Five awesome things about being on leave

[Warning: What follows may be TMI for some people. Sorry–pregnancy and parenthood are gross.]

I am in the middle of my third week of leave, and I am now prepared to name five awesome things about being home alone all day. Completely, blessedly alone.

1. Using my own toilet without an audience. One of the many things I did not anticipate about parenthood was that having a young child automatically forfeits your right to use the toilet in private. I generally have at least one small child in the room with me, critiquing my technique or passing judgement on various body parts. If I deign to close and, god forbid, lock the door, one of two things will happen: a child will bang on the door shouting, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!” until I relent and let the master manipulator in, or a child will crumple to the floor outside the door in inconsolable tears, leaving me feeling like the worst mom on the planet just for wanting to take a shit in private. My favorite, though, is when my little one, two years old, will open the door and ask me, “Do you want privacy?” When I respond yes, the following conversation ensues: “Mommy, you want privacy?” “Yes, please.” “Privacy on the potty?” “YES!” “I lock the door.” “Thank you!” Then he will move farther into the bathroom and shut and lock the door–from the inside. “There. Privacy.” Sigh. All of this is to say that the only time I get to use a toilet by myself is when I’m at work, and using a public restroom just isn’t the same as using your own. But now I’m on leave, and I can use the toilet, in my own home, as many times and for as long as I please without a child sitting in my lap or making comments about my genitalia. Absolute luxury.

2. Ugly-crying while watching Say Yes to the Dress and being able to blame it on pregnancy hormones. I find Say Yes to the Dress simultaneously ridiculous and fascinating. The overly dramatic editing and underscoring, the ridonculous budgets these women have for a dress, the tule, the lace, the beading… And oh, the drama! It is absolutely the definition of a guilty pleasure, and I spend equal time hate-watching it and love-watching it. I also spend the last fifteen minutes of each episode weeping into my ice cream. It’s just the hormones. Uh huh, yep. Hormones.

3. Passing huge amounts of gas with no judgement. I know, I know. TMI! But seriously, I have never been so gassy in my life! It’s mostly the burps–burps that put Homer Simpson to shame. It’s just another one of those glamorous aspects of pregnancy that no one really talks about. And when I’m at work or among polite company, I need to stifle those burps and hold in those farts in order to avoid humiliation and adhere to the standard social contract. At home, by myself, I can let ’em rip. And let me tell you, it feels soooo good. Sorry to be crass, y’all, but I have 9, maybe even 10 pounds of baby in my body right now, and there is not much room for anything else.

4. Glancing at my work email with absolutely no obligation to take action on any of it. I have 124 unread emails in my inbox right now, and I don’t have to answer any of them. To my dear coworkers, who are infinitely supportive and unendingly awesome, I say, “Bwahahaha! See ya in June, suckers!” Ahem. Sorry. But really, I love you guys, and I can only relax while on leave because I know my programs are in good hands. Please forgive me, but while I thought it might be stressful, watching and ignoring my inbox while it grows and grows is actually quite liberating.

5. Clothing is optional. My belly is now approximately 5X larger than anyone’s belly should ever be, and even my stretchiest pants and softest shirts are supremely uncomfortable after wearing them for just a little while. It feels so much better when there is nothing on my belly–the bump needs to breathe! I definitely cannot strip down to my skivvies at work (that damned social contract again), and I am not entirely comfortable walking around sans pants when the family is home. But when I’m by myself? So long, pants; it’s been nice knowing ya! Sports bra and panties, for the win!

Carrying twins is no joke, guys. I am supremely grateful for the time I’m getting to rest before I deliver. I am also supremely grateful for all of the support I am getting from friends and family. I couldn’t have made it this far without you!

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