Well, what can I say? One year on maternity leave, done. Finito. Complete. That’s a wrap. And what a year it’s been. Too many highs to even mention, and a few lows thrown into the mix for good measure too. But I will always look back at the year I’ve had with the fondest of memories, soaking up every last bit of the baby world before the chaos really begins. And I have a feeling we are only just at the beginning of the madness.

Where do I begin?

Coen entered this world in the most dramatic way, but spent the first few months of his life so calm, so chilled and just taking it all in. He is forever a spectator to his big brother’s street dance moves and wrestling, and takes it all in his stride, watching from the sidelines. As the months have rolled by, he is slowly (but surely) becoming an active participant in wrestling contests (yes, he has only just turned 1) and has a set of lungs on him that make Hugo reach for his ear defenders at breakfast. However watching my two boys love and adore one another is the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. So for the constant “Please don’t break anything”, or “I don’t want another broken leg in this house”… I will have to say it is worth it.

But along with having two children, comes two schedules. And no one can quite prepare you for the juggling act that you have to balance when a second child enters the picture. It is true what they say when you have another child, that you don’t share your love, but your love simply grows. Your heart grows even bigger than you ever thought possible but dividing your time between the two is really tough. Recovering from the birth and sleep deprivation, establishing routines, sleep training, nap training, weaning… they all require so much time and devotion and having to get the balance right with an older sibling is incredibly tough. Probably the biggest feeling of guilt is robbing your first born of all of that time you once had. But then I had a revelation…

School holidays

For the first time in Hugo’s life, he had me for the entire duration of every single school holiday – half terms, summer holidays, bank holidays, Easter… you name it, I was there. There was no more sending his off to Nana’s and Grandmas with an overnight bag and plenty of lego to keep him occupied while I worked, and there was no more figuring out play dates to work around my schedule. It was just us. The three of us. And despite me having to find time to show both boys equal amounts of love and devotion, the fact that I was there for Hugo for all of the holidays for a year told me enough of what I needed to know. Even though juggling between both boys was harder than I ever thought, juggling between school holidays and work is so much harder!

It’s pretty obvious that I can’t afford to take all of the school holidays off work to look after the kids. That’s a fact. We are so lucky to have grandparents nearby who are able to help us out when we need them. But perhaps I need to figure out this work/life balance a bit more. I may be self employed, which to some people means I can just work when I want, but I don’t feel like I have ever fully embraced this. I am going to do everything I can to take some time out of work, especially in the holidays, to just hang out with Hugo. He is a pretty cool kid (even if he loves lego more than he loves me).

Maternity leave... it's been a blast!

I’ve loved every second. From the sleepless nights to the first smiles, Coen’s first steps to his constant screaming… But for now, it’s back to reality. The boys schedule is enough to make me want to hide in a dark room!! We have no idea how we are going to navigate this new way of living but all I do know is that we will manage. We always do. Because this is when the fun really begins.