The reality of returning to work after maternity leave

Today marked a momentous day. I went to meet my manager to discuss my return to work once my maternity leave is over.

I was a bag of anxiety. I had no idea whether I would be able to converse with another adult who doesn’t have children let alone form sentences that do not consist of asking about whether someone needs a poo, food or whether someone has hiden something where they shouldn’t have.

So this morning, after I dropped both littles off at my parents I headed home to get ready. For anyone who can actually get ready with two kids clinging to their ankles you deserve a large one (gin that is, nothing else you filthy mares).

I was still groggy eyed and disheveled from the party that the kids decided to hold at 2 am. Just FYI, the party was invitation only and Daddy Freckle wasn’t on the guest list, regardless of his attempts to get in on the party he was only to be turned away by the two bouncers I like to call my children.

So I was not rocking any sort of look that was ready for the world outside of my house. Time for operation get mum work ready.

First off, the eyebrows. They had gone rogue back in November 2016 when I decided that threading was a tenner too much and plucking was the way forward. Who was I kidding. I barely get time to brush my hair let alone pluck my eyebrows. So that was a painful, eye watering experience to start off with.

Next up the nails. Or stumps. They are not much of a nail anymore since I have apparently started to bite them because it’s too much to get them done any where and when you are digging out baby poo from the car seat the last thing you need is long nails!

Then the face and hair. Well, I still have the old make up from 4 years ago and the kids tangle tamer. That’ll do.

The biggest one of all. Clothes. It was like I had forgotten to dress! With everything off the hanger, tried on and stripped immediately off with one look in the mirror I was fed up and feeling grumpy. But I had no choice but to put a flowery little number on and get out because I was late. As usual. Except now I am late that often that I convince myself I have made the appointment early just to motivate myself to get going quicker.

And off I went.

I hadn’t eaten all morning as I was busy getting the kids ready, fed and watered and bags packed for the day. It was now midday but because yet again I was late I had no time to grab anything. But before I knew it I was sat with a cup of WARM tea, and the ability to use the facilities if I needed to without doing a saftey check of the area first and to make sure that the kids wouldn’t start a riot while I was gone.

And do you know what I kind of enjoyed it. I had some freedom and the mental load had been lifted. I could park the car, grab my bag and get out of the car without a tug of war with the car seat. I could talk to another adult about adult things (again nothing rude, you cheeky so and so’s). I could just walk, without the constant planning of what my next move was. Whether someone needed the loo or was due their nap.

But it wasn’t actually freedom. Because in my head I couldn’t be free from them. I didn’t have a spare moment where I didn’t think about whether they were okay, or whether they needed me.

You never have a minute. You never have space either physically, emotionally or mentally!

Although I’ve been here before.

The first time I returned to work after maternity leave, I cried every day going to work and coming home from work.

I cried when she went to bed.

I was happy when she woke up in the night for a feed but then annoyed the next morning that she had woken me up.

I was miserable at work, missing her and then tired and stressed when I came home.

I wasn’t giving anyone 100%. Scrap that I wasn’t giving anyone 30%.

But after a few weeks, the routine kicked in and we all found our new roles. Daddy Freckle took a new job and so could work more flexibly and I got busy scheduling and planning to make sure we got the best of both worlds. After all we are a team, and it takes the whole of the team to pull their weight otherwise the donkeys back will break.

It did get easier. But it was still hard.

So I know what I am up against this time round. I know that it will be hard, but do you know what? I’m only doing what I can. I only have the time I have. So the pots can pile up and the washing can wait because they have never all been clean even before I had kids so it isn’t going to change now.

And I will lose my shit. But thats okay.

I will make time for everyone, including me. Because let’s face it when you are at home all day with the kids, you forget about yourself. And being at work all day you forget about yourself.

I suppose the reality is, that being a parent is hard work. Regardless of whether you stay at home or return to work.

All of you parents/ parents to be: it’s hard but don’t ever feel like you are a bad parent because you are finding it tough. Every single person does.

However, if you ever want a natter or just find yourself nodding/laughing along then come back here. You are very much welcome here listening to my ramblings about #therealityofparenting

Much love,

Mother Freckle xx

 

 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Louisa says:

    Lovely to read, has given me a bit of hope that the return will be ok. My first child is 4 months old and the thought of returning to work makes me want to sit in a ball and cry! Mostly because we haven’t figured out the arrangements yet and I’m dreading missing out on 90% of my boys day ☹️. Why do nurseries have to be so in demand and so expensive? I’m not ready to make a decision yet. Does it get easier missing out on the LO’s day?

    1. Mother Freckle says:

      Oh sweetheart, I remember feeling the same way. Unfortunately the parent guilt stays but it does get easier, then a bit harder but then easier again. I suppose you’ve just got to know that you are doing your best and that good enough us enough! Nursery fees are outrageous! There definitely should be more help after returning to work xx

  2. Tom Cox says:

    Hey SJ… i only had two months off while Danny had the full year and it killed me going back after only two months. So i can’t imagine what it’s like after a year. After kids, work comes second. Third. Maybe even 100th… our hearts and minds are completely different. Hope i all goes ok and you will find your new groove soon xx

    1. Mother Freckle says:

      It’s awful! 2 months is nothing! I felt sorry for Mike going back after 2 weeks, I mean you still get the sleepless nights, the routines and the mental load regardless of whether you are there or not. I am hoping that I have an easier workload when I go back, but definitely will be looking at part time after a few months xx

  3. You always look amazing to me so you must have looked fabulous for your meeting. Hope it all went ok. I was never brave enough to go back after maternity leave and in a way I regret it as I think I could have done with some freedom/time to myself. x

    1. Mother Freckle says:

      Oh thank you so much lovely! That means so much! I am just hoping it gets easier the second time round 😣

  4. Charlotte says:

    A timely article for me – I’m due back in a few weeks too and debating whether to use some KIT days or put it off for as long as possible. Some days I look forward to it for the reasons mentioned above, some days I think she’ll be better off with people who know what they’re doing, and some days I just want to hold on to her and never let go. It’s hard, this mothering lark!

    1. Mother Freckle says:

      Just the HARDEST!! I go between too. I remember feeling awful but then really making the effort when I was with her so I suppose it has it’s benefits? Xx

  5. Heather says:

    It was indeed a challenge for me too. I never even thought I have it in me, to have the courage to go back to the office that I used to dread. More fun times ahead for us. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

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