Paternity and maternity leave allowances vary from country to country and even from business to business.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have at least a couple of weeks to adjust to life as a new family before your partner is whisked back into the working world.
And if you’re even luckier, you’ll have a little more time off before you have to return to work.
Some fathers don’t get much in the way of paternity leave. Many have to go back to work just days after the birth.
10 Thoughts All New Mamas Have On Daddy’s First Day Back At Work
Even if your partner has a couple of weeks off, those weeks will probably pass in a blur and you’ll be left feeling you didn’t have nearly long enough to get used to being a family.
The first few weeks after the birth are filled with feeds, nappy changes, sleepless nights, endless washing and tiny cries.
It can be tough, but at least you have someone there to help you through. So what happens when he goes back to work?
Here are 10 thoughts all new mamas have on their first day alone with the baby:
#1: I Can’t Do It
You’re a team. He has your back and you have his; that’s how it works. How are you supposed to do all this alone now?
If you’re tired, he helps you get some sleep. If you’re hungry and trapped under a sleeping baby, he makes you a sandwich. If you cry because you don’t recognise any part of your body, he hugs you and reminds you you’re beautiful.
He has important jobs to do here; he shouldn’t just be swanning off to work at a time like this. You can’t do this alone. He needs to quit his job and just be a dad from now on. Who needs money anyway?
#2: I’m Doing It!
There is no greater pride than the pride of a new mama who realises she is coping. Throw in a multitasking moment like answering the door while breastfeeding and you’ve reached Expert Level.
It’s ok to be smug. Don’t waste time being humble. You’re killing this. You’re Such A Mum. You’re soothing those tears, wiping that little bottom, and doing the new mama sway like a total pro.
#3: Uggh, I Have To Change ALL The Nappies
You might not have appreciated your partner’s help when he was around, but you’ll definitely notice his absence when you’re elbow deep in baby poop. A whole day’s worth of nappies is too many for one person; that’s definitely a two-person workload.
You feed the baby, and he deals with the other end. That’s fair. This whole ‘doing it all yourself’ thing – that’s just unfair. What you need to do is train your newborn to save those creamy poops for when Daddy gets home from his day of talking to adults, having hot drinks and not listening to crying.
#4: How Is It Only Lunchtime?
You were doing well and everything was going great, but then you made the mistake of looking at the time. Never look at the time. Always assume it is still 7am and then you won’t have that disappointment when the hours don’t pass as quickly as you’d hoped.
You have changed enough nappies to last a lifetime, so you wrongly assume your partner will be back soon, but nope, it’s only lunchtime. Well, it would be if you weren’t trapped under a feeding baby. You might as well rename this part of the day ‘more time’, because you’re unlikely to get lunch today.
#5: Is It Ok I’m Still In Pyjamas?
Yes. Time doesn’t exist when you have a newborn, so nobody can judge you. Besides, pyjamas are comfy. It’s ok for you to wear pyjamas all day, every day. You’re a new mama, so you can get away with anything.
If you want to, you can blame it on sleep deprivation. When you’re in the grocery store, just glance down and say, ‘Oh dear, I must have forgotten to get dressed before I came out’. Everyone will smile and chuckle and remember how tired new parents are.
Your partner might have been suited and booted by 8am, but don’t judge yourself by his standards. He hasn’t spent all day being puked on, slept on and pooped on. He’s living the dream; you’re ok in your pyjamas.
#6: How Many Photos Is Too Many?
You don’t want your partner to miss out on things just because he’s had to return to the world of work, so you’ve been very kindly keeping him updated on your day. Here’s a list of the times you have contacted him today:
- You sent him a photo of the baby sleeping with the caption ‘Miss you, Daddy’
- You sent him a photo of the baby in his outfit for the day
- And then his second outfit because he puked on the first
- And then his third outfit because he pooped on the second
- Then you sent him a photo of the poop because it looked different from normal and you were worried
- Then you sent him some selfies of you and the baby together
- You also rang him to tell him you missed him
That’s all totally fine. He needs the constant updates. There is no such thing as too many photos of your beautiful baby.
#7: How Many Times Can You Microwave A Cup Of Tea?
Answer: a lot. Keep going. You made that cup of tea at 8 o’clock in the morning, but you haven’t managed so much as a sip yet because you’ve been so busy mothering.
It’s unbelievably tiring, this mothering thing, isn’t it? You’ve barely even had time to notice how thirsty, hungry, tired and smelly you are. Remember when you used to have hot drinks and shower whenever you wanted? Go and microwave the tea again, and this time make sure you drink it…
#8: Maybe I Should Go To Work
After six long hours with a pooping, crying, feeding, sleeping machine, you might be starting to lose your mind. You start to fantasise about your partner’s day. You imagine him sitting on his office chair, taking another sip of his fresh hot coffee, and with no breast pads or dirty muslin cloths cluttering his desk.
He’s laughing at something a colleague is saying – a funny anecdote about something – then he’s typing important emails and existing in the real world. Maybe he should be the one who stays home, and you should go back to work, you think, as you imagine making yourself a nice hot drink and not having anyone hanging off your nipple.
#9: One Hour To Go…
The countdown started as soon as he left for work. You’ve been ticking off the hours slowly throughout the day – painfully slowly, actually. Who knew a working day could last so long? Each hour crept slowly by, but now that you’re nearing the end you can’t quite work out where the day has gone.
You finally managed to drink your tea but you haven’t achieved much else. The house looks like a bomb went off, there are baby clothes and maternity bras scattered around the room, and the laundry pile is spilling down the stairs. Ignore all that. Just focus on the contented little baby snuggled up in your arms.
#10: That’s His Key In The Door; I Made It!
Your heart will flip when you hear his key turn in the lock. Finally, the day is over and you can say with pride that you made it. You have day one tucked firmly under your belt. You kept your baby happy(ish), fed and clean all day long.
And now it’s time to leave the baby with your partner and disappear upstairs for a bath and a hot drink to enjoy a few minutes by yourself.