Lots of people see the break from work that maternity leave offers as a chance to build (or indeed rebuild) friendships with other mummies and to get out of the house to socialise. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the change in scenery that maternity leave offers me - it is great to be able to meet up with women rather than being surrounded by guys like I am at work. However, one of the things I enjoy most about maternity leave is the solitude. This is my chance to find quiet, quality time to spend with just me and Holly.
I now have three groups of mummies I regularly meet up with as well as friends and family. I spend Mondays and Thursdays with both my girls (Thursday is still "Lara Day" and I take her swimming). I am also trying to swim myself and, before the school holiday,s I was taking Holly to music classes and baby yoga. After the normal admin and chores that doesn't leave very much time for just me and Holly to sit peacefully in the living room and stare lovingly into each others eyes, does it?
Maybe I'm unusual to crave silence? I don't think so. The chance to sit quietly in my own home without the whirlwind of a 3-year-old crashing about is such a rare thing that I savour every moment I spend with just Holly while she is still gurgling and immobile. I love being able to grab a sneaky coffee while she sleeps or to quickly scribble a blog post (like I am doing now). I secretly enjoy being able to watch TV when I want without being subjected to either Sky Sports, the Disney Channel or Nick Jr.
I don't feel like I need to fill my days with "fun" or "interactive" things to do with Holly. In fact, I'm already slightly regretting signing up to the new terms for our two activities together. I don't feel like I need to meet up with friends in order to go for a peaceful walk with the pram. Life is pretty good when it is just me and Holly.
Sometimes I fancy just curling up on my bed with Holly and staring up at the ceiling until we both drift gently off to sleep. I know it would never happen like that but I can dream, can't I?