5 Feb 2015

Returning to work


I’ve got just under four weeks of maternity leave left before I have to return to work after eight months off. And knowing that these few weeks are going to fly by, and seeing the clock tick relentlessly, counting down the hours and minutes of my precious time with my baby son, is making my heart very heavy indeed.

As editor of a magazine, I work full time – it’s both a financial consideration, as well as a practical one. My job is quite demanding and time consuming, and I just wouldn’t be able to do it in less than five days. I frequently do a lot of overtime and at times the job can be all consuming, aside from the fact that I have lots of plans and ambitions for the development of the magazine, so reducing my hours would be false economy, and more stressful than it’s worth.

I have always been ok with being a working Mum, and working full time - and I still am. I’ve never felt guilty, as I know that I am supporting my family financially, and that without it we wouldn’t be able to afford the things we do. I also feel that I am setting a good example for my kids in teaching them that you have to work hard for your goals and hopefully instil a strong work ethic. But more than anything, I don’t feel guilty that I work, because I love my job, it defines me as much as motherhood does, and I am a much happier person because I have balance and both aspects in my life. That’s not to say that I don’t respect SAHMs – in fact, hat off to you, as it’s the hardest job in the world, and I know I am just not cut out for it. I wouldn’t enjoy it, and then my kids wouldn’t enjoy it and our time together, and that would be rubbish for all of us.

So whilst I’m totally at peace with the concept of returning to work, I just can’t believe that it’s already come round so quickly. Emotionally, I’m just not ready. My baby is still so small, after all, and truth be told, I’ve had such a wonderful time during this maternity leave, that everything inside me wants to cling on to it for a little while longer.

From coming home with my little bundle and being more or less cocooned up in our house and village for the first six weeks (because I wasn’t allowed to drive due to having had a c-section), through getting to know each other, snuggling up - just me and him - to going off on little trips and making great mummy friends - I will miss this special one on one time with my little dude and I am so sad that I will never ever be able to spend this much time with him again.

This is so different to my first maternity leave with Becky. Back then, I found maternity leave isolating, boring and lonely, and because I felt so out of depth as a mother, I longed for the “safety net” of my office, the banter with my colleagues and the comfort of knowing that I was good at my job and that I knew what I was doing there (as opposed to in motherhood).

Of course it wasn’t all bad. Becky and I eventually got the hang of it and I stayed off with Becky for ten months altogether, because even though I didn’t love being at home with a baby, I was still acutely aware of how precious that time is and I felt I kind of owed it to Becky to give her that one on one time with her mummy. And I’m glad I did, no regrets there, as it facilitated the strong bond we now have.

But this time round, everything was just easier, and hence I was actually able to enjoy it more, soak it all up and experience it properly. Rather than being shell shocked by the drastic change in our life as first time parents and our rough start due to a traumatic birth, colic, feeding problems and a spell of post natal depression, second time motherhood has been so much easier and therefore enjoyable straight away. Our life was already geared up to kids, and Alex slotted in perfectly.

And whilst my love for both kids is equal, all-consuming and eternal, I am simply in a different place as a mother. More confident, more experienced and more relaxed, which has allowed me to make the most of the last few months. The fact that Alex is our last (planned) child has probably also played a part in this, and I’m experiencing everything just that little bit more consciously than maybe the first time round.

So handing Alex over to nursery, even though it’s a brilliant place where Becky has already been going for the last couple of years, will be really really hard. And I already dread the times when I have to travel for work and stay away for several days, as I frequently have to. My mind knows it’s part of my job, part of life, but my heart and gut are telling a very different story.  

But even though inside I want to cry, I will not let that spoil my last few weeks with Alex, my little side-kick, and I will enjoy the time that we have left. And then, when the day comes to drop him off at nursery and fire up my computer in my office again, I will try to take strength from the time we had together and be grateful that I was able to be off with him for the time I have  (*whilst quietly sobbing into my coffee, no doubt*). I know that all good things must come to an end, and that eventually I will be ok – we all will. But right now, I just don’t want to think about it anymore. I want to take my little munchkin and squeeze him tight and not let go.
 
This is a linkie with "Brilliant Blogposts" over on lovely Honest Mum's Blog. Check it out here
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2 comments

  1. My problem when I only had a few weeks left of maternity was to be a bit grumpy - you know that Sunday night feeling after a fab weekend. So, I ruined it for myself. I was dreading it! Like you I work in magazine publishing, too, and had to go back to work full-time. That was over 2 years ago now, and I've settled in. But next time, I will be different! Hopefully, I can be more relaxed and take a leaf out of your book :) #brilliantblogposts

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  2. Thanks Ting! Combining motherhood with work life successfully and doing everyone justice is so hard, isn't it. But I'm sure we eventually all figure out the best ways for us. Even though I've always lived for my job, I've enjoyed maternity leave so much, that it's hard to imagine to be at my desk again day in and day out - but I've done it before and I know we will be ok. I wish you that next time round you will have a great maternity leave and that going back to work will be a bit easier. :-) I intend to spend lots of time and do lots of nice things with Alex over the next few weeks, so we can look back at this special time with fondness. x

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