10 things I learned on maternity leave / by vanessa

  1. It's a great time to look for another job.
  2. Best vacation of my life. When else -- except for maybe college -- do you get to take four months off and not have to ask for a leave, or worry about having or getting a job upon your return? The only downside is that you have to carry a baby with you, which can be a little bit like trying to give a cat a bath. Fortunately, babies are like golden tickets at the airport. You know those rules that say you have to be at the airport 45 minutes before a flight to check luggage? Not true...if you have a baby. Hire one if you don't already have one.
  3. If you're cute you can get away with murder. Or at the very least, soiling your pants in public. My son does this regularly. So be cute.
  4. You get a free pass to be unabashedly sloth-like. Unfortunately...
  5. There are no clothes for that awkward period in which you still look pregnant but you're not. You will wish there was an Extreme Makeover: Post Partum Edition, but there is little that would be more boring, so.
  6. If you spent the better part of your time before getting pregnant on a project in which you had to travel weekly, and every time you got on an airplane you would give the stink eye to any baby you saw, you will get paid back for that in spades by the lady in 9C who begs to be moved away from you, while insisting that she likes babies, really she does, she just thinks you need more space.
  7. There are "rules" about drinking while nursing and they are patently unfair. Have your friends order for you.
  8. You will become so starved for analytical thought that you will actually lose friends when you mistake their simple request for budget planning as an invitation to do a complete life re-design. In retrospect, you should have resisted the urge to bust out KPIs.
  9. If you don't name your baby right away, you will slip and call it an it. And you will need to start saving for two funds simultaneously -- college and therapy. Because only psychopaths call their babies "it" for crissakes. (In fairness, newborns look like its.)
  10. On the other hand, don't sweat the small stuff. There are about a million times to feel like you're causing serious existential damage. Fortunately, that's what therapy is for.