Thursday, 12 February 2015

Back To Work...1 Year On

January marked my return to work after maternity leave, one year on. When I went back to work this year after the Christmas holidays it was hard to believe that that time last year I was sat in my car bawling my eyes out crying looking in the kitchen window from my car to see my little boy and his Daddy having breakfast while I was about to be apart from them for the best part of 10 hours.

10 hours a day, 4 days a week, I couldn't even think about it without feeling sick and distraught. I had so many questions, doubts, fears going around in my head.
How on earth was I going to cope with being apart from Luke for that long? How was he going to cope without being with me all of the time? Will his Dad/Nan/Aunty stick to his routine on the days he was with them? What if he won't nap for them because nap time consisted of me lying down with him for half an hour before making a ninja like exit? What if they didn't put his bear next to his face and tuck him in under their arm to soothe him when he was upset or sick?
I was frantically writing out notes for them all every week, each time his routine developed and changed, it would frustrate me when my sister would say not to worry about sending food for his lunch / dinner that she had it sorted, I couldn't relax enough to let it be so I would insist on packing his food and him eating what I sent. I would panic when I would ring an lunch time and he hadn't napped, thinking that they mustn't have done things right or was missing me too much to sleep.

I really was on edge all of the time. It did effect me at work for a few months, I felt like I couldn't fully immerse myself into my job as I was too worried about Luke. Not just Luke but I was constantly thinking of all of the other things I had to get done at home but didn't have the time, I was coming in in the evenings trying to do all of those oh so important jobs while trying to get in as much time with Luke as I could. By the time I get home, I'm lucky if there is an hour and a half before Luke goes to bed and we all know how that last hour or 2 before bed time goes, I was getting all of the tired cries!

Do you know what though? He was fine, the house was fine and eventually I was fine. Luke developed his own little routine with his Dad / Nan / Aunty on the days he was with them, he would things with them that he wouldn't do with me and I slowly learned that that was ok. He chills with his Daddy on the couch before nap time, he goes out for a walk with his Aunt before nap time and with his Nan he like to have some "Nanny cuddles" with her in his room before she pts him down for a nap. He knows now that most Thursdays he goes down town with his Aunt while she runs some errands and they have their lunch out, he knows that when he goes to his Nan he will feed the birdies and Mam will bath him there before going home to bed, he knows that the evenings he's at home with Dad for dinner that Mam will shortly be home and we will end up chasing each other around the house before getting ready for bed. He's content in each of the routines he has with all of us and this makes it so much easier to go to work each morning, knowing that he's perfectly happy with whoever may be looking after him on that day.

It took me the best part of the year to fully relax and to stop freaking out that I never get a chance to get things done. In fact I made a promise to myself for 2015 to not stress about those things as much and enjoy the here and now a bit more. I made Thursdays the day where I spend the evening after Luke has gone to bed doing the house work, washing floors, cleaning bathrooms etc and that's it done out of the way in time for my days off. It was unrealistic of me to think I could do all of those everyday or even every second day. I found I was having zero time to myself and it was really beginning to get me down. Now though, the other evenings of the week are free and has allowed me time to catch up on some of my own hobbies in the evenings after Luke has gone to bed. He now has my full attention from the time I get home until the time he goes to bed. My Fridays off are spent doing our own routine of the shopping and playing in the afternoons and I can already see the benefits for Luke of having me fully focused on him during this time rather than trying to do a hundred things at once.

Do you want to know the main thing I have discovered though? I like my job and that's not a crime. I've worked in this job for 6 and a half years, we have a small but strong team at work and the people there are people I would consider friends as well as colleagues and that makes it so much easier to come to work 4 days a week. I spent most of 2014 feeling guilty because I was away from Luke and because secretly I enjoyed coming to work, I thought that was something I shouldn't admit to. It's ok to admit that I like going to work, having that time at work allows me to be a happier, stronger person at home. I've never denied the fact that I don't think I would be able to be at home full time, I've worked since the day I turned 16 and it's part of who I am but it took a lot of last year to remove the guilty feeling that had decided  to rear its head of feeling that while leaving Luke at home.
Sure if I had the chance I probably wold have taken some extra time off or even stayed at home with him until was 2, sure I would love a shorter working week, 3 days would be ideal but that's not possible right now and that's fine.
He is constantly surrounded by family members when I am not there and really enjoys his time with them and the quality time with his Daddy. Luckily the other half works later shifts so he is always at home with him in the mornings and I am always there in the evenings. It's full on and sometimes I don't get to see my partner all that much with the way his shifts go, but it works because we make it work and we finally seem to have settled into a happy routine to do so.

I'm looking forward to 2015 being a less stressful year on that front and savouring all of those precious moments that I do have with Luke and our little family as well as being able to go to work knowing that Luke is in safe hands and that I can enjoy my job guilt free...to a certain extent anyway!

Days with Mum are spent catching up on cuddles


Days with Dad are spent messing and sending selfies to Mum

Days with his Aunty Heather are spent having fun in the park

Days spent with Nanny are spent exploring in the garden
 
Have you returned to work recently after maternity leave? How are you finding it? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

6 comments:

  1. I will be returning to work next month and these past few days have been spent worrying and thinking on whether it's a good idea or not.
    Thank you for sharing, it's good to know there's moms who share the same sentiments as myself but at the end of it all, our kids will ALWAYS get by well .
    ...and we can always make up with lots of cuddles and kisses when we get back from work :)

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    1. I was the same during the last few weeks of my ML, while celebrating L's first Christmas I was also freaking out over leaving him. You are dead right too, the kiddies will always be fine it's us that aren't because we worry so much! I hope your return to work is a positive experience for you :) xo

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  2. It's hard going back to work! I hated every second of it, and the day I did start back, my son's first tooth came through and he crawled for the first time, I was so upset! I think you're doing great! :) xx

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    1. Thank you Kirsty! :) Aw no its so hard isn't when you're missing out on things like that, hopefully you were there for all of the other milestones xo

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  3. This brought back so many memories to me. It's 10 years since I went back to work after my first and like you I remember sitting on the bed and just weeping at the unfairness of it all. I soon got my days reduced from 5 to 4 and then eventually to 3 before leaving after baby number three. It's a process and you seem to have dealt really well with it.

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    1. Thank you Kate. Going back on a 4 day week definitely softened the blow for me!

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