Many moms-to-be expect maternity leave to be a whole new world of challenges. After all, taking care of a tiny human can be overwhelming at times. They might even end up wanting to go back to work sooner than expected! But other moms think it will be a challenging but rewarding time that allows them to bond with the baby and get a break from work.
However you think your maternity is going to go, chances are there will be a few bumps that you didn’t expect. These moms who shared their stories admit that they have one or two regrets with how they did their maternity leave. From not using their time wisely, taking on too many responsibilities or projects, or just be hard on themselves, these mamas are definitely all wishing for a do-over. You’ll likely be surprised by some of the things that went wrong for these women, or just plain shocked.
Remember: your maternity leave may not always go as planned, but that’s not a reflection of you as a mom. There are always things in life that happen in ways we didn’t expect, and sometimes that includes motherhood. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
20 Extreme Makeover: Maternity Leave Edition
Crystal* immediately regretted waiting to do home renovations until she was on her maternity leave.
“My husband and I decided it would be a great idea to move into a new house while I was 6 months pregnant. Then, I would spend my maternity leave overseeing the renovations (everything from floors, walls, lighting, and countertop had to be changed).
Doing all this with a newborn baby (and our older two kids) ended up being a complete nightmare. I’ve never felt more stressed out in my life, and we ended up spending a ton more money than we planned because we weren’t thinking things through. Have a baby or do renos- but don’t do them at the same time.”
19 Tired Of Cooking And Cleaning
Stacey* says she didn’t mind doing the brunt of the housework and cooking while she was on maternity leave. But it sounds like not much changed when she went back to work.
“I used to work full-time, same as my husband. But when I went on maternity leave, I started taking on more of the roles at home (cooking all the meals, cleaning everything, all of the laundry). That was fine while I was home with the baby all day, but it made things difficult when I went back to work. Suddenly the standard was I take care of the baby, house, and still have time for my job. My husband just doesn’t understand.”
18 The Boss Who Wouldn’t Stuff It
Caroline had a horrible experience when her boss gave her a hard time for requesting maternity leave!
“Before I started my job, my boss asked me if I was planning on having kids. At the time I was single with no plans to wed, so I said “no.” In a few years, I got married and had a surprise (but very welcome) pregnancy.
The one thing I regret is letting my employer discriminate against me during my maternity leave. By law, he couldn’t deny me the leave. But he kept saying things like ‘I hope your job is here when you get back’ or ‘I wish I could take a year off to spend it with my kids.’ He pretty much made as many jokes as he could, trying to make maternity leave look like a luxury or vacation. It was horrible. I never went back to that job, which probably just proved his point.”
17 Confessions Of A Shopaholic
Alessandra* learned that shopping outside of your means can get you into some serious trouble, especially when you have a newborn baby to pay for!
“I’ve always had a bit of a shopping problem, especially when I’m feeling down in the dumps or bored. When I was on maternity leave, I had the whole day to spend with my baby, so I’d often take her to the mall for some retail therapy.
Long story short, I spend waaaay more money in those 6 months than we had, and ran us into some serious debt. My husband says he never expected maternity leave to be so expensive. I’m not allowed to not have a job at this point.”
16 When The Adult Acts Like A Kid
Terrie* says she felt like she had a second child to take care of when her brother-in-law moved in during her maternity leave.
“When I was 8 months pregnant, my husband’s brother got laid off. He’s always floated between places and jobs, and was out of luck, so I agreed that he could stay with us for a while. However, a while turned into half a year!
I knew my brother-in-law was immature, but I didn’t realize how much. He acted like I was his mom who would cook and clean for him. He’d leave a mess wherever he went and made no effort to find another job, so he was just staying home the whole day while I was trying to take care of a newborn and meet his demands.
I only lasted a little under 6 months before I told him his brother had to move out, or it was going to be me and the baby.”
15 This Sure Isn’t Mary Poppins
Elsie* thought that hiring help would make her maternity leave all the easier. But it just put additional stress on her when the nanny turned out to be less than helpful!
“I already had three kids by the time I brought my fourth and final one home from the hospital. I decided to hire a live-in nanny to help me out during my mat leave. If everything went well, we were going to hire the nanny full-time at the end of the leave so she can watch the kids full-time when I go back to work.
