I think I’ve mentioned my shamefully short maternity leaves before. For the first one, I decided to work up to my due date as the doctor had said being posterior, I’d probably be 2 weeks over due and need to be induced. However the week before my due date, I was starting to feel like crap, so thought a 3 week rest before mightn’t be a bad idea. We went to lunch at Di Stasio’s on my last Friday – another lovely Melbourne restaurant - and then back to the agency for a desk tidy before my farewell drinks (Diet Coke for me) and the presentation of a cane basket of baby gifts. I got home around 9pm, still felt a bit crappy, had a bath, went into labour, went to hospital around midnight and gave birth at 2am. As mentioned last week, it was a long weekend, so some colleagues apparently wondered why I wasn’t back on the Tuesday... clearly no-one who's actually given birth....
After 3 months, as planned, I was back at work.
For the second one, I did work up to my due date, but still no baby. I had a dull week at home before finally having Jazzy-angel. The house was being re-stumped and renovated and we spent 3½ months at home before she went to crèche and I went back to work.
Third time around, the first was starting school, so I finished at Christmas. (I had to really, it was pointed out that the buttons on my maternity jacket were straining and threatening to take out an eye – I pointed out that was as big as they came. I was running out of office wear options….). She was born 2 weeks later in January and I went back after first term holidays.
The fourth is also a January baby so similar to number three. As the other kids were all at school, I thought this leave would be great. I was cooking Indian curries and baking and experimenting with all kinds of dinners. The kids were begging me to go back to work – they liked it better when Dad just threw some chops on the barbeque.
Six weeks in, the Creative Director and Account Manager called me to talk through some scripts. “Have we caught you at a bad time?” they asked.
“Thank god you’ve called!” I assured them. “I’ve just emptied the fridge, dragged it out of its hole and was in behind it - cleaning!!” Yep – too much time home with a baby is not good for a mother who works. I just about wore out the basins drying them every time they were used.
So, my very last day of maternity leave - ever – and I’ve planned it perfectly. I’m meeting Dianna at Chadstone Shopping Centre for a lazy day of coffee, cake and shopping. I get the kids ready for school and number three says she’s not feeling great. Damn. She looks fine to me so off they all go.
We’re at Chadstone having just met up and are sipping the first latte for the day when the call comes. She’s just thrown up all over her book while reading. “Can you call her Dad?” I say. “Seriously, I really can’t get there...”. They did (I called him too) and he kindly went and scrapped her up so I could enjoy my last day of leave. What a guy!