The end of maternity leave

5 days to go. I don’t want to go, I want to stay at home with my beautiful baby. I don’t want to have to find things to wear that match and are not covered in sick/snot/food, that are not denim, and that make me look like a real actual grown up, whose opinions should be taken seriously on very serious matters. 

 I have no idea how I am going to mobilise myself, my husband and the cub to leave the house early each morning. I was always late when I just had myself to worry about, and I only had a 10 minute walk to the office.  I am still usually drinking tea in my dressing gown at 9am each day.

I still haven’t quite figured out the logistics of the nursery pick up/drop off situation. We only have one car between us, and I have a horrible feeling that a cycle trailer and some unflattering lycra may need to be part of the equation.

I don’t think I remember how to use Excel, or what the company I work for actually does. I don’t even think I have a desk to go back to.  I may just sit in the corridor drinking tea while that gets worked out.

I am afraid that working 3 and a half days a week will play havoc with breastfeeding. And cub won’t take a bottle or a cup, or formula, or expressed milk, or cows milk, or anything that isn’t a boob, and preferably the left one. I am telling myself that he won’t starve, but I can’t help feeling that I am depriving him.

In a lot of ways I feel horribly guilty leaving him. I am afraid I will miss his first steps, or that he will say his first words at nursery. Maybe he will be miserable, maybe he won’t nap there, maybe he will miss me. More likely, I will drive myself nuts missing him. Or, on the upside…

Maybe it will work out fine. Maybe this is the right thing to do.

I want to go and use my brain again, properly. I have found the last 9 months I have been physically exhausted but *whispers* a little bit bored too.  Shoot me for saying this but… I think it will be good for me to mix it up a bit. I am a proper social retard, I have never done the mother/baby group thing, the idea makes me want to curl up and hide under a rock. I have some great friends at work, so I am excited about spending time with some adults. You just can’t chat about Eastenders with a baby in quite the same way.

Being with a baby 24/7 is exhausting, because you don’t get to be truly off duty. There is no real down time, because you are always planning around naps and meals, with one ear always listening in case he wakes up. It is a challenge with no right answers. An awful lot of making it up and seeing what works (hang on, that’s what I do at work too!) They say a change is a good as a rest, maybe it is, maybe I’ll just be a whole different sort of knackered. 

It needs to be done, we simply can’t support our family on a single income. There is no choice here. I would love to spend more time with the little man, but honestly, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a stay at home mum forever, even if the choice was there, which it is not. Plus, I like what I do, I like who I work with, and I am lucky enough to be relatively well rewarded. In this climate, that can’t be sniffed at. My family will always, always, come first, but my career is important to me too, and it’s time to start doing both like a proper grown up.

I will definitely cry in the toilets on my first day, and I am not expecting the guilty feelings to ease up anytime soon.  But in the long run, I know I am doing what is best for everyone. I just need to dry my eyes, stiffen the old upper lip, and figure out what the hell to wear.

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4 thoughts on “The end of maternity leave

  1. Ah, I feel for you! I returned to work in September, just two days a week and as a teacher I get all the holidays… its still hard though! But you’re right, you do get to the point where you need adult conversation. I did do the baby group thing (try it!!) and I still found that I needed other conversation- with people who didn’t consider poo to be a perfectly fine topic of conversation. The best thing about returning to work is picking the bbay up from nursery and seeing his face light up when he sees you! He’s probably ready for new faces too. Good luck!
    XxX

  2. Good Luck, It took me about a month to figure out, what my job entailed, each time I returned from maternity leave. My best piece of advice, keep a spare set of clothes at work, so when you find sick, food, dribble or snot, completely at the wrong moment in the day, you’re sorted.

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