1. Penny! Articles like this are why I read your blog. Hustle culture is impossible. And doing little things like being fully present with your children is almost like an act of revolution (but so good for everyone involved). Congratulations on letting your work computer battery die. I’m proud of you!

  2. I had big plans for my first maternity leave. None of those things happened.
    Then for some reason I thought I’d get stuff done during my second maternity leave. Of course I didn’t!
    Our limited leave time should be about recovery from childbirth/surgery and bonding with your baby, not building a business or getting to some epic goal.
    I hope your leave is extremely snuggly and relaxing!

  3. We have been putting too much focus on creating side hustles. Whatever happen to taking the time to rest and relax? Life isn’t just about money.

  4. I absolutely bought into that nonsense with my first maternity leave and I felt like garbage for failing to start the business that would free me from my 9-5. Going into my second leave I refused to try, because hello pandemic pregnancy and just survival, but also because it just plain didn’t make sense. I planned for the money part and then I completely disconnected. I won’t say I didn’t wish I hadn’t succeeded in creating a new life for us in which I didn’t have to go back to the job but I had already created a new tiny infant life so that’s going to be good enough for a while.

    “Geriatric” mothers enjoying their second children FTW!

  5. I love the brutal honesty and vulnerability of this post! I wish our society place a greater emphasis on the family unit than it did on side hustles and making money.

    Congratulations! Enjoy that time with your little ones and making family memories that you wouldn’t be able to make if your were always hustling. And don’t feel bad giving people the stink-eye if they ask how your “vacation” was when you get back to work… I didn’t.

  6. Congratulations again and thank you for this post. Mrs. Done by Forty and I have been talking about a lot of these issues: about how she’s one of the lucky ones to get 12 weeks of maternity leave, and we’re supposed to feel so grateful for it. But then we see what almost every other country in the world does, and there’s that perspective.

    “And then there’s the most American antidote I can think of. Rather than identify a problem and fix it, we just hustle through it. By necessity and also by way of this hustle porn that seeps into every crevice of society.

    Imagine how different maternity (and paternity!) leaves would go if our society encouraged people to rest like a mother, instead of hustling like one.”

    YES. Yes.

  7. Yes yes yes! Your post resonated so much with me! I have a baby and a toddler as well and after 8 months of maternity leave, I’m slowly starting to think about going back to work (part-time). I deliberately made no plans for my leave and I am glad I didn’t.
    Looking after a baby and a toddler is so much more work than just looking after a newborn (although the first time around you learn how babies work, so it’s not easier, just different). I allowed myself to rest, go for long walks, sit in the sun, cuddle, leave the house messy, and just enjoy this precious time. I also feel that the hustle culture is taking over and it’s not a good thing.
    One of my colleagues had their baby in February and was back at work full-time by April (I’m in Australia, so this is quite uncommon). I met her at a birthday party the other week and she looked at me like I’m a lazy slob.
    A lot of traditional cultures look after mothers a lot better than we do in the western world, allow them to rest and slowly transition back to the real world. It took me a good 6 months to properly recover from giving birth the second time and I’m so glad I was able to take the time off without hustling or even thinking about work. I’ve created deep bonds with both my kids and that’s all that counts.

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