Probably one of the more political conversations you may have when pregnant is ‘How long will you have off when taking maternity leave’? It’s like people expect you to know as soon as you’re pregnant when you haven’t even looked at the finances yet and while also trying figure out what you can or can’t eat!? …. Unless you say a year you may get the look I got all the time of ‘Ohhhh but how can you leave them so early?!?’
Unfortunately many people still live in the generation that only the women will take leave once the baby arrives. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for this and everyone is unique, however it was not mine and Mr Evans’ final decision. I lived away in countries where men had opportunities to spend time (FULLY PAID time! Can you believe it?) with their babies, and seeing the benefits I knew from then this would be something I was intersted in. So…..I planned 6 months leave but had only 5 (I was signed off with PGP early losing a month) and Mr Evans took 4 months.
But then comes the question of ‘How do you spend this time?’ amongst the chaos that is being a new parent? Well here in the Cotswolds we have plenty of things to do!
I cannot recommend enough the weekly FREE ‘Push It Real Good Walks’ in Cheltenham. Sleep deprived and loaded with my 2 week old Baby Evans I turned up to Pitville Pump Rooms. People ask me what is your greatest accomplishment? I say leaving the house with a 2 week old baby!) I was needing coffee…and an honest conversation with no judgement. That was all I needed and that’s what I got. I’m happy to say I’ve made some great friends from this group of walking mums and took some of my own mum friends along with me. I also learned a tonne about the blogging community along with some life saving motherhood tips! It really is a breath of fresh air to have something on our doorstep so accesible especially since this was before we had 2 cars and I was able to either get the bus or walk to the location easily.
I also started to attend some paid events. There are plenty around the area with anything from baby yoga/crafts/swimming/language training and plenty more. You can find most through a google search. I was totally dumbfounded at the broad variety of baby classes, one of my favourite venues is our local Wholefoods store, they offer plenty of easy parking! Also a shout out to Kate’s events at CheltenhamManan of course! 😉 The christmas event was lots of fun! Looking forward to the next one!
I loved to spend some of my leave exploring and we visited many Cotswold villages such as Broadway and Bourton-on-the-Water. They are the perfect places to go for a stroll or to meet and catch up with friends. I loved it when people would tell me maternity leave is all about going to ‘cafes and eating cake or baking’….. This is far from the truth but also if it were then my answer is us mothers deserve it, bring on the cake!
I believe the Cotswolds are rich with things to do, activities and support groups are everywhere! Maternity leave has been quick but amazing and I am so grateful to all those businesses out there supporting us new parents. I had to remind myself that this time isn’t about cramming in everything I could possibly do in 5 months especially since I had surgery after Ro (retained placenta….god damn those umblical cords!) I also had to remember that this is the ONLY time for you to stop and most importantly take it all in. Time for you to watch your little one grow and teach them and not try to do everything you possibly can because in fact that is imposible! Family time is so crucial in those first few months of being new parents and no one will judge you if you want to stay in all weekend and have baby cuddles. I for one miss my morning cuddles!
Oh and don’t forget YOU time, you are still a friend, partner, wife or sister so be honest and have a day to yourself. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries. However you choose to spend it do something that makes you laugh and happy like me and Mr Evans here on our first date night after Baby Ro…beer in a stein is always a good choice.
A Guest Blog from Laura Dean
Hi All! I’m Laura, 27 and first time mum to the beautiful Baby Rohan Evans. I’m a pretty laid back person and I like the simple things in life you know like, a great wood burner in the winter and a summer hike with an amazing view. I have a crazy love for pancakes and afternoon tea put them together even better. I have a big personality which has led me to travel and live abroad in 2 countries however one of my biggest loves is the Cotswolds, where I have settled and upon my return created LauraLifeLove! A Cotswolds Blog which features short and honest posts regarding Food/Travel/Motherhood, do have a gander and follow/like me on Facey and Insta!