Last week marked the end of my maternity leave and I returned to work. I enjoyed a whole ten months off, nine of those spent with Teddy and although I am so so sad it’s over, I was also ready to gain back some normality. The first four weeks of maternity were spent relaxing and excited about our baby arriving, the next nine months were spent in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, overwhelming anxiety and unbelievable happiness & love.
I have only returned to work part time (16 hours) which I have realised after being back for a week, is plenty! Aaron is at work full time and I literally work around his shifts. Luckily we work in the same place so our manager makes sure that we are never at work at the same time and won’t overlap shifts due to childcare.
I feel so guilty saying this but I was actually ready to get back into work. So many people ask me “oh I bet you don’t want to go back, I bet you are going to miss him!” which of course I am but as some of you will know, I also miss the pre-baby me and that includes going to work! Trust me, it isn’t my favourite place in the world but it’s something that is just mine. I can go, have adult conversation and think about something OTHER than feeds, nappies & baby TV.
There is only SO much you can talk to a nine month old about and you can only speak to yourself for so long before you completely lose it, so to go to work for 5-6 hours, three days a week is a god-send. I can interact, gossip and have someone actually reply to the drivel I am saying. I bet my work colleagues think I have serious word vomit when I see them. I don’t think they understand the sheer joy I feel that I can have a proper conversation.
I don’t MISS Teddy as much as I thought, but I think that’s purely for the fact that I know he’s at home with Aaron & they are having some quality time together. On my first day back at work they actually went to Frankie & Benny’s for lunch together! Jammy fuckers. Also I love the fact that I get to see his squishy little face light up when I get home. I rush home & love how happy he is to see me. When I was off work, whenever Aaron walked through the door from work, Teddy would be so unbelievably happy! I’ve never seen him get so excited, so to finally have him react like that when he sees me. It melts me.
I know a lot of people have asked me about breastfeeding & how i’m managing that with working, but i’m really lucky that Teddy naturally cut down on most feeds during the day, due to being weaned onto food so I only usually miss one feed for either his morning or afternoon nap. Because I breastfeed I also get extra breaks if needs be for pumping & I don’t work past 6pm so I can be home for bedtime. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will know that Teddy will NOT take milk from anything except boob and if I am not there for his bedtime, it’s literally like world war 3. When I had my “back to work” meeting that was one thing I was adamant I wanted, I will not have my baby screaming for hours on end until I get home. Luckily the manager was really understanding and fully accepted that because of my decision to exclusively breastfeed I had to do what was best for Teddy.
I have asked some other mums how they felt returning to work after maternity leave..
“I was worried that I would have forgotten how to do my job, would lots of policies have changed, would there be new staff members that I didn’t know.” – BOO ROO & TIGGER TOO
” Before my return to work I felt really apprehensive and guilty. I didn’t know how I’d be able to cope with leaving my little boy for 41 hours a week and I was scared that I would have forgotten how to do my job. It was made even more daunting by the fact I was returning to a new office with staff members I’d never worked with before! I settled back in really quickly and although finding a routine was hard, we quickly got used to the new normal. After a few weeks it was like I’d never been away! “ – MUMMY TO DEX
“Excited, until the reality of days off with sick children started and then I realised how bloody hard it is juggling everything and how often you feel like you’re failing at everything and achieving little!“ – THE MONEY WHISPERER
“I felt sick for a week, I hated leaving my 9 month old daughter at nursery and cried all the way to work when I had dropped her off. I really resented going to work and missed her, in fact I still miss her every day and she is seven. If only I had the patience to home school.” – JODHUPRS FOR MAISIE
“I went back to work in March 2017 after just over 12 months of work. This time last year the thought of returning to work full time would reduce me to tears but the truth is it isn’t half as bad as I expected. Obviously I miss out on some things and there are days I feel terrible leaving for work when he’s poorly but I work because I have to. We make the most of our weekends as a family and since starting nursery Rory has come on in leaps and bounds. I can sympathise with any Mum return to work, it’s awful but it you will adjust. Knowing you’ve drank a hot cup of tea and peed in peace makes getting up at the crack of dawn than little bit easier.” – MUMMY AND RORY
“I was sick the 2nd week I returned, son also fell sick plus I cried few times in bathroom first time. Second return after baby number 2 was much easier- I was much organised and had grown thicker skin. You’ll be fine eventually and just deal with the challenges (childcare fails, illness etc) as they arise.“ – PEACOCKS CAN FLY
“I was so freaked out by the idea that I sacked my job off and started my own business instead” – ACTUAL AR
“My employer has been supportive in granting part time hours, but I am struggling with work actually being part-time rather than feeling like it is full-time work squeezed into part-time hours. I also struggle with mummy guilt at not spending more time with her and also feel quite grottty on the mornings after the night before when sleeping has been tricky! Saying that though, the chance to work hard, have adult company and go to the toilet or having a hot cup of tea on my own is the best!“ – HAPPY FAMILY HUB
” I went back after 6 month after having my first. I was looking forward to getting back to normal so much! But in the last week before going back, the guilt kicked in and I felt awful that I wanted to be at work instead of with my baby.“ – BECSTER
“I loved going back! When my son was around 10-12 months I was well and truly ready. At the time we had no family support nearby, we were the first in our friendship group to have a child, and my husband travelled regularly for work. Going into the office – drinking hot coffee, buying lunch instead of making it, and having adult conversation – was such a break for me. The reality of juggling nursery pickup/drop off, illness, and managing client and team expectations (working part time but being expected to do full time hours) was a struggle and very stressful. But I think I’d always like to work. My second baby is close to 5 months now, and I’m already reaching out to contacts and old colleagues to see what opportunities are out there.” – BARE MOTHER
I’d LOVE to know how you felt about going back to work after your maternity leave. Are you due back soon or finishing work ready for baby to arrive? LET ME KNOW.