January 12, 2009

How Long Does Maternity Leave Last With Your Friends?

I wonder, if I had a job outside of the house, how long maternity leave normally would be? Isn't it like a year in some countries?

I mean, Ivy will be four months this week and I keep using the excuse of having a new baby and "still trying to get my act together" quite frequently. I say it to my friends. Family. The Internets. The cashier at the grocery store last night.

When do the excuses expire?


And is there such thing as amnesty with friends? Because I could really use it right about now.


It's not even that any of my wonderful friends or readers like you are
telling me that I need to get it together already, but it's me wanting to be better and do more. Whether that is right or wrong or expected or not.

Remember when I used to be that awesome blogger that responded to everyone's emails and commented on everyone's blogs and so on and so on? That friend that was up for a night out pretty much anytime on no notice. That friend that actually liked to leave her house.

Where did she go?


And how much longer do I have until she has to come back?


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89 comments:

  1. For us it depended on whether those friends had kids or not.

    When our son was an infant we continued going to parties and out for dinner and just brought him along. He would sleep soundly in a sling and our social life continued.

    But once he was mobile and certainly once we added our daughter, our social life became more limited.

    However, now that they are both mobile and enjoy interacting with other kids, we find ourselves socializing more often with friends that have kids too. The kids happily play while the adults enjoy each other's company.

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  2. My theory is the more kids you have the longer the leave lasts. With my first and second it was only a few weeks, but with my fourth, well, he's three and I'm still catching up.

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  3. You mean there's an expiration date on excuses???

    sorry, same boat, same stream :)

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  4. Well, hopefully it is still a valid excuse at 6 months because I still use it....lol!

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  5. Popeye is 16 months and I'm just now making it back to commenting on blogs, so I think you're doing great!

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  6. I took six months, so I think you still have a few more months to get it together. And if it's not together by six months, just find someone who took off even longer.;) And for the record, I think you're doing great, so don't be so hard on yourself!

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  7. Though I am noticing that even though we have some great, long time friends that don't have kids or are even married, we are spending less and less time with them now with two kids. Picking up to go to a party with one baby it cool, but a baby and a potty training toddler? Party with childless friends doesn't sound as much fun as pizza and wii night at home...lol!

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  8. You have something much more important to take care of than emails! Don't worry and give yourself a break! If it's any help, you seem to post everyday, share a ton of pics of your beautiful family and give lots of helpful info! You even responded to one of my comments! I really enjoy your blog, so keep up the good work and don't let yourself be stressed!

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  9. Give yourself time, Jackson is 16 months old,and I just now feel like things are getting back to normal.

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  10. Uh, I think you've still got some time. It's not only the fact that you just had a baby four months ago, it's also the fact that you now have FOUR kids. Cut yourself some slack and enjoy where you are right now. :)

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  11. i think job wise it is usually 6 weeks but who cares about all that lol. I think the rule of thumb should be when the baby sleeps through the night uninterrupted. Cause until you can get a good nights sleep you cant be prepared to do much else!

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  12. My maternity leave lasts forever, lol. I so could have writtent his post, except I only have three kids. Last night, while OUT at dinner IN A RESTAURANT, my 2.5 yr old son puked all over the table, himself and then he started screaming (obviously). The couple we were with (they have two kids of their own but they are older and weren't with us), were AWESOME with all of the chaos that ensued. They even picked up the tab- we'll pay them back later. I have noticed that my circle of friends gets smaller with each child I have. We just don't have time except for the bestest of friends, and all of those people most definitely have multiple kids. Hang in there, Lisa

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  13. It seems to take me 6 mos to a year to get my "whatever" back. By that point, I'm ready to shop, party, go out alone...do whatever without kiddos... until that point, I'm a home body and friends just learn to accept the time I'm able to give! :)

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  14. Laws, time limits, expiration ... give yourself a break --- you are doing a great job at being mom and still blogging more than I do!!! I read somewhere that parenting was equal to having several full time jobs!

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  15. It's not that you just had a baby, it's that you just had your 4th baby. Adding the 4th is a whole new world and you can't just jump right back (or at least I can't).

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  16. In the job world, mine lasted 6 weeks at 60% pay. My last job would have been 12 weeks at 100% pay. My sister-in-law heads up endowment for a large food bank. She got no maternity. She used 2 weeks of vacation, took 2 weeks with no pay and went back to work when each of her 3 daughters were 4 weeks old. Working with kids is hard, but I think being home with them all the time is harder!

