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The End of Maternity Leave

I can't believe I just wrote that title.. how did it come up so fast?!

This time tomorrow (this is scheduled and I'm writing this frantically on Thursday before Ethan wakes up from his nap, which should be any moment now) I won't be at home. I won't be out enjoying a coffee or a lunch date. No.. I'll be at work. Back at work after a year and a bit off. 
Because that's not scary in the slightest.. (sarcastic face)

Lets not pretend it's going to be easy, because it's not, I know that. Whether or not you've worked your way up to your dream by climbing the career ladder, landed it by applying through UK classified ads or have a side job that just brings in the cash, pretty much any Mum (or Dad) that has a long maternity leave off with their child knows just how hard it is to face going back into the world of work. I've forgotten so much, there's new systems to learn. I don't remember peoples faces or names, there might be new people.. I might have forgotten how to talk to a member of the public without holding a baby in my arms. I might be on the receiving end of a member of the publics temper.. they might shout.. I might cry. I probably will cry.

And then there's the fact that I'm leaving my baby. My baby who I carried in my stomach for nine months and then went through childbirth to have and then have spent every single day with since. My baby who follows me to the toilet, who comes into bed every night with us after spending half the night in his cot but waking for cuddles, who comes first no matter what. How will I leave my baby and just go back to work and pretend to be an independent 'career-minded' woman, when all I can think about is him.. Is he okay? Is his nappy full? Has he had his lunchtime nap? Does he miss puling my hair? The list goes on..

And then there's my time with my Husband.. my best friend, my world.. sacrificing a day with him so our baby doesn't have to go into childcare, well as much as that's what we want.. that's not easy. We love spending time together, we've grown up together, done every single thing as one..
I won't pretend I didn't have an emotional meltdown about it all last night over dinner, because I did. I won't pretend I probably won't have one tonight (last night to you) because I'm sure I will. 
But actually, it might be the end of my maternity leave, but it's not the end..
  • I will spend time with Ethan still and I'll probably enjoy it more and he'll enjoy seeing me more.
  • It's two days a week. The days aren't even together. It's a Monday and a Friday so I get to spend time with Ethan at home between my work days. 
  • The one day off I'll have with Adam will mean so much more. We've vowed to make it a special day each week and do something fun as a family. And one day is a lot more than most people get our age. 
  • Ethan isn't going into childcare.. I didn't want this and it's not happening. We're fortunate that I can go back only 2 days a week and Adams Mum can look after Ethan on a Friday so that Adam, Ethan and I still have one day together as a three. 
  • The Monday, Adam will be with Ethan and that means that they get a 'daddy-son' day together. This will be great for them to bond like that. 
  • Ethan won't be clingy. He'll learn to spend time with other people other then just me and this will help in later in life.
  • Ethan will spend lots of time with his extended family and get lots and lots of love and attention. He'll also get a break from our routine at home and just our home in general.
  • We'll have more of a routine as a family, we've already got lots booked in for every week. Having more of a routine will allow us to keep on top of everyday life stresses I think. 
  • I've been moved to a station that I wanted to work in for a while now, given days that suit me and is the closest station in that area to where I live. My manager is coming to support me in the beginning and teach me things I've forgotten and the new system.
  • It'll be good for me. I'll feel more like an adult, I'll get a break from looking after Ethan 24/7 and I'll get time to reflect and recharge. Sometimes just being at home alone can be suffocating. 
  • I'll only be working 9-5, no evenings, no bank holidays, no weekends. 
  • I'll appreciate time with my family and in my new home so much more.
So this may be the end of my maternity leave with Ethan but it's really only the beginning of the rest of our lives.

*PR collab

9 comments

  1. Hope your first day back at work isn't too stressful, i remember the first day being the worst but once i was back it was good to get a little me time. I didn't go back until Amelia was nearly 15 months old ha ha! x

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  2. Great post Alex. I have been off for almost 26 months and plan to return to work 2 days per week in Sept. I already know it will pull at my heart strings.Ive only spent 3 days away from Amelia in the last 13.5 months. However, I keep telling myself that I will enjoy my days off with her so much more!
    Hope your first day back isn't too stressful & you get to enjoy a cup of uninterrupted coffee at your break xx

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  3. I hope that your first day back went well! It's not easy, it sounds like you've found a solution that works really well for your family. I worked 2 1/2 days a week after having both of mine (before I was made redundant!) and it was nice to have that bit of grown up time, with different topics of conversation than babies. It's also good for your husband to have a day with Ethan, my husband did that too for a few months and it worked really well, he did much more fun things with them than I usually did!

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  4. Hope today all went ok for you! I went back to work after maternity leave 3 weeks ago. For me I think the thoughts about it were worse than the actual going back. It is nice to do my job as me and not as mummy. X

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  5. Awww Alex - it's really rubbish going back to work after maternity leave. I didn't have very long at all off with either of mine as couldn't afford to so I went back full time. Fast forward almost two years and I have now just left full time work to go part time again as my mind just wasn't in it, I am a family person now and not career minded at all. If I have a job I want it to be mainly home based. I want to be there for the school runs, the sick days, all of it. Good luck hun x

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  6. It must be an awful feeling. Hope it wasn't too traumatic.
    I'm dreading going back in November already and my job won't even consider reducing my hours. It will work out that my hubby, Eli will have one full day together every 4 weeks! I makes me feel sick.

    Cat
    www.rockandrollpussycat.co.uk

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  7. Great post, I'm about to return to work full time leaving baby with his dad, I'm partly excited, partly terrified...difficult times but you point out the reality isn't so bad!

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  8. I'm back to work in July and like you I am sacrificing time with Hubby to work so that both babies don't have to go into childcare. It will be hard, and a juggling act, but should work out in the end! x

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  9. Reading this has both made me happier and sadder about my impending return to work. When I go back, my baby will only be 4 1/2 months old and I will be back full time - it saddens me that I'm going back full time because we can't afford for me not to. I don't want to think about it. I hate thinking about it. But I do keep thinking about it :(
    But it has made me happier, too, because I know there are loads more mums out there who are/ have/ will feel the same. So, thanks xx
    http://dribblesandgiggles.blogspot.co.uk/

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