Oh I’m missing my maternity leave days.

Maternity Leave Days
Isla’s first walk into town in her sit-up pram

Earlier today, I was sat in a café, pushing the tea, cake, spoons, forks, plates, actually everything, out of the path of our one year old – when it hit me. I miss my maternity leave days.

I’m not a coffee fan, so it can’t have been the aroma of coffee that invoked this feeling. But I was suddenly overwhelmed by missing these early days.

My little family and I used to go to this one cafe regularly when I was on maternity leave – thank you West Central Cafe

It was my resuscitation from the sleepless nights and coping with being a new Mum. My partner was often away or working strange hours, but weirdly he seemed to have quite a few afternoons free during my maternity leave. Or at least, this is how remember it now.

We would aim to be out of the door after Isla’s afternoon bottle and head towards the town. The air, the sense of doing something achievable and just having some time to talk, was a release.

And of course, the caffeine and sugar intake installed a sense of momentum that meant I thought I could face the evenings ups and downs, whatever they were going to be.

It was our sanctuary, our peace…can I say our secret?

Sounds dramatic, but we never invited anyone to join us. It was just us 3.

Maternity Leave Days
Walking into town with Isla in her carrier – so tiny!

You see, it was creating our new ‘normal’.

And for me, it also meant that I could say I had done something that day. I could count it off my to-do list. I’d been out of the house, walked to town and had tea!

But this is what hit me today, sitting in another other café, in another town with a now 1 year old. We didn’t do this anymore.

I’ve been back at work for 7 months now, so that freedom of time, space and meandering to coffee shops has long gone. I’ve also started feeling the working mum guilt. Read more about this here: Working Mum Guilt – can we keep her today?

We don’t often hibernate away in café to just hang out together. In fact the only reason we were there today, was because the shopping had just become too much and Isla needed a little snack and we needed caffeine!

Maternity Leave Days
A tiny Isla asleep in the cafe

Life is full of balancing nursery, work, food shopping, friends, events, activities – our lives! Which is of course wonderful. I just had a tiny pang for my maternity leave days and the café memories we once shared.

I’m sure I’m seeing this all through rose-tinted glasses. But sometimes it’s good to reminisce and to take a moment to realise these memories are forming and shaping our daughter’s life. And that they’re incredibly special.

Time flies by so quickly, that taking in each moment, really does count.