Close Close
Mother and Baby

Maternity Leave: What You Imagined It Would Be Like Versus The Reality

We all dream of long, leisurely days relaxing pre-baby and picture-perfect days out with our newborn while on maternity leave. But the reality isn’t always quite like that, is it?


Expand Image

You imagined: Turning all interior designer and making your baby’s nursery look like something from Pinterest

The reality: After three trips to B&Q, each time selecting different shades of yellow because each wasn’t ‘quite right’, you went into labour. Needless to say, the nursery still remains half done but at least your baby isn’t quite ready to move in there yet. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Starting your own business while waiting for your baby to arrive. Hey, if Net-A-Porter’s founder could do it…

The reality: In between buying all of your baby essentials and prepping her nursery, you weren’t left with much time – or energy – to delve into the world of start-ups. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Finally getting round to watching Orange Is The New Black

The reality: One series in and your water broke. Then there was definitely no time for TV. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Attending weekly yoga classes to get your body prepped for pregnancy (and to help it snap back post-birth).

The reality: Just the idea of getting to a yoga class exhausts you. Besides, you’ll be doing enough running around after your baby soon enough. The baby weight is bound to vanish naturally, right? [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Leisurely lunches with your childless friends cooing over your little darling

The reality: Your friends shout over the baby wails to ring them when you fancy a night out and make their excuses to leave. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Spending your days preparing gourmet meals while your baby quietly napped or cooed adorably in his bouncer.

The reality: Your little bundle of joy screams his head off whenever you’re not holding him. Which rules out any meals you can’t create with one hand. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Lots of freedom and no more 9-5 hours

The reality: It’s more like 5-9 you’re working now. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Luxurious afternoon naps alongside your baby

The reality: Nap time equals a frenzied attempt to do three loads of laundry and drink a full cup of tea while it’s still hot. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: The odd child-free day at the salon while your mum babysits

The reality: You can’t bear to be separated from your baby for one hour, let alone a day. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: You would start a blog documenting your fabulous new life as a mum

The reality: You love motherhood and can’t get enough of your baby, but you struggle to write a text reply that makes sense, never mind a witty 500-word post. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Getting a puppy once you had settled into life with your baby. You’ve heard it’s ideal if both are babies at the same time and ‘grow up’ together.

The reality: You’re already up to your eyeballs in mess – there’s no way you’re signing up for a double dose. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Learning how to knit and sew and making beautiful handmade outfits for your baby

The reality: No matter how many YouTube tutorials you watched, you just kept dropping stitches and breaking the needle on the sewing machine. And frankly, between keeping your house looking vaguely presentable and your baby duties, you just don’t have the time or patience to try again. Hello, online shopping. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Making loads of new mum friends who would pop round for tea and cake – and give you great advice about cradle cap and nappy rash

The reality: After a sleepless night you simply don’t have the energy to make polite conversation with potential new friends. You’re sure they won’t mind if you reschedule for next week, the week after or the one after that. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: You would read all of the great classics

The reality: The only thing you’ll be reading is everything you can find on colic. [Corbis]
Expand Image

You imagined: Counting down the days until you returned to your job.

The reality: You're not sure how you'll cope being away from your bundle of joy all day long. [Corbis]
Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Chinese Gender predictor
Chinese Gender Predictor

Are you expecting a boy or a girl? Tell us the month you conceived and how old you are, and this clever little tool will predict the rest! 

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby
Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby

Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash

The Magic Sleepsuit
The secret to a quiet night’s sleep – The Magic Sleepsuit

If you’re little one is struggling to settle now they’ve outgrown the swaddling stage, this could be the answer to your sleep-deprived prayers!

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe button May
Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week. 

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?