The reality of returning to work is…


…it’s really not that bad. If my memory serves me right, I had my first breakdown about returning to work when Isla was just 5 months old. We were approaching the new year, her first Christmas had been and gone in a flash and thoughts of returning to work in the coming year had set in. I remember turning to James one evening and just bursting into tears – who was going to look after her? Could I trust them? Would they care for her like I do? Would she settle in okay? Would she miss me?

I remember distinctly thinking to myself over and over again ‘why have a baby only to let someone else look after her?’ and this circled around in my head for months. Unfortunately, truth beknown, I had no choice but to return to work so knowing that I had little to no choice in the matter, I needed to get on with it.

To save the constant panic about what days and hours I would work, what arrangements I would need to make etc I contacted work 5 months before I was due to return. Within a month or two, I knew exactly what job I was returning to, what days and hours I would be working, and what would be expected of me. This was a huge relief and meant I could stop making up stupid scenarios like having to work until midnight and never seeing Isla, or being made to work for a right ass who would grind me to the bone and I’d never have a life again. The best one ever was being disaplined for calling Isla’s nursery. So far fetched and so far from the truth.

In the lead up to my return, I did a few keep in touch days which I now know were key to my transition back to work. The thought of being back in the city was so alien to me, let alone in the office with the potential of stumbling across a professional conversation at every turn so going back and testing the waters was a massive hit for me. In the few days that I was there, I realised that very little had changed, I was still capable and independent, I had been missed by my team and actually I’d missed a lot of things too. Things I didn’t even know where a ‘thing’ and could be missed like the power of taking the stairs and not having to spend 20 minutes hunting down a lift with the pram only to find its ‘under matainence’!!

I’ve been back at work over a month now and I can honestly say I’m loving it. I never thought I would be able to leave Isla but somehow its just all fallen into place and it feels very natural. She loves nursery and spending time with her grandparents and I am lapping up the no pram life, whilst looking beyond estatic to be only carrying around one bag and just doing me. I love that the only worry I have right there in that moment is locating my lipstick within the dark walls of my handbag.. problems eh. I think about Isla probably every other minute and I continually flick through photos of her whilst trying to look hard at work, but given the choice, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have got ourselves into a good routine of drops offs and pick ups, coordinating train times and just being damn right organised. Top tip of the post: always pack everyone’s bags the night before!

Gone are the days of hopelessly thinking up ways of earning millions from home and worrying that Isla wouldn’t be the child that I had brought up because I would be ‘too busy at work’. I look forward to her acknowledging me as her mum, that one that works hard and plays hard so that we can do nice things, experience new places and make lots of memories together.

Going back to work is definately a part of motherhood that I feel is massively downplayed, it’s bloody dawnting and I feel like mums could do with abit more support and open conversation. I’m lucky enough to work for an employer that’s on my side, but I’m sure there are some people reading this who don’t. Massive mention to @pregnant_then_screwed  – give them a follow for pregnancy/maternity discrimination and general and legal support.

Above all, going back has been so good for my head as having another focus means I spend less time worrying about stuff that might not even happen. That’s anxiety for you and mine has definately lessened in the last 5 weeks!

Hope this post helps to put minds at ease

Lots of love

G

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