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9 Ways to Respond When Co-Workers Call Your Maternity Leave “Vacation”

maternityleaveAre you a mom who took maternity leave? It was the best vacation ever, right? Didn’t you just laze the days away on your unstained sofa, snuggled up with a good book and a glass of Cabernet while your precious one slept peacefully all night and day long? Didn’t you emerge from your two or six or 12 weeks — 12! You slacker! — feeling relaxed and refreshed, and not, say, like a leaky-boobed sleepless zombie prone to intermittent crying fits and painful flashbacks to the time someone sewed her genitals back together after they expelled an entire human being?

Excuse me, where was I? Oh yes, vacation! Maternity leave is an amazing vacation … tell your friends!

I’ll give you a minute to punch your computer screen now.

So … back to reality: Believe or not, some folks really do buy into the idea that maternity leave is some blissful, easy sabbatical for us pesky procreators. Take it from working moms who have endured snide “vacation” jabs from colleagues and faced superiors who insisted on heaping holiday shifts on them simply because they’d already been “off” for a few weeks — this despite the fact that, too often, their so-called vacation is largely or totally unpaid.

But please, take heart, newly-minted working moms. Since humor is a great way to diffuse any uncomfortable situation, I’ve consulted some of the funniest mom bloggers on the planet to help you honestly (and graphically!) respond to misguided coworkers. Here are their helpful suggestions:

“I did just spend 12 weeks in a total stupor, so yes, just like vacation, but with more stitches in my vagina.” — Brenna Jennings, Suburban Snapshots

“The best part of vacation was when I was writhing in pain from hemorrhoids from spending two hours pushing another human out of my body. I mean if that’s not relaxing … I don’t know what is.” — Harmony Hobbs, Modern Mommy Madness

“If by vacation you mean being sawed in half, stapled back together, and asked to fart in front of strangers, then YES. I had a fan-friggin-tastic vacation. Oh! And here’s your souvenir: a pair of mesh undies with a built-in ice pack. You’re welcome.” — Stephanie Jankowski, When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

“I brought a souvenir for everyone. It’s dried placenta. I’ve got vacation pictures of my episiotomy in the break room. You should check them out.” — Jen Mann, People I Want to Punch In the Throat

“I was scared to poop, couldn’t get laid, and had to ice my lady bits. If that was a vacation I need a new travel agent.” — Toni Hammer, Is It Bedtime Yet?

“Because every vacation should start out with a sore vagina and the inability to sit down. I also love to wake up every two to three hours and let someone suckle at my sore nipples while on vacation.” — Jennifer Weeden Palazzo, Mom Cave TV

“It was a total blast! I got a full 40 minutes of rest and got to talk to some really nice circus performers I had contacted about selling my baby into their troupe in a moment of desperation. I am already stocking up on those sweet hospital mesh panties for my next go around. Now, you’ll excuse me — I have to go pick up my husband from his therapy appointment. He still has a touch of PTSD after seeing all the blood loss, but we have strong hopes for a full recovery!”  — Meredith Spidel, The Mom of the Year

“You’re right, I’m being inconsiderate. I’ll come back to work right away. You’ll just have to order some extra items from office supplies, like goggles and screen protectors, so the milk showers from my leaky nipples don’t affect productivity. I’ll also need some extra assistants to help with things like applying my hemorrhoid cream and assembling my vaginal soothing pads, but you guys are team players, right? Also, I’m a bit hormonal, so you might want to purchase some helmets for yourselves, and hide the staplers. Now, where’s that cabana boy with my piña colada??” — Alessandra Macaluso, Punkwife.com

Prefer a response that focuses less on your nether region? Try comparing childbirth to other major medical situations. Jenna Karvunidis of High Gloss and Sauce recommends the succinct but effective, “Did you tell that to Jim in accounting when he came back to work after heart surgery?”

My blogger friends largely focused on the aftermath of and recovery from labor … which is not surprising because nothing says “I’m in desperate need of leave” than phrases such as “had to ice my lady bits.” But beyond the physical aspects of having a baby, there are countless sleepless nights, constant diaper changes and feeding traumas associated with newborn care that exhaust moms and dads, biological and adoptive parents alike. Such conditions, too, don’t exactly make for a relaxing “vacation” for whichever parent manages to take leave.

Got your own great idea for a comeback that helps clueless co-workers understand that maternity (or paternity) leave really isn’t a vacation? Let me know in the comments section below!

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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