This piece was originally a post on the author's Facebook. She wrote it on her last day of maternity leave.
Here's why maternity leave is NOT a vacation.
1. You're recovering from major surgery when you give birth via Cesarean. I don't think I need to describe what exactly is done to a woman's body during a C-section procedure.
2. Husbands only get seven calendar days of paternity leave (yes, calendar, so weekends and holidays are counted). Oh, and those seven days include three to four days in the hospital where nurses are around to help. We need help back home!
3. What merienda break, lunch break, or pee break? You get your time out only when your newborn allows it. If she cries for you not to pee, then dang it, hold it in!
8. Applying conditioner after shampooing in silence feels like going to a spa.
9. You're always so hungry, but you learn speed eating. When you're lucky enough to have time for a decent meal, you're like one of those contestants on Survivor that just won a food reward challenge.
10. You get this dilemma when you're alone: there's a crying baby who wants to feed and a barking dog who needs to pee. And the whole time the McDonald's delivery guy is ringing the doorbell. And all you want is your fries, which becomes super soggy already by the time you get to eat them.
11. You had a fabulous time shopping during your maternity leave, thanks to Lazada, Babymama.ph, Elin.ph, and a bunch of Instagram sellers you never knew existed until you Googled "diaper bag philippines" or "lactation cookies manila."
12. You've got the dirty diapers. But you celebrate or let out a sigh of relief when you see the "correct" color and consistency of her poop.
13. There is all that crying, especially the first few weeks (and we're not just talking about the baby).
14. You're constantly worried if you're feeding your baby enough. And, of course, you're already constantly worrying if she'll be fed enough when you get back to work.
15. You watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix on your phone with the subtitles on even if you can perfectly understand English. Why? Because you want to understand what you're watching over the crying. And, of course, you get one episode stretching to three to four hours because of your tiny Boss. Then you want to cry, too, because you realize you're a parent already and you empathize with the moms in the TV series.
16. My eyebrows, which I used to pluck daily, became so unruly that it took more than 30 minutes to groom them the first time I plucked them after giving birth.
17. And let's not even get into my toe nails.
18. When your baby doesn't stop crying, she turns to the highest-rated brand of pacifiers (or so they think): Mommy.
19. On rare moments of peace and quiet, creeping at the back of your mind is the knowledge that you've already got over a thousand unread emails (just checked it, and, true story, it's literally over 1,000).
20. You are well aware that most of the above are still applicable even when your maternity leave ends.
Mom to a 2-month-old daughter, Chrissy Icamina-Dalusong has yet to get used to the label "mom." The Literature major and university paper editor-in-chief from Ateneo de Manila was with Summit Media for 10 years before shifting to the corporate scene. She is now the digital head of a multinational electronics company.