And just like that it was over

Maternity leave is officially over for me as I had my first day back at work today.  Well I say day, but I’m now working part-time so it was a little more than half a day actually. I have had so many mixed feelings about my return to work and the worst day was actually yesterday as I realised it was the last day I would have my little boy all to myself. I started getting the dread in my stomach and wondering if going back to work – even part-time – was somehow bad for the baby. I started wondering if I would make it to work on time after dropping the baby off and would I turn up at work looking like a mess?  Well none of that bad stuff happened, at least today.  I’m sure it will on many times in the future, but today I got myself together and got baby N dropped off on time so that’s a good start.

The nights are long, but the years are short. This is a popular saying that a friend told me earlier on when the nights felt ENDLESS.  I now know what she means. I feel fortunate to have had these 6+ months with my small guy, but I also know that in plenty of other countries maternity leave is much longer and I will confess I feel very envious of this.

Where I live the maternity leave is four months and so I took a combination of annual leave and unpaid leave to top me up to a total of seven months off work.  And you know what, it was the best decision I’ve made.  Obviously I would be happy to have had 12 months or more with him, but given my situation it was a treat to have that extra time with him.  At four months I was definitely NOT ready to go back to work and neither was he ready to be apart from me.

I’ve been working on getting him ready for the change for the past two months by taking him to his grandparents place where he is looked after by someone who is kind of his nanny.  Apart from this giving me some much appreciated time to myself to go to the gym, have my hair done or do the grocery shopping child-free, it actually made today a whole lot easier.  Rather than it being A Thing to drop the baby off, it was totally normal for him which meant I felt more relaxed too.  I know when I leave him that he’s happy and being well cared for and that is very, very important!!

So off I went to work today and not knowing if I was going to have a good time or not.  But I DID have a good time and it WAS good to be back with my colleagues.  It certainly helps that I work with really nice people who value my contribution at work, but also I like my job.  I think if I was missing any of those elements then today would have been so depressing and awful! My colleagues also gave me a little gift of some beautiful teas, some biscuits and a calendar with cats.  I felt really special.

I was somewhat irritated that my colleague stole my desk chair (it was new) and thought I wouldn’t notice.  OF COURSE I NOTICED!  Let’s just say that it is now back in my possession…

At the end of my (short) working day it was such a thrill to leave the office and go and collect baby N.  When I saw him he had just woken up from a nice long nap and he had the biggest smile ever for me which was beautiful.

If I could have more time at home with him would I?  Yes, absolutely.  But given my options I think today, my first day back at work was about as perfect as you could hope for.

Now to just get baby N to sleep a bit better tonight so I can catch up on some well needed beauty sleep!!

 

 

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17 thoughts on “And just like that it was over

  1. Blimey that has flown by; hope today was okay and thinking of you. I remember going back after my first and its was gut wrenching so well done!! Sorry I have commented on your posts recently but always read them; struggling with time to even write my own blogs ha ha. xx

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    1. Awww thank you. Yeah it was all ok and I feel good about getting stuck into what needs doing.
      I’ve honestly no idea how folks with multiple kids do anything at all. There’s never time for anything these days. xx

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  2. I feel anxious just thinking about how you must have felt the day before… it’s sad to think they are growing up enough that they can be left without their Mum and life is getting back to how it was before. So weird.

    Sounds like you had a solid return to work plan, that makes it somewhat easier. How many days are you back at work?

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    1. It hasn’t been as bad as I expected. Actually I think it makes me focus a bit more on the hours we are together.

      I’m working 4 days per week from 9am-2pm but the reality is that I’m still watching emails in the afternoon when I’m not being paid. I guess that’s my choice but they’re definitely getting good value from me!

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  3. Glad to hear your first day back went well! So are you just working mornings every day, or do you have one day off? I’m planning on staying home for around 7 months here and then my husband would take over and I’d work part time like 20 hours a week. It’s hard to imagine now how I would find it and whether that’s too little time but I worry if I stay away from work for too long it would be even harder to remember anything and get back into it! Hope you manage the work life balance well and that the little guy sleeps better x

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    1. I’m working Mon-Thurs 9am-2pm but also I’m watching my emails in the afternoon. No one asked me to but I find it helps me stay on top of things and calmer.
      I think it’s hard whenever you choose to go back but I took 7 months and I have not found it as hard as I thought. It depends on you and your baby so try not to think about it for now. You’ll have enough to worry about when the baby comes so put this to the back of your mind for now!!
      If it makes you feel better, being at work for a few hours is actually a bit of a treat as I can sit down and have a cup of tea in peace. Hahahaha!
      Hope you’re doing great. I’ve been following your posts. My tip is to go to the cinema A LOT during this period as you won’t get to go again for a while. Ditto shopping and watching TV. Enjoy all aspects of me time. And clean the fridge!!

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  4. I turned back to working 2 weeks ago my baby boy being 6 months. We also changed locations work related. So I’m experiencing new city, new colleagues… Well, I’m still eating myself with thoughts considering if I should take unpaid leave to remain with my baby at least he’s 12 months. This year I’m also working half day and only 4 week days. What’s more interesting, I hadn’t thought it’d feel easy. Working half day is refresher for me. I was a mombie (!) this 6 months considering I live far from my parents. It’s just a dilemma of being with baby 7/24 till he’s 1 or working half day. I mean it’s good but I’ve found myself feeling guilty about “feeling good about working again”. Does it make sense? Perhaps, I’ll get tired and be restless if I stay and look after my baby fully 1 year but years later what if we regret this situation 💭

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    1. It totally makes sense. I also have a feeling of relief when I’m at work as it’s a little break from the relentless parenting. If your baby is happy and well cared for then you are doing an awesome job! We all have to find the balance that works for us. I think 12 months at home would also have been nice for me but I would have started to go a bit crazy in that time. Hahaha! There’s no shame in doing some work, in fact you could argue you’re doing it for him so you can have a salary coming in to give him all the things he needs. Stay strong, mamma!! You’re doing great!! xx

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      1. I had thought my new work place wouldn’t provide me such a great schedule but a colleague who happens to have 5 months old baby told me “why don’t you give it a try before giving documents for unpaid leave? Maybe you’ll feel better and like it.” Now I’m less drained for my baby and I come home driving like speedy Gonzales 🙈 and I’m more energetic. Just like yours, my baby welcomes me with the biggest grin but as much as it makes me happy, it also saddens me blaming myself “I made him deprived of myself and that’s why he’s happy to see me. Poor thing is bowing down to what I’m offering to him. On another level we had made our financial arrangements regarding my 6 months unpaid leave but of course now my sudden decision to work half day provides my salary back meaning more shopping!!! Do you feel guilty for not looking after your baby for 1 year?

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      2. I don’t know if I feel guilty but I feel torn. I want to give him the best (don’t we all?) but at the same time have some balance. I think I might be a better mum for working a few hours a day as it means when I am with him I am more focused. I don’t think you should read too much into the smile you get on arrival. I think babies just love to be loved. xx

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  5. It goes fast, doesn’t it… but the best thing with being a part from each other, is getting together again after a few hours and the time together is so much more valuable I feel, since I started working.

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