A Day in the Life of a Mom on Maternity LeaveA Mom In Training

Before taking my maternity leave, a coworker of mine, a young guy in his early 20’s without kids, stopped by my cubicle and said something along the lines of how lucky I was to be going on my maternity leave soon because it’ll be like a 12 week vacation for me.

I respectfully disagreed with him and explained that in no way is maternity leave a vacation at all.

It’s likely a common misperception by people who don’t have children to think that maternity leave is a luxurious benefit. They probably think I lay in bed all day gazing into the eye of my newborn baby. It is, in fact, a necessity, and in my personal opinion, I don’t think 12 weeks is enough to care for a newborn. The current Family Medical Leave Act allows for 6 weeks of recovery, and an additional 6 weeks to care for a newborn.

I know. It’s crazy. And because I don’t qualify for the FMLA benefit, I only get 6 weeks of maternity leave because I haven’t been with my employer for at least 1 year. #nails

I don’t intend for this post to put down anyone at all, but rather to hopefully provide some insight about what maternity leave is really like for someone on maternity leave. I’ve seen a few people share their experiences about “a day in the life” and I thought I’d share mine here.

Some quick background info before I get started…

I have two children ~ a 2 year old and a 3 week old.

When someone asks me what time I woke up, I don’t have a clear answer because I don’t really ever “go to sleep”, rather, I live my days by naps, even at night. From the moment my baby was born, breastfeeding every 2 to 3 hours (or on demand) began and my good night’s sleep went bye-bye.

With that said, allow me to share a day in the life of my maternity leave!

2:45 am
Baby wakes me up from my nap because it’s time to nurse. I groggily life her swaddled self from her crib, sit myself at the edge of my bed to prevent myself from falling back asleep, and nurse her until she lets go.

I burp her (or attempt to) for the next 10, sometimes 20 minutes. Often times, I give up because she just won’t burp.

2:48 am
Baby starts making noises like she’s uncomfortable. Probably because she didn’t burp yet. I bring her back on my lap and try to burp her again. No success. I try putting her over my shoulder. Still nothing. Knowing that if I put her back down and attempt to go to sleep again, she’ll start fussing because there’s still gas in her. I take the chance anyway and put her down. Maybe she just doesn’t have to burp? There’s only one way to find out…

4:25 am
Baby wakes me up again because she’s hungry. I look at the time. “Holy smokes! She really didn’t have to burp!” I consider that sleeping in. We nurse again for about 15 minutes, then I place her back in her crib so we can both get some sleep. What? I didn’t even check her diaper? Listen, if I hear or smell anything, that’s when I change her. Otherwise, undoing her swaddle then reswaddling her takes a lottt of effort. #dontjudge

6:58 am
Yup, it’s feeding time again. I’m actually quite surprised by how much she hasn’t really fussed throughout the night (it’s usually a lot, especially when I can’t get her to burp).

8:07 am
Hubby’s alarm goes off so that he can get ready for physical therapy. He was rear ended back in September right after he finished work. The guy driving the truck behind him didn’t stop at all because he wasn’t paying attention.

9:30 am
Do I really have to say it again? It’s feeding time. By this time, I usually hear my toddler calling for me from her room. She’s usually good about waiting for me to arrive to get her out of her crib which gives me enough time to use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and change baby’s diaper.

10:15 am
We’re all downstairs now. Toddler immediately starts asking for milk (repeatedly). It sounds like “muck, muck, muck muck, muck, muck…” I’m not exaggerating. Even if I acknowledge her wanting milk, she’ll continue to say “muck” until she feels like she’s said it enough. I give her her milk, then put the dog on a leash so I can let him outside to do his business. Toddler wants to come outside with me. If I tell her no, she’s start fussing, so I let her come outside with me. I repeatedly tell her to put her slippers on (which are actually mine) and by the time she’s done, the dog has already done his business.

2:20 pm
Between letting the dog out to do his business and now, time is spent nursing, changing diapers, pumping milk, and making sure my toddler doesn’t burn down the house. She has a bunch of toys in her play area in our living room and she makes sure she plays with nearly every single toy she owns.

Sofia the First puzzle? Check.
Alphabet and numeric magnets? Check.
Minnie Mouse car and plane? Check.

If she can mark it with a crayon, she will. If she can peel it from a book, she will. If she can throw it, she will. And if she can climb it, she will.

I believe they call this “making memories.” I’ll take that.

Where is my husband during all of this? He’s here for a little bit. When he gets back from physical therapy, he needs to start getting ready for work. Before he leaves, he gives me a kiss and I tell him to have a good day at work. He jokingly tells me to have a good day off. HA!

When do I eat? Whenever I have time. This morning I threw some Eggo waffles into the toaster and paid some bills while I was waiting. I suddenly heard something drop from the living room and found my toddler standing next to a now empty cup that held orange juice… with lots of pulp. I had to wipe up the juice and remove the rug which had pulp all in it. I heard the toaster pop up my waffles. After I cleaned up everything, I returned to my waffles which were soft and deformed now.

Have you ever re-toasted an Eggo waffle? I know. It just isn’t the same.

My dad usually comes over to help with watching my toddler and making dinner, but on the days when he doesn’t, it’s up to me to find dinner for everyone. This is hard work. I usually have all the ingredients for spaghetti so I resort to that.

This whole process continues for the majority of the day. I wish I had more exciting things to share about what really happens, but it’s all about keeping a close eye on my toddler, nursing my newborn, and keeping up with diaper changes. It’s hard work, but I love being with my kids.

There are times when I’m wondering when my hubby will be home from work to help give me a breather. I don’t usually get a break to take a nap because my toddler refuses to nap. By the time she’s had her bath at the end of the day, she’s ready to pass out in her crib. Thank God.

Once she’s in bed, I can focus on my newborn. Either myself or my husband will give her a nice, warm bath, put her in some comfortable clothes, then swaddle her. I’ll nurse her, attempt to burp her, then put her down in her crib.

It’s midnight. I’ll shower at this point, take all my prenatal vitamins, then plop into bed completely exhausted. I know I can’t get too comfortable because in a few hours, I’ll be awake again to feed. The cycle starts all over again.

So is this really a vacation? No. Far from it in my opinion. 🙂


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It