Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Lessons Learned on Maternity Leave

Maternity leave was a whole new world from my customary 40-hour work week at an office. Once I kicked the baby blues and got into a groove, I was on the fast track to a surprisingly enriching lifestyle change. It was neither a "relaxing with a book all day" experience, nor was it "living in a dump because there's no time to do anything non-baby-related" - either of which would have surprised me less than reality. Instead, it was an exercise in prioritization, productivity, and perseverance that taught me these five important lessons, among many.

1. The magic of multi-tasking.

It turns out it is possible to be a good housekeeper and a hands-on mom at the same time, thanks to baby wraps and carriers. Once I discovered that I could wrap my baby on and do dishes, vacuum, or even fold laundry, my productivity went through the roof. I always felt very accomplished at the end of the day, and I scoffed at the pre-mom-me who used to waste her free time sitting around with her computer in her lap.

2. How to make naptime count.

Once I started being able to predict the normal timing and length of my baby's naps, naptime became sacred. Whether I finally enjoyed my daily cup of hot tea, worked on some household chore that just couldn't be done with baby in tow, or seized the opportunity to exercise, I learned to make every second of naptime count. In fact, I learned to be such an effective time manager over maternity leave, I'm pretty sure I was a better employee when I returned to work because of it. 

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