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  17. Aww, Steph. Allow yourself that time. I was a horrible commenter and missed many a playdate until, well, probably far, far past what others might have deemed acceptable. It was difficult for me for other reasons but, thankfully, those who really mattered understood what was going on in my life.

    Hang in. You're doing fine.

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  18. Oh I totally still use that excuse and my babe 9 months old. I really feel that moms should lose their post partum support just because it's been 3, 6, 8, 20 weeks, etc. Babies need just as much (or more) attention at 8 months as 8 weeks.

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  19. When I lived in France, one of my friends began her maternity leave shortly before her baby was due. She was allowed two full years, her job guaranteed back with a cost of living adjustment. In addition, during the first year she was entitled to half of her annual pay and the second year she was entitled to a quarter. I thought that was pretty cool. Every company in every country should operate like that!

    I wouldn't worry about "pulling things together" too much. First of all, I've not even had my baby and I haven't responded to your e-mail yet (eep). And second, you and your family NEED time. Enjoy it; these months will fly by! I know too many people who have been too worried about getting their groove back and they miss out on little things and then regret it later. Adjustment takes time and doing it right, the best you can for all parties involved, is all that anybody - family, friend or foe - can ask of you.

    You're doing a good job!

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  20. I think it takes AT LEAST 6 months to get back into the groove of things.

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  21. she will come back, i promise! it may be a slow process, but eventually you will become a new and different version of who you used to be. with the triplets, it took me well over a year. so i imagine with one 6 months - 1 year sounds about right!

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  22. ok...i totally lied. even now, i am still on leave and slowly reintegrating back into the world!

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  23. Here are my thoughts- you can't expect to go back to life the way it was before this baby just like you couldn't expect it to go back to how it was after the first baby. Just find your new routine and your new normal and let the rest go. (Not the sleep kind of rest. Get extra of that!)

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  24. I agree - she'll come back eventually. My baby is almost 9 1/2 months old and I'm still outta whack most of the time.

    If your friends are mothers, (which I'm sure most, if not all, are), then they'll understand completely and wait patiently for you :)

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  25. I'm in Canada. We get a full 50 weeks of maternity/parental leave which can be shared between the parents. I take the full year in our case. We get all of our benefits and are guaranteed a job when we return. I went back to work after my first, worked for 13 months and now I'm off again with my second.

    I lived in the States for a time and I noticed that they had a harder time breastfeeding or practicing attachment parenting because they often had to go back to work at 6 or 8 weeks. Which is ridiculous!

    I think it takes at least 6 months to get settled but I"m sure thankful for a year!

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  26. {grin} hopefully long enough! I feel the same way... hopefully we'll get our groove back soon!!

    britt

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  27. I think it depends on you, your kids and the weather. I found it so much easier to get up and go with my summer babies than the winter babies. Its so much more work to bundle everyone up, make sure the people are healthy, etc. And sometimes, it's just doing the best you can because now that's just the way things are.

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  28. I think it depends on you, your kids and the weather. I found it so much easier to get up and go with my summer babies than the winter babies. Its so much more work to bundle everyone up, make sure the people are healthy, etc. And sometimes, it's just doing the best you can because now that's just the way things are.

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  29. Um, my baby in turning 9 months this week and I'm STILL saying all of these things. Also, I still feel like I've been hit by a bus every morning, rather than rested and refreshed by my night's sleep. I'm still opting out of a lot, even things I really would normally like to do, on grounds of having a baby. In some ways I think that's how it's supposed to be though--nature's way of making you take the year off from things that won't matter when that baby is no longer a baby.

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  30. I once was an awesome blogger who responded to every e-mail and comment...now I barely keep afloat in that area although I try so hard to do so.

    And you didn't just have a baby---you had your 4th baby! And you wear her. :-) And you work...

    I'd give you at least a year. :-)

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  31. I feel the same way. Sometimes I'm dying to get out of the house. Sometimes I'd rather hibernate. My daughter is 4 months. I went back to work when she was 3 months. It seems to get harder every day instead of easier.

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  32. I think with the fourth that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to get things all figured out again. And then feel up to doing those on the fly type things. This is just a season!

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  33. Doesn't it seem like the more children you have the longer you should have to return to "normal"?? I too have used baby #3 as my excuse for just about everything since he was born. However, it has now been 10 weeks and I am not sure people are buying it anymore.

