I received 77 days of maternity leave from the French government. Since I am an auto-entrepreneur (similar to a sole proprietor in the USA), I am on the honor system that I don’t work while on maternity leave. The purpose of providing women who run businesses with maternity leave is so that they take time off to care for their newborns (read more about maternity leave for auto-entrepreneurs). I am very thankful for this opportunity.
While on maternity leave, my husband and I took our daughter to Florida to introduce her to my side of the family. We enjoyed 3 weeks of sunny bliss. I was also able to quickly change my visa to a spouse visa.
I returned to France a couple weeks ago and am trying to figure out how I will balance work with motherhood in France. My husband and I both work a home, but since he has clients in two time zones it is hard to create a schedule with him for helping out with Juliana. I would love that he would take her for a few hours while I write in the morning, but he cannot guarantee me this time since clients may be contacting him.
Juliana is 9 weeks old and is becoming more alert each day. Before we left, if she was not sleeping or nursing, she had to be in my arms. She would not allow me to set her down while she was awake. Now, she is starting to enjoy her swing and I bought her a little bouncy while in the USA. Between these two devices, I may have just gained an hour of time where she may let me work. That is, until she gets bored of them.
My skills typing one-handed are improving, as is my ability to do housework with a baby attached to me. Since she sleeps about 6 to 8 hours each night, she tends to be awake all day. She will nap once in a while for less than 30 minutes each time, which does not give me much time to get anything accomplished. Writing my word of the day emails used to take 10 minutes each, and now they take me about 3 hours.
It’s challenging to work while breastfeeding because she needs to nurse every few hours, and is something my husband can’t help do. My mother bought me a couple bottles while in Florida, so I will try pumping and letting my husband feed her while I catch up on some “me” time. We experimented with the bottles a couple days ago and she would not take it. So it may take some time before she learns how to use those.
He is going to watch over her for 3 hours each morning while I write and then one hour in the afternoon so I can exercise. We were not able to do this before because she always needed me for nursing during this time, and then he would start getting too busy with work. Once in a while he may have to switch to the afternoon or evening, or break up his time to watch her. But at least it’s a start.
Trying to juggle housework, time with my newborn, exercising and working is more difficult than I had expected. I just hope as she grows, so will my ability to be able to do it all.