Maternity leave is a period where moms get a chance to bond with their babies and recuperate. So far, I have definitely enjoyed my bonding time with Alva as I get to rest and see her grow. Despite this new found joy of being a mommy, I’m starting to feel really bored just being at home all day. Let's face it, there's not much excitement to be found in my routine activities at home. My life now consists of waking up, feeding, cleaning, washing laundry, changing diapers, surfing the net (when possible) and watching Little Einsteins day in and day out.
Yesterday, as I was washing the dishes, I felt so drained and bored that I began to reflect on the things that worry me. The one that came on top was my studies. I was mainly worried about not being able to juggle between work in campus and my motherly duties. Negativity started to sink in and it made me feel totally down. Realizing that my worrying wasn't doing me any good, I then started writing this post to let it all out. These are some of the silly things that crept in my head...
- I don't know what to do with my hair...It's so not vogue
- my pigmentation is annoying - need to get tenant for Penampang apartment
- need to read more journals
- Alden's portfolio not done
- when i get back to work, will Alva be okay at nursery?
- electricity bills killing me...can't wait for winter to end. Hate the winter.
- how can I get Alden to eat more?
- house chores...laundry...yuck
- meeting with Supervisor next week...tension...
- parcel from Zee hasn't arrived...can't wait to see my new jeans...what if it doesn't fit? Shit!
All this ranting does not mean that I am not grateful to be at home with Alva. It's just that when your life is centered only around the home, you feel detached from the outside world and everything seems so bleak and uninteresting. I know it's just a matter of adjustment to get things moving again and combat this boredom bug. All I need to do is reorganize my routine and prioritize things. It's the whole balancing act, as my friend CL puts it. This afternoon I sought for advice from my therapist (the world wide web) and found an article that may be useful for mothers like me who are going cookoo at home. Here's part of the article which highlights some good ideas. The full article can be retrieved from http://www.parents.com/family-life/work-money-politics/work-stay-home/staying-home-with-your-new-baby
Set up a schedule. For most new mothers, a routine gives them something to look forward to and can help stave off boredom and isolation. Try to build regular events into your week. For example, make Monday story time at the library, Wednesday playgroup, and Friday the gym. Use the other days for errands, grocery shopping, and neighborhood walks. "It's easy to stay in your pj's all day," says Denise Talley, mom of Jamison, 8 months. "It takes discipline for me to get up and get ready every morning -- putting on my makeup and fixing my hair -- but it also makes me feel good." Besides getting dressed each day as you did when you went to a job, apply other work strategies to feel more productive. Ritz, for example, makes daily to-do lists, garnering satisfaction by checking things off.
Develop a support network. Ask at the hospital or your doctor's office for referrals to new-mom groups or breastfeeding support circles and check out your church, your neighborhood parks and recreation department, or your area YWCA for mommy-and-baby gatherings. Sometimes it takes just one connection to get the ball rolling. "I was fortunate to have a sister-in-law just a few miles away with two children, ages 2 and 4," says Michelle Lajiness of Warren, Michigan. "She would visit or check in by phone almost every day. I also joined a playgroup she had started. I went a few times when I was pregnant to get to know the other women." Lajiness also counts on a circle of families at her church that meets once a month to pray, eat, and socialize.
Reach out online. Check out bulletin boards, join chats, read the news, e-mail family and friends, ask experts parenting questions, or make new friends -- any time of day. For Heather Odeh of Cumming, Georgia, going online helped fill a void. "My colleagues at work gave me a lot of advice about my love life, pregnancy, and more. Once I left to be home with my baby, I felt disconnected from them," says Odeh. "Online newsletters and articles gave me answers to questions about sleeping, eating, and breastfeeding, and provided me with a sense of community." Ralana Chinsolo of Powhatan, West Virginia, says what helped her most was taking classes online to finish a college degree she had been pursuing. "It helped me maintain a sense of self," she says. "There were a lot of single mothers and stay-home moms taking these courses, so we had common ground."
Make "me" time. When you're home full time, you might feel like all you do is try to meet everyone else's needs, says D'Amico. Do something that makes you feel good, even if it's only for an hour or two a week. Read during naptime rather than doing chores, or put together a cookbook for your church. Join a group that has nothing to do with the baby, such as a book or garden club or a ceramics class. Exercise can help fight depression and keep you fit, which boosts your self-image. For Coleman, committing herself to regular workouts made a big difference. "Before I became pregnant I used to love to jog by the beach. It was a great stress reducer," she says. "For the past few months, I've scheduled time every morning -- as if I were going to work -- to take a walk with the baby."
Redefine your goals. As Ritz looks back over the past 18 months, she laughs at her prior preoccupations -- what to wear to a meeting or whether she would get the next promotion. "It all seems so frivolous now," she says, "compared to watching my baby become a walking, talking, thinking little person." Still goal-oriented, Ritz now aims for new accomplishments, such as a good night's sleep, a nutritious meal, and a meltdown-free day. "Going to work may be fulfilling in a different way, but I wouldn't trade this for anything."
I don't think all the ideas work for me but I'm pretty sure the last two points are practical enough. Having some ME-time is what I need at the moment. I think a trip to the mall tomorrow will give me just that.