own blog. Many of us have hobbies that seem to get left behind when life gets busier. This can be the perfect time to dust off your old instrument or pick up the paintbrush once more - whatever you once loved to do, make time to reignite your passion.
Make a go of your business idea.
It can start with a seed, and all you need is some water and a little bit of time. Your maternity leave can provide the time and space you need to make a go of that business idea you’ve been sitting on for years. Don’t want to start a business but still have a strong passion for something? Invest in it! You never know what the years ahead have in store, so say yes to what makes you happy and get those wheels in motion.
Try new recipes.
Amongst the baby rice, mashed up veg and all other joys of weaning your baby, coming back to simple favourites when you’re cooking for yourself will often be the go to. Why not have a look for some new easy recipes that you can try? Have a go at cuisines you’ve never tried, or go exotic - there are plenty of quick and easy recipes that won’t break the bank, but that will still bring some much needed variety to your menu at home.
Have a boxset binge.
The wonders of modern technology has brought endless movies and TV shows right to our fingertips at the click of a button (and sometimes a small subscription fee!) If you’ve had your eye on certain box sets but never had a chance to catch up on them, the endless nights feeding your hungry baby bring you the time to do just that. More of a bookworm? Find some audiobooks that can keep you entertained while you have your hands full.
Go for a getaway.
One of the benefits of being on maternity leave is that you are not tied down to a normal work schedule. This means that any family getaways you might want to go on are not limited to weekends and seasonal holidays. Booking a getaway during the week can be cheaper and much less busy. Adventures as a young family are very rewarding and will provide you with plenty of memories to include in your baby book!
Make time for you.
The first year of a new life can often seem to be all about the baby - and rightly so! But it is also important to take some time out to spend on yourself. When you’re ready to leave your baby for a few hours, invest in some pampering, whatever that looks like for you. It might be a trip to the spa or a new hairdo - it could even be easing back into an exercise routine. Whatever “me time” looks like for you, try to make space for it during your maternity leave.