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  34. you've been a bit busy....take it slow "enjopy those babies and the Leave"! I saw you on Shannons blog and left this comment-

    "It's OK Steph we're right there with you...
    we have our conspiracy theories about CPSIA as well, call us crazy..or not-"
    xoxo Donna

    Blessed Nest

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  35. i think the fact that you're thinking about it means you're on the road to normalcy :-)

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  36. standard around these parts -- 12 weeks :) which is ridiculous! but thankfully the company I work for, even though they wanted me to come back week 12, worked with me and I only go in the office 2 days a week (no expiration there!)

    as for you, you take as long as you need and enjoy every minute of it!

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  37. Cut yourself some slack, Steph! My daughter is 19 months old, and I still feel like you describe a lot of the time. Fortunately, my closest friends are very understanding, and all of us have had our turn being MIA for a while for one reason or another. I think these are the kinds of events that true friendship can weather!

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  38. You have another 16 years...until Ivy starts driving! Then you might have time for a bit more of a life!

    I wouldn't worry about it. I think there is plenty of time for the other stuff in life. Your kids are what is most important anyway. The other stuff is gravy!

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  39. Aww... you're still there! Everyone understands the baby haze. I am just starting to get out from under the oppressive clutches of Jasper and his sleeplessness and he's 17 months! I'm hoping to still have a life of my own one of these days.

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  40. I went back to work at 9 weeks, but I was still a slug in every other respect for almost 3 years. Every mom is different and every family is different. You do the essentials and everything else is a bonus. Don't beat yourself up because you think you are a bad friend. Your kids and fam come first. If the world doesn't get it, it's not your fault. You are doing the best you can do.

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  41. I AGREE WITH MOST 6 MONTHS! AT LEAST MY DAUGHTER IS NOW SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT AND OUR SLEEP IS BETTER TOO! THAT'S FOR SOCIAL LIFE! I WENT BACK TO WORK FT AT 2 WEEKS BOY WAS THAT CRAZY!
    I STUMBLED ON YOUR BLOG AND LOVE IT!

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  42. awe, it is so understandable, I think that the first year is always the most draining...hang in there, you will be back to yourself in your own time (or Ivy's)

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  43. I'm right there with you my friend. It's such an adjustment, having a new baby and juggling life with the others. Let's resolve to be gentle with ourselves and be ok if we can't do everything we did before, ok? ok ;)

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  44. you are right where you're supposed to be. and those that love you know that. that's the wonderful thing about love...it meets you right where you are.
    you'll know when you're ready!

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  45. There's no one but you tap, tap, tapping their foot for you to hurry up. Stop tapping. Be happily doing what you're doing.

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  46. My kid is seven and I'm still using it! : )

    Great being on the phone today with you! Lots of fun, and our tweets were a riot too.

    See you at BlogHer right!?

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  47. Yeah. I only read you because you commented back, you know. THAT'S it. Not because I like you.

    Nope. Not at all.

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  48. I hear ya. I am still using the new baby as the excuse fr my ouse to be a mess or to not be on time too. And Baby Sister is four months old.
    As fr how long the excuse lasts. Pretty much anyone who has kids (and is not miss perfect) will let you use taht excuse as long as you need to. You wll hear no objections from me. :)

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  49. I, too, am in the same situation! I think the more you have, the longer it takes. And, it may not ever be the same grove you were in before - but it's worth it, isn't it?

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  50. Mine is 16 months old and I'm still wondering when the leave will end... but now #2 will be here by the end of June so I think it will be awhile yet!

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  51. Please let me know when you find out because I am in the same boat.

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  52. I remember when I was going through my first lamaze/baby prep classes. The teacher said having a baby is like a new job and most new jobs put you on probation for 6 months to a year. Then they see how you've been doing. Same with mommy-ing.

    Good Luck

    Jenn

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  53. Steph, you deserve a looooong maternity leave. I think you've left enough comments to last you a few years. :)

    Seriously, I think friends care most that you are happy and enjoying your new baby. You don't need to worry about 'being' a good friend. You are a good friend without 'doing' anything.

    Enjoy Ivy and don't put a timer on it.

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  54. Oh my goodness, Steph. I was so RELIEVED when you didn't continue to respond to every single one of my comments with an email. And I daresay anyone else who is really your friend felt the same way.

    PS, you are forbidden to respond to this comment with an email;)

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  55. As long as you need it to girl....

    I did go back to "a real job" after my first was born and I had 3 months off before going back. And in this country, that is a LONG time. It's a travesty.

