When I was pregnant with my first baby, I envisioned maternity leave as a wonderful time to conquer all the outstanding items on my always expanding bucket list. I was going to learn how to ride horses, ski the highest mountains, and explore the hidden gems of Ontario. I obviously failed to realize that I was also going to be a first time mother to an adorable but demanding new baby. Oh, and babies take time and energy. In fact, they can take so much time and energy that the bucket list can often get tossed wayside as you navigate sleepless nights, colic, and breastfeeding demands. I know mine sure did.
Some people take to mothering easily but I’m not one of those lucky few. It was hard for me and I really struggled the first couple of months. It felt like a huge accomplishment if I was just able to get out the door with my baby for a quick shopping trip. Without forgetting something or another. And managing to look somewhat pulled together and half decent. That’s definitely a noteworthy achievement in my books.
This time around though, I have experience and knowledge on my side. I know how this goes and I’ve revised my bucket list accordingly. Basically, I mean that I’m thinking more along the lines of attainable rather than grandiose. I’m giving myself some time to get it together but then I’m going to really kick ass (in, you know, a modest way). I don’t want to look back at the year and regret staying in yoga pants all day. Unless I’m actually partaking in some yoga-like activity and in which case, that’s pretty awesome.
I have decided that I will start off small so I can ease into my year of fun and fulfilling activities. I’m not going to beat myself up trying to do it all. Nope, I plan to just start off with weekly trips to the mall — riding dirty with two kids. After all, a new bucket list obviously requires a new wardrobe. And it gets me out of the house and those aforementioned yoga pants. That’s winning right there.
I’d also like to become better at a couple activities that I currently suck at. I want to take cooking lessons. I want to learn how to speak better French because bonjour and au revoir don’t really cut it. I want to go hiking through the forests of Ontario with my daughters so they can see how beautiful it is. I want to learn how to drive a stick shift. Man, do I really suck at that.
I’m telling you — this maternity leave will not be wasted. Because as much as it is for me to spend wonderful moments with my newborn baby and toddler, it’s also going to be time for me to spend some time on just me.
Just me. Boy, does that ever sound nice right about now. As I wipe some spit-up off my shirt.