Unfortunately, the nanny turned out to be a total nightmare. On her days off, she was staying out late and making a ruckus when she’d come home in the early mornings (she’d wake the kids up). There were several times she yelled at the kids for no good reason, and she complained about mundane tasks that were part of her job.
The final straw was when I caught her trying to steal some of my jewelry. I’ve been paranoid to have someone in my house ever since.”
14 Trying To Stay Afloat
Meredith* wishes she took a look at her family’s finances more carefully before going on a year-long maternity leave.
“I knew I shouldn’t have taken a full maternity leave. My husband and I have always had financial problems, though he takes care of most of the finances. He told me we could afford me taking a year mat leave.
3 months after our daughter’s birth, he told me he needs me to go back to work ASAP because we couldn’t afford not to. Evidently, he was wrong in estimating how much money we make and need for the year. I had to get my mom to watch the baby while I got a part-time job at a grocery store.”
13 The Backyard Burglar
Serena* must have been livid when her one date night during her maternity leave was interrupted by a potential robber!
“I was going stir-crazy on maternity leave by staying home with the baby all day. I was so excited when my teenage sister offered to babysit so my boyfriend and I could have a date night.
I thought things were going good until I got a call from my neighbour saying someone was breaking into my backyard! I tried calling my sister but she didn’t answer, which made me panic more. We left the restaurant ASAP and went home, only to find it was my sister and her BF making out in the pool that had creeped my neighbor out.
Way to ruin my one and only date night!”
12 The Tiny Traveller
Simona* decided to challenge herself by taking her newborn baby on a vacation during her maternity leave. But it sounds like things were harder than she expected!
“I thought it would be fun to use my maternity leave to do some traveling (I’m a single mom- thought it would be good to learn how to take care of a baby on my own). So, I booked a 3-day trip to Seattle.
But, a five-hour flight proved too long for a 5-month old. She was crying the whole ride. People were so upset. Then, I was too tired and stressed out to enjoy the vacation. Plus, staying up with a baby all night (and one who naps in the afternoon) doesn’t make for good sightseeing. She’s a better traveler now that she’s older.”
11 She’s Already Doggone Mad
Haylie thought that getting a dog would be the perfect way to prepare for motherhood… until she had a puppy and a newborn at the same time!
“About 8 months into my pregnancy and filled with hormones, I decided it would be a great idea to get a dog. I told my boyfriend it would help us prepare for raising a little human.
Well, the dog was still a puppy by the time I gave birth. Taking care of a newborn and a restless puppy- both of whom aren’t potty trained- was a disaster. I love our pup and baby, but I wish I had waited to get a pet until after we were used to being parents. I never want to clean up any human or dog poop ever again.”
10 The Assistant Who Couldn’t Assist
Jacqueline* thought hiring an assistant would make her maternity leave more manageable and less stressful, but boy was she wrong!
“I run my own business, and it wasn’t an option for me to completely quit work for maternity leave. So, I hired a personal assistant who would literally be by my side updating me about work things, responding to emails, running errands, etc.
It seemed like a good idea at first, but ultimately having an assistant made me stressed out and frazzled, which didn’t make for a good mat leave experience. The girl kept messing up or doing things ‘her way’ because she thought it would go better. She ruined countless projects and compromised our clients.
When I eventually let her go, she had the audacity to tell me that none of this would have happened if I didn’t decide to leave work for my baby. Who does she think she is?”
9 The Post-Baby Struggle
Tons of moms struggle to accept their post-baby body after giving birth. Tamara* had a particularly difficult time adjusting to her new figure while on maternity leave.
“I have always struggled with my body image and weight, but things escalated when I was on maternity leave and home alone with the baby. I became so critical about my post-baby body, and being alone for so long allowed me to develop an eating disorder again.
I wish I had said something to my husband when the problem first started. I struggled for years in silence afterward because I refused to share my struggle.”
8 The Toddler Who Wanted The Milky
Pamela* thought that breastfeeding her toddler alongside her newborn would make things more manageable… but it just opened up a whole new struggle!
