My maternity leave is officially half over.
A few months ago, I posted on skirt! about my upcoming maternity leave. (No, I’m not pregnant, nor do I have an infant. Yes, I’m on maternity leave. Confused? Read here.)
To summarize, my ridiculously awesome company decided to give me a 6-week paid maternity leave as a result of Pumpkin’s adoption being finalized back in February. I decided to defer the leave until the summertime and have been planning how to spend this life sabbatical ever since.
I decided to “Backwards Plan” this time off. In other words, I’d define how I want to feel at the end of it, then plan only activities to achieve that goal. I called this Backwards Plan a NALP.
As of this week, I’m halfway through my break. I expected to feel like the time was flying by but in reality, it’s been perfectly paced. The kids have stayed in summer camp / day care during these past couple of weeks. My days have been entirely free to pursue my goals of feeling:
I’ve spent every morning reading, writing, and reflecting. Having that time has been more than rewarding. More than wonderful. It’s been life-giving.
I have reconnected with the reason I started this blog. And got to share those reasons in a spiritual setting.
Most importantly, I slowed down enough to be inspired by my surroundings. Or at least to notice them.
At the beginning of this break, I longed for stillness and peace. Stillness is an uncomfortable place for me. But I can’t feel at home in my skin without it.
I’ve been doing yoga a couple of times a week. Oddly, I never want to show up. I grumble on the way in, I sigh as we get started. But something magical happens during all of that breathing and stretching. I leave feeling centered, refreshed, and still.
I’m happy to contort myself into a pretzel if it means feeling like that every day. Now I just need to figure out how to work yoga into my routine once this break is over.
I needed to strike a fine balance here…I wanted to do small projects around the house but I didn’t want to get consumed by housework.
I’ve got an upcoming guest post about some of the surprising (and hilarious) things I found in one of the closets I cleaned out. Stay tuned at the end of August for that.
But beyond finding random pictures and oddities, housework isn’t a lot of fun. So I haven’t done much of it. Like at all.
I feel accomplished that I’ve organized one closet, taken bags and bags of items for donation, and not let myself get obsessed with the need to de-clutter every space in my home.
My kids will be home with me for the second half of my maternity leave. My plan is to accomplish nothing else but spending time with them. (But I’m hoping to fit some yoga in there, too.) I’m looking forward to our weeks together, two of which will be spent at the beach. I can’t wait!
I didn’t have expectations about reconnecting with B, since I knew he’d be working his regular schedule. But since he works from home, we’ve been able to spend his lunch hour together most days. The first few lunches were the normal fare – talking about the kids, the details of running a house, the dog’s bad behavior.
But then something shifted. Once we ran out of mundane topics, we started talking more about our quieter, more personal thoughts. We shared more. We laughed a lot. (Loud enough to get looks from others in restaurants.) Those moments and that laughter was an unexpected but most welcome gift from this break.
So I’m halfway through with this time off. And I’m at the turning point: my “me” time is ending and my time with the kids is beginning. And I’m ready.
Today, the thing I am most grateful for is how much I look forward to the next few weeks and months. I was excited to have “me” time for a couple of weeks. I’m excited to spend time with the kids for the next few weeks. And I’m excited to get back to a job I love with people I adore.
My life is delicious.
There is still time to enter “The Naked Truth” linky! It’s open until Friday, August 19th. Come link up and share your naked truth about love or read the amazing entries.