What maternity leave has given me.

What maternity leave has given me.

I’ve toyed with whether or not to share this post. As a Scorpio, I sometimes take comfort in being secretive, which may come as a surprise being a blogger who shares and documents every part of their life to friends, family and strangers. Yet what you probably don’t know is how selective I am in what I share. I have a rule of blogging by which I follow, ensuring I never feel overly exposed and am in control of how much I want you to know.

I never set out to be a blogger, you see. My blog was a product of a conversation between friends. A friend who has an unbelievable skill of encouragement, making you believe you can do anything. She sees a quality in people which they never knew existed and plants the seeds of inspiration in a manner so subtle you don’t even know it’s happening.

So with this seed of encouragement,  I began writing about my new life with 3 boys , at a time when my confidence was quietly slipping away. I’d taken a gamble on fulfilling our dream to have a 3rd baby, hoping to return to the job that I’d studied for and loved. A job that gave me the confidence to walk into a room full of strangers and share my knowledge, the confidence to help people in their most vulnerable times, the confidence to pursue a career AND have a family. I didn’t bargain on walking out of the office door and leaving that confidence behind. It never struck me I’d be returning a different person with different dreams, different ambitions, different goals. With maternity leave came changes I’d never bargain for. I now no longer knew who I was or who I wanted to be.

And then I blogged. I wrote. I photographed. I networked.

I wrote for pleasure, for excitement, for memories and with it my identity returned.

I didn’t plan on ever being a blogger, but at a time when I thought I’d lost my way, my confidence slowly returned.

I know my writing’s sometimes sloppy, a side effect of sleep deprivation and trying to do too much at once, but my blog keeps me focused and organised. It’s introduced me to a community of like minded people who have filled the gap left by colleagues. I’ve read some truly inspiration posts that have put my own simple life into perspective and I’ve seen how this virtual world has changed people’s lives for the better.

What maternity leave has given me is a time to reflect on what’s important in life, a time to step out of the norm and see what else is out there, a time to make changes and the confidence leap into the unknown. Out with the old and in with the new.

Maternity leave has given me a time to blog.

 

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47 Comments

  1. 12th January 2015 / 10:06 am

    What a lovely post – I wish I’d found my blog while I was on maternity leave, it wasn’t something I even thought about until after I’d returned to work. I completely agree about the community aspect of blogging – it really is fab. I hope your return to work goes well when the time comes.

    • 12th January 2015 / 8:54 pm

      Thank you, I’m not sure how I’d have found the time to set it all up and work at the same time.

  2. 12th January 2015 / 10:37 am

    What a gorgeous post! Maternity leave is just fab, we’re so lucky to have what we have over here 🙂 Friends came over from the States in the Summer, and it was rather humbling to find out they are only entitled to take three months off in the first year of their new baby’s life! My friend worked until the day she delivered, then took six weeks off directly after the birth and six weeks six months later to come over here and go travelling around Europe!

    • 14th January 2015 / 1:17 pm

      We are so lucky, I only had 12 weeks with my 1st baby so this one’s a luxury.

  3. 12th January 2015 / 11:17 am

    Beautiful post. Motherhood can change you so much and change your feeling about how you are when you are not going into work every day. It sounds like you have a fantastic friend and I am so pleased you found blogging and that it helped you so much. I can totally relate as blogging has really helped me come to terms with my new role of SAHM and it is such a huge part of my life now I struggle to imagine not blogging and having a place to share my thoughts and experiences! Thank you so much for linking up with #MaternityMondays xx

    • 14th January 2015 / 1:16 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel, I never realised how much it would help with my change in identity when I started.

  4. Sue Steele
    12th January 2015 / 4:10 pm

    Dear lovely Ali ,
    You said this would make me laugh, it made me cry. I remember the very day I said ” write a blog” it was a true light bulb moment, you went home that night and started there and then. Every credit to you my friend , you’re an inspiration to me and always will be. You’re a natural born writer, photographer, mummy and a fabulous friend . You’re a diamond whos going to shine very brightly xxxx

  5. 12th January 2015 / 8:19 pm

    *sniff* what a lovely comment from Sue to go with the lovely post. Maternity leave is definitely a blessing in many ways – so many women are given the opportunity to find a new direction

    • 12th January 2015 / 8:50 pm

      That’s exactly the message what I was trying to get across. I’m feeling bad now as I made Sue cry!

  6. 12th January 2015 / 8:29 pm

    Wow what a great post. I’m a Scorpio too and, despite sharing a lot, I too am selective. I am glad you shared this though 🙂 #MaternityMondays

    • 12th January 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you, it’s one our Scorpio traits I guess but we do have better ones!

  7. 13th January 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Wonderful post and sentiments I can appreciate, I loved my maternity leave with my early children too, however I hadn’t discovered blogging then sadly. With the younger ones and Coombe Mill there was no such thing as maternity leave! It is a wonderful time, enjoy it.

    • 13th January 2015 / 7:35 pm

      Thank you. I was way to busy to write a blog after my 2nd son and didn’t have a computer during my 1st sons!

  8. 13th January 2015 / 9:42 pm

    It changes everything doesn’t it? Am I talking about maternity or blogging – both obvs! 🙂 I can’t believe your writing ever gets sloppy – you write beautifully and you seem like a very controlled person if your first admission is anything to go by! Your friend must be a pretty special person. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout

  9. Zena's Suitcase
    14th January 2015 / 10:26 am

    What a great post. There’s a lot here that reaches out to me as a Mum, with her 3rd baby who started a blog not knowing where it would go. Everything you say about maternity leave is so true, and I have found people have little empathy for you, or me anyway. They see someone who has had a lot of time of work and resentment seems to be the norm, and they forget how being out of the workplace may have affected you #sharewithme

    • 14th January 2015 / 1:11 pm

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there. I didn’t have a professional role like I do know, on my last 2 maternity leaves so didn’t realise how much the loss of identity would effect me.

