Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Second Chance at Maternity Leave

I had dreamed about having a child my whole life. And to me, my ultimate hope was to stay home full time, watching him or her grow up. Yet, to my surprise, my first maternity leave was one of the more challenging times of my life. Sleep-deprived, unaccustomed to not working, unsure about my new identity and missing the autonomy of my previous life, I struggled to adjust.
In fact, I quickly realized that the "stay at home" life was more fantasy than reality.

Over the next 1 1/2 years, my love and enjoyment of my son grew, as I began to adapt to my new life. And just when things settled, my second son appeared.

This time, however, I was intent on enjoying my time off and, more importantly, enjoying my baby. And having some sense of what to do, as well as no longer shocked by the lifestyle change, I had high hopes that it would be easier this time around.

And in many ways, it has been. And, with a new appreciation of what life is like as a working mom, I decided to turn this maternity leave into a last chance to enjoy life with my new baby and without a job.

What does that mean to a Foodie/Mommy? It means eating my way through my maternity leave : )

Armed with my new love of (more later), many cookbooks and my lists of restaurants I always wanted to visit, I have been having more fun that perhaps acceptable. Granted, a twist came when I realized that I had to change my diet for my baby (more on that later, too), but overall it has been a phenomenal experience and one I highly recommend.

The truth for me is this: Come September, I will have almost no "me" time left. Between work and my family, life will be full....but not full of opportunities to eat out where I want. And as I now know, a 3 month old baby is infinitely more portable and amenable to sharing meals anywhere than a 2 year old! Finally, lunch specials don't happen on weekends.

So I am thankful for this chance and am glad to be creating memories (and restaurant reviews!) for the future.