I can’t believe I’m typing this but it’s almost time for me to go back to work.
When I started maternity leave mid-February, it felt like I had forever. I always planned to take 9 months rather than the full year, but it’s come round so fast and now I have mixed feelings about it.
I can’t say that maternity leave has been a breeze. I knew it wasn’t going to be a holiday, as some of my friends seemed to think, but I was looking forward to it all the same. I have loved spending every day with my little boy, but in the beginning especially it was hard. Once Nathan was back at work I had 4 days a week where I was supposed to take care of this tiny thing by myself. It’s a bit of a shock to the system.
I’ve enjoyed most of the time I’ve spent off, but some days were a struggle. We’re living in a new area where I don’t know many people, I wasn’t going to any baby groups and I felt horribly lonely. Plus I was breastfeeding a newborn every two hours, day and night, and I was exhausted. There were times when I looked forward to going back to work: not having to worry about feeding and nappies, speaking to people, doing a job I’m good at, being me and not just ‘mum’.
But those were rare times. For the most part these have been the best nine months and I wouldn’t change anything. It’s even more fun now Little Moore is older and able to play properly with things. We’ve enjoyed reading together, playing building games and peek-a-boo, and we’ve started messy play recently too.
Although I have mixed feelings about going back, I know it’s the right decision. I want to be able to provide the kind of life for him growing up that I did. All my parents worked hard (mum, dad and step-dad) and because of this we lived in a nice house and did fun things together at weekends. I want to provide for my son in that way, and although it might mean sacrificing some time with him, I know it’ll make the time I do spend with him even more special.
I’m also lucky in that my work is very flexible. I’m going back 4 days a week, so I’ll have 3 to spend with Little Moore. I can choose my working hours and am able to work from home too, so there’s flexibility in case he needs me unexpectedly. We’re also not having to fork out a fortune on nursery fees: Nathan will have him twice a week, we’ll have one family day, and my mum is taking care of him and his cousin once a week, so he only spends one day at nursery. I think he needs that one day to socialise with other babies and spend time in a different environment with different people.
While part of me would love to be a stay at home mum, I think deep down it’s not for me. It’ll be a challenge in the next few weeks getting into a new routine and getting used to working again, but I know we can do it, and with Christmas around the corner there’s something to look forward to too!