I can vividly remember skipping out of your office the day my maternity leave started. And now that it's coming to an end....
You can vividly remember skipping out of your office the day your maternity leave started.
Clearing off your desk, well-wishes from your co-workers and even a couple of unexpected gifts. You were on cloud nine, excited to meet your little one, and about to embark on “the wait” until your little bundle decided to make an appearance. The last thing on your mind was returning to work. It seemed lightyears away. You couldn’t even relate to it.
Months later you hear about friends of yours returning to work after maternity leave and even though it’s a needs-must situation, you feel really sorry for them. It must be so hard to leave your baby and spend an entire day at work. They must be exhausted. You offer them support, well-wishes, and maybe even a gift. However, it’s still not something you can even remotely relate to. It isn’t even on your radar.
And in the blink of an eye it is suddenly time for you to go back to work and friends are offering you support and well-wishes. Sorry what now? How on earth could time have moved so quickly? How can anyone think you will be capable of leaving your baby every day to go to work? It just isn’t going to happen. You panic. You find yourself thinking about your finances and imagining if you could somehow make it work. You don’t need the holidays, you won’t go on the coffee dates, you’ll turn the heating on less. You will do anything it takes to avoid sitting back in that office.
The office was never a bad place mind you. In fact, you quite liked your job. Your boss was a nice person and you even had a couple of perks to take home with you. But you like your baby more. You have lived in eachothers pockets for the past six months. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who could take some un-paid leave. You feel fortunate, but on the flip side it seems that bit more difficult to leave your baby when it is all you feel you know these days. You’ve been living in a bubble of love, cuddles and domestic bliss - with a bit of sleep deprivation thrown in for good measure.
HOW will you leave your baby? They need you. The guilt is completely overwhelming. The baby is looking up at you, almost as if they know what is about to happen. How could you do this to them?
And suddenly it’s that faithful day. Your first day at work. You’ve packed the baby bags, you set your alarm (not that you needed one), and you’re wearing your work clothes. You barely recognise yourself. You can’t believe this is actually happening.
Amazingly it quickly does becomes normal life again. This was me two week ago. I couldn’t physicallly or mentally cope with the idea of being in work and away from my son every day. Feel the fear and do it anyway, isn’t that what they say? Focus on the reason you are working. It could be the bills being paid, more food on the table, that holiday you’ve been dreaming about, building up the savings. Whatever it might be just know that you can do this. I was in your position and I want to tell you that the people who are telling you “the thoughts of it are worse than the reality” are right. You will somehow make it work. Work days will be a flurry of activity, the housework will suffer, dinners may be bland, days will run in to eachother and mornings will be a blur. But you will be fine. You will live for the weekends or your days off, you will appreciate every cuddle that little bit more, and you will surprise yourself when you realise just how strong you are. You are superwoman (or man). You’ve got this!