This week I was asked by a colleague if I took the opportunity to read many books while I was on maternity leave. And she was serious.
Of course it came from someone who was childless. And of course it took all of my most polite restraint not to laugh out loud and respond with a scathing reply laced heavily with sarcasm. That was, until my husband gently suggested I think back to BH (Before Harrison) and asked me what my pre-conceived notions of maternity leave involved.
I gulped. Abruptly I was back believing I was not only going to get all my weekly chores knocked over before the weekend, but as well I’d probably commence creating my own jewellery making empire and write that best selling novel that was laying dormant within me. Suddenly I didn’t feel like laughing so much anymore.
So where did these grand plans go wrong? I have heard of mythical mums out there who manage to juggle it all with such aplomb that I am sure they are managing to run successful stay-at-home enterprises while simultaneously breast-feeding and keeping up to date with the ironing. Yet, not me… For instance, it took me 10 months to find the time to start this blog, although its very notion was conceived of some 6 months before. I just couldn’t fathom concentrating on anything else besides the main responsibility of my life, Harrison.
Too terrified to let those juggling balls fall, any grand plans of partaking in leisure pursuits for my own personal gain were ignored at the expense of other necessities. Like sleep. I didn’t watch a movie on DVD for ten months, and I think I could count on one hand the amount of times I went to the cinema or out to dinner sans child. Yes, I was blessed with beautiful bub, but a catnapping bub at that. There was no such thing as a lovely long silken bolt of free time in which to diligently lose myself in a longed for hobby.
For the record, the book reading total was 4. All read when I was holidaying or visting the Grandparents and had help at hand with Harry. And each time I read that book like it was a drug, savouring the moment, in fear it would be some time before such escapism could be bestowed on me again.
And for those who think 4 books in one year seems quite substantial, let me paint this equal picture for you. It’s the same amount I have now read in the past 6 weeks since being back at work and having to time on the train to indulge in such an activity. Who said heading back to the workforce was all about financial gains??? I can now get back a sliver of me, the part that loves losing myself in a book.
BH times are now but a distant memory, and, like all good books, they have their place in history. Its the AH times (After Harrison, need you ask!), that we now long for the most - just like any tantalising new book waiting to be read.