“My 2-year old son was getting jealous that I was breastfeeding his newborn, baby sister. So, during my maternity leave, I also began breastfeeding my son like the baby.
I honestly only did this so he would stop whining and crying… taking care of two kids is hard. But I immediately regretted it when I had to go back to work and I was trying to wean the babies off of the boob. 2-year olds are harder to crack than a newborn!”
7 Maternity Leave Isn’t A Daycare
Rachel* thought she could make some extra cash by babysitting on the side during her maternity leave, but it was soon clear she took on too much.
“We were losing a lot of money that we needed when I went on maternity leave. So, to make ends meet, I offered to babysit my neighbor’s 2-year old and 4-year old sons during the day so they didn’t have to put them in daycare. I thought I could handle a newborn and the two older kids.
Yeah, I learned fast that this was a big mistake- even though we needed the money. The kids were driving me crazy, and all I wanted to do was go back to work. I had to tell my friend to find a new babysitter before the end of the month.”
6 Keep It Coming
Lucy* admits that she developed poor eating habits while on her maternity leave, which caused her to gain more weight than she initially did with her pregnancy.
“I honestly gained more weight on maternity leave than with my pregnancy. I didn’t stress about dieting or working out after giving birth. Actually, I started stress eating more because I was anxious with the new baby.
My husband was gone on 12-hour shifts and I would eat entire bags of cookies and crackers in one sitting. I was eventually 60 pounds heavier than when I first found out I was pregnant. If I could re-do it, I’d spend all the free time I had on maternity leave in the gym and cooking right.”
5 It’s Time To Call Mom
Mackenzie* thought that she would be able to balance a toddler and two newborn babies with no problem. But she soon regretted not asking for help- and we can’t blame her!
“I had just given birth to twins, and my daughter was only 3. My mom offered to stay with me for a while after taking the babies home, but I told her it would be fine (so she didn’t request any time off of work). I instantly regretted it when I realized how hard it is taking care of 3 kids by yourself. We had to hire a nanny in the end.”
4 A Mom’s Gotta Have New Clothes
Shannon* thought that investing in a new maternity wardrobe was a must-have. But she soon realized how frivolous her purchases actually became.
“I thought I needed a whole new set of clothes for my maternity leave. Before giving birth, I spent over $1000 on a new wardrobe, filled with clothes that would fit my baby bump.
Surprisingly, my body bounced back pretty quickly after labour, which meant that my new clothes didn’t fit me anymore. I wasn’t able to return all of them, so we ended up spending a big chunk on clothes that I didn’t even end up wearing for more than a few weeks. It was a huge fail.”
3 Not Like The Other Moms
Lilah* waited to become a mom, but now she worries that people judge her for it. The mama admits that she avoided making any other mom friends during her maternity leave for this very reason.
“I was already in my 40s when I had my son, so I felt self-conscious around other mothers who were younger and had more energy and time. I avoided going to any ‘mommy and me’ classes during my mat leave because I thought the others would judge me for waiting to have a kid so long. I guess I just judge myself.”
It doesn’t matter what age you become a mom at, so long as you’re giving it your best!
2 Sparkling Clean But Stressed Out
Many new moms struggle with taking care of their newborn and maintaining a sparkling clean house at the same time. Deborah* now realizes she let the stress of cleaning ruin her experience on mat leave.
“During my maternity leave, I was obsessed with keeping the house looking perfect, so much so that it ruined my ability to enjoy the bonding time with my baby. I was too stressed that things were out of place or messy, and having OCD didn’t help. I wish I would have been able to stay calm and not let the chaos affect me so much. Or if only I had just hired a maid!”
1 You’ve Gotta Love Yourself
Sophie* admits that she was so self-conscious of her post-baby body that she barely went out of the house while she was off from work. Looking back, she totally regrets it.
“I was so embarrassed about how my body looked that I barely went out of the house during my maternity leave. I had all this free time to take the baby places and I wasted it stuck in my house because I was worried that people would judge how I looked.
I honestly got so depressed staying home alone the whole day. And then I totally regretted not doing anything those 8 months when I went back to work.”
*Names have been changed.
Reference: Facebook Survey