  10. 14th January 2015 / 11:50 am

    What a lovely post, it is so nice to take time out to reflect on things isn’t it.

    Have stopped by from the Mad Midweek Blog Hop.

    • 14th January 2015 / 1:13 pm

      Thank you. I’ve really been looking at things in a whole new light.

  11. Betty and the Bumps
    14th January 2015 / 2:16 pm

    I started my blog during maternity leave too, although I wish I’d started it earlier (Gwenn was about 6 months when I wrote my first post). I found it gave me a lot of confidence.

    xx

    #sharewithme

  12. Jenny
    14th January 2015 / 8:58 pm

    Oh I am so glad you started blogging. I did the same never thought I would be a blogger and then I became one right after I had MM and it was a magical world opened up for me. I love it and it’s so much apart of my everyday life now. Love your adventures keep it up hunny. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. Sorry if you had any trouble commenting on my site today as the host is being transferred there are a few glitches to fix. Apologies. #sharewithme

    • 14th January 2015 / 9:27 pm

      It’s amazing how it quickly becomes part of the norm, you’re so right.

  13. Potty Mouthed Mummy
    15th January 2015 / 10:01 am

    What a lovely post! I feel much the same about my maternity leaver (though it seems like it happened a long time ago now) XX

    • 15th January 2015 / 10:24 am

      Thank you, ooo and you’ve just reminded me to add my captured moment post!

  14. 15th January 2015 / 10:25 am

    It is isn’t it. I’m sure I’d have developed a serious eBay habit if it wasn’t for my blog.

  15. Ting at My Travel Monkey
    15th January 2015 / 11:21 am

    Such a lovely post. It’s like reading my thoughts too… my friend, who is equally encouraging, suggested I blog as well, nearly a year ago now when I had lost all faith in myself. Although I didn’t start on maternity leave, but after a year being back in the office, it’s made me more focused, organised and given me something to be proud of. Fab stuff x #brilliantblogposts

  16. 15th January 2015 / 9:03 pm

    A lovely post, I must admit I’m a bit of a blogger like you. I have to hold some things back. It’s funny how having a baby can make you loose yourself and knock you sideways x

    • 16th January 2015 / 10:26 am

      I feel I have to hold onto some privacy so I’m not exposing my guys to the world too much, it’s the control freak side of me!

  17. 15th January 2015 / 9:11 pm

    What a lovely post. I loved maternity leave, it gave me time to find the new me (post labour) and as we are lucky to have both sets of grandparents pretty much on the doorstep I still managed to find a bit of me time too!
    You are very lucky to have such a lovely friend. xx

    • 16th January 2015 / 10:24 am

      Thank you, I am lucky you’re so right. I count my blog as me time, much cheaper than a trip to the spa!

  18. Julie S.
    16th January 2015 / 1:11 am

    My maternity leave is drawing to a close, but it has given me a little bit of time to catch up on blogging and get integrated into the mom blogger community a bit too:)

  19. Honest Mum
    16th January 2015 / 6:58 pm

    I totally relate to this post and loved it. I started Honest Mum when O was 10 months old, I felt lost, alone, far from family, I was the first of my girl friends to have a baby and I was still dealing with a traumatic birth-blogging gave me a voice, helped my confidence to return, got me back on set as a director until I went pro as a blogger and most importantly it gave me support and friendship, blogging rocks, keeping being brilliant lady. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

  20. 18th January 2015 / 10:54 pm

    Your post is truly inspriing! I love to read how maternity leave has given yout he opportunity to blog and blogging has given you so much. I first started blogging/journaling online when sitll in high school, but I do remember starting up my current blog, now that I’m on disability, has given em so much too. You surely start appreciating different things when you don’t have your job (or in my case school) to live for.

  21. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)
    19th January 2015 / 10:59 am

    Yes! Blogging really is a wonderful community isn’t it? I started blogging when my eldest was still a baby as part of my therapy for post natal depression – it rekindled my love of writing and has grown into my profession too! Good for you for deciding how much you want to share – at the end of the day you need to feel comfortable with the amount of YOU that you share online but I’m glad you shared this x

    Thanks for linking up at #sharethejoy x

    • 20th January 2015 / 10:10 am

      Thank you Michelle, i never anticipated how blogging would become therapy.

  22. Honest Mum
    19th January 2015 / 11:17 am

    Popping over again from #sharethejoylinky, such a lovely post, now want maternity leave-hahah if only my husband were broody x

    • 20th January 2015 / 10:09 am

      Lol! No don’t go on maternity leave, there’ll be no Brilliant Blog linky!

  23. 19th January 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Lovely post – love blogging for the time to reflect and record those special moments as well as the wonderful community and glad that maternity leave has given you the time to blog and helped boost your confidence 🙂

    • 20th January 2015 / 10:07 am

      Thank you, i never for one moment thought I’d get all the little extras that came out of starting a blog.

  24. 19th January 2015 / 9:02 pm

    Ah I love this post- its always fascinating to read why people started blogging and what its done for them x x

  25. 22nd January 2015 / 8:21 pm

    Great post i love blogging it has given me back my confidence too I love that I’ve met so many new people who i can now call friends Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars

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