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  56. I am SO glad I'm not the only one suffering from this! I feel like a terrible friend, but it's overwhelming!

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  57. Shoot! I'm still on the same "friend" maternity leave that began right after Wog was born (2 1/2 years ago)!

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  58. I'm probably repeating people, but I think 4 months isn't long at all. She was JUST born, right? Life is so full and so fast, four months is actually more like 1. In my humble opinion.

    And the responding to comments and visiting blogs thing? If you did that consistently, you would be left with very little time to live your life with you fam. Then what would you have to blog about? :)

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  59. Quite frankly, I'm not sure it never goes away. I have a one year old and I still feel like I'm running around like a chicken without a head.

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  60. With each additional child it gets a little tougher to find that balance and to try to find the woman you used to be under all those nursing pads. It happens, but she's changed a lot, and in good way. If you have friends that cannot hang with the you that has more responsibility than you can sometimes deal with, they were not the kind that were going to make it through the hard times anyways. Don't mean to sound downer about it, but the friends and loved ones that are truest to you know that you're doing the best you can and love you for wanting to do more, but sure has heck don't expect it of you.

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  61. Mobility happens when it feels right and you are both comfortable with it... I think just change your excuses: No one can argue with a mom who claims "four young kids" as an excuse not to do something!!! Really you have earned the right to a little slack.

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  62. Oh please. We read you because we like to see what you have to say. Not just because you comment at our blogs or email us. Give yourself a break!

    This pregnancy has me down for the count. This is one of the first times I've been visiting people in a while and I can only do it for a few minutes at a time. I know what you mean about the guilt, but really blogging shouldn't be that way. :)

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  63. Steph, my daughter is 7 months old and I still don't feel like I'm back to my previously chipper energetic self. Here in Ontario, maternity leave is a year, although I'm not going back to "work" so mine's unlimited :) I'm hoping that someday I'll feel like myself again. Don't be so hard on yourself, sista! A four month old is a LOT of work ... I think with my baby, around four months was when I started to feel a bit more normal.

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  64. Um . . . kindergarten??

    :) And you'll feel up to it when you feel up to it. Life with four is a circus so I'm sure they'll understand and if not, may they have four of their own to get a peek at your life.

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  65. It's my opinion that we sort of become a new person with each new addition to the family. :)
    We may cut back or end certain things in our lives, but we're also adding in others.
    Priorities change.
    If they didn't, I'd be concerned.

    It's nice getting comments from you on my blog, etc, but you have 4 kids, a family, house, etc. You won't go back to being the mom of 3, kwim?

    I do think you'll feel more normal in your new role, soon.
    I just feel that major life changes (such as having a 4th kid, let alone your first daughter;) always change us.

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  66. Maybe you're feeling this way because Ivy might be your last? I think I would feel that way if I thought maybe my DH and I were done having little ones.

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  67. uh, it's almost been a year here, and i'm still in the fog. you need no amnesty-you're just making ends meet right now. who cares when you get it together? you will, eventually!

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  68. I agree with the commenter who said the time lengthens exponentially with each child. Teyla just turned one, and I'm still not back in the groove. I hardly ever talk on the phone anymore, and I feel like I'm always struggling to balance the blog with my real life.

    But good friends understand. That's the wonderful thing about them.

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  69. You definitely have at least a year. :)

    True friends will understand...and will wait.

    Family comes first. That's my mantra.

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  70. 4 kids = 4 years leave. Seriously. I think that should be the standard. Just don't forget to email me though. I might take it the wrong way :)

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  71. hmmm, i asked my hubby the other day how long i can continue to refer to my "postpartum tummy"... harper is 20 months old now!! he is so sweet and his response was "just as long as you want to"

    so that is my answer to you... just as long as you want to, steph :) we all understand!!

    xo,
    erika

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  72. Are you kidding? you have grace for at least six months with FOUR kids!!
    Your good friends will forgive you anyway...and understand.

    In canada it is typical to have a year of maternity. My husband gets 9 months at 93% of his salary. yay government job.

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  73. Oh...I forgot to say, that I have been TERRIBLE on my blog comments. I've been lurking and because of it have lost a TON of readers.
    and I have not even had a baby!!

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  74. You just do the best you can!! And you do! :)

    On one of the mommy boards I'm on a lady in Canada just received word that she will get an additional year of Maternity leave. On top of the one year Mat. leave already. So she doesn't have to go back to work until her son is two.

