Right – I’ve been off work just over a month – the settling in period has passed, so how are we doing?
Its gone fast. I’ve not really been bored. I’ve had some really great days, and achieved some of the things I set out to do. But there have been days where I’ve had no momentum at all and felt shit, and slow, unproductive and a bit fed up. I blame various things for this – a baby meltdown (link), a bad nights sleep, a weekend away – stuff that disrupts the routine and gets me out of the swing of things. But ultimately its just me finding excuses for being lazy and unproductive.
But overall, its been a breeze – a doss, at times (I might write another post later on whether this parenting lark is as hard as women have been telling me it is…). My first few week were all to-do lists and good intentions – coping mechanisms I kidded myself in to believing were necessary to get through the day. But (flash of inspiration here:) I have come to the conclusion that time passes even if you don’t have a list of some kind, and having realised this, it turns out its easy to just jump up and get on – have coffee, meet friends (hi!), talk to strangers, silently judge the comparative attractiveness of other babies etc.
But coasting through a day like that is a bad thing – I hate coasting. A day with a baby will always be full of lovely moments and surprises but it’s not good for achieving things you want to do. I have enough time to do anything I like – it’s using time sensibly that’s the hard part. It’s final proof that I’m essentially lazy and incapable of focusing my efforts towards a bigger goal. (I knew this already but thought these 6 months might give me an opportunity to change that about myself.) I could try harder to make that change, but you know what, I’m happy, so fuck it.
I have done some of the things I set out to do – I’ve written more, I’ve made up stories, I’ve booked some piano lessons and made some things with my hands. I have played Ada a lot of music, dressed her up, taken her out on the bike a lot, and she has come on so much. She can crawl now, and eat real food, and produce solid shits (although by the time I get to them, they’re usually in paste-form, all over her back). She has volition. Course, she would have learned all this at nursery without me but I’m counting her innate natural developmental steps firmly as my own achievements – something I intend to keep doing until her 16th birthday, at which point she can start taking credit for stuff.
I’m still stuck on the question of whether this 6 months off is worth it though. Is it justifiable that the taxpayer is basically funding me to try (but mostly fail) to achieve things I’ve always wanted to do on the pretext that I’m here helping my daughter grow up? Is it? Really?
But. But but but. Ada! I love her now in a way that I never even knew existed before I took this time off.
So yeah, its selfish, indulgent, pointless. But it is worth it just for that (thanks, taxpayers..!)