    I think that is incredible. Two years! I had 5 short (short) weeks.

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  75. Honestly steph, i think its great that you spend time focusing on your family though. So often I get caught up in OTHER things that i need to step back like you are. Now i do think there is something that is too much, like you should go out and be with your friends or ...they stop calling. I mean, i have none. You cant get me to go anywhere or do anyting if it doesnt involved a computer anymore.

    So my advice is to atleast pick one day a week to get out the house, like a lunch date.

    trisha
    momdot

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  76. Ha! Too funny :) If you are nursing you won't be back to normal till she is a year... unless you wean earlier. if your aren't nursing then you'll become human again after she consistently sleeps through the night.
    http://elislids.blogspot.com/

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  77. Well, if you're anything like me and babies, it takes me a good year to get my act together. My daughter is almost 2 and I still rarely get out of my pj's...but I'm also pregnant again so I get to drag this out for at least another year.

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  78. My kids are 8,8, and 10 and I still don't have it together.

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  79. I think one day it'll just click. I can't remember when it happened to me, but I just woke up one morning and everything worked.

    P.S. I found you through MomDot.com

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  80. It will come back :) My youngest and fourth child is almost 3 1/2, and I am enjoying going out again, with friends... at NIGHT ! Imagine!

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  81. Girl. You are being too hard on yourself. Having a baby in the house is hugely time consuming. But you know what else? That blogger you remember? She didn't have NEARLY the amount of stuff on her plate that you have now. You not only have this blog. You write for like what, 3 others? AND you are managing editor for 5M4P. Opportunities for phone interviews and events and product reviews are vying for your time and attention. And your readership has grown. And the other bloggers and social media mavens are growing. Trying to keep up is like trying to fill a bathtub without the drain plug.

    That's how I feel, anyway. I apologize I haven't been by to visit in a while. But I'm in the same boat. except without the baby excuse. Use it as long as you can! It certainly doesn't expire after 4 months. You get at LEAST 12. :-) Says me. :-)

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  82. Is 12 years too long? Because that's how long its been for me... ;)

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  83. cut yourself some slack, mama. i was always in awe by your ability to email and comment. while it's certainly nice, i don't think anyone expects that of you and certainly not on every post. take care of yourself and your family. we'll all still be here checking in on your regardless of if you email back or comment on our blogs. :) hugs.

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  84. If you can believe it I was just talking about this with a good friend of mine today. My daughter will be 17 months tomorrow and her daughter is almost 16 months, we both have ugggh pregnancy's where we fall behind. Both of us agreed that we are just now starting to get it back together again! Starting to feel like we are not 2 years behind on stuff!

    On the other hand, I love the last 17 months and the 9 sick ones before that. I wouldn't give them back for anything. So just enjoy what you can, don't rush it before we know it our baby girls will be graduating high school!

    Hugs,
    Heidi

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  85. My maternity leave will start on Monday (the 19th) and already I am thinking of whether those 6 weeks would be enough for me to spend time with my coming baby... Sometimes I envy SAHMs but then when I think about it, we wouldn't be able to afford the cost of living with just hubby working these days so...

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  86. I firmly believe that true friends don't need to be maintenanced on a daily basis. Life is busy, which is a fact of life, and for the most part, people understand that. If they don't, then they (for me), are too "toxic" meaning that they are too draining of my emotions. Children are only young for so long and now is the time that you want and need to spend all of your energies on them because before long, they will strive for that independence which will end up giving you more time. Just look at how much you share yourself with all of us and I know that you are there for someone in a heartbeat when it is needed. Whether it be in a comforting word by email, on your blog, on the phone or in person, you make the time for that.

    So take all the time in the world to do the things that you want to do with your precious family and for your personal growth. Everyone understands and if they don't, you don't need them.

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  87. I think you should give yourself 6-12 months to "get your act together."
    I mean, so much goes on in a baby's life the first year... sleep deprivation, growth spurts, new developmental levels, your homones are all wacky... Just when you start to get a handle on things, everything changes again. So ideally it's a gradual process. You can't expect to hit x months and instantly have everything back to "normal" right?
    And I'm guessing that with each new addition to your family, more of your time is going to be directed to tasks at home.

    Four kids is more than a FULL time job woman. :) No excuses needed.

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  88. We're past 21 months, and I still use those excuses. Though people are starting to find it old, especially when some of them have two babes that are both younger than my one.

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