Back from Mat: 4 weeks in

So here I am. I have been back in the “day job” (after almost ten and a half months off on maternity leave) for four weeks now. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions so far, although I must say I could do with a few more happy moments…

Week One flew by. I started on the Tuesday morning incredibly apprehensive, unsure of how I was going to react once I got into my office (if I could actually get into my office… could I remember the door code?) As my bus approached my workplace I felt tears prick in my eyes:

This was it.

The end of maternity leave.

The end of my baby being a tiny baby who relies on me for everything.

That chapter is over.

A new chapter is about to unfold; I’m a working mum.

Are you sure I can’t rewind time?

The rest of the day was a blur filled with smiles, hellos and welcome backs. Surprisingly no one cracked any weight loss jokes… oh and I had a KitKat waiting for me on my desk! I even managed to remember all my passwords and the door codes. It’s a miracle!

As I left to catch my bus on the Wednesday evening I felt quite elated; I’d completed my first week back in the office. I hadn’t cried! And most people seemed happy to have me back. A warm glow of appreciation comforted me on my bus ride home, and I found myself smiling in the knowledge that I get to spend the next five days with my beautiful daughter.

Week Two is an altogether different story. I flounced into work on the Tuesday; looking forward to a bit of alone time. I then realised that the previous week had lulled me into a false sense of security; I’m here for the foreseeable future.

Get me out of here. Please someone get me out of here. 

I spent most of week two very close to tears. I was angry and frustrated: I don’t want to be here. I want to be at home with my baby.

Reality well and truly hit. I was very thankful when 6pm on Wednesday arrived and greatly glugged the large gin waiting for me at home.

Week Three swiftly appears out of nowhere. Dreading what the week may hold, I haul myself out of bed and begrudgingly get dressed for work. The two days are better, but I’m still not happy. (Understatement).
The hardest thing about week three happened on Thursday. Nick passed Busby over to me after a goodbye cuddle and headed to work. She cried when she was passed over. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces. She has never cried being “left” with me before. Never. I found myself sobbing; irrationally cursing feminism and railing-chaining-women.

Week Four has just been and gone and I feel like I’ve reached an understanding of where I am. It has been a frustrating week – especially with public transport, as the homeward journey has taken over an hour on both working days, resulting in swift cuddles with Busby before she is whisked off to bed as her eyes cannot stay open much longer. But I’ve been thinking.

Dangerous, I know. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think I’d mind leaving Busby and working 10 hour shifts so much if I was in a role that I found emotionally and intellectually fulfilling. My priorities have shifted completely and I need to be doing something I want to be doing, something that almost justifies leaving my baby for the day. I don’t think, in my heart, anything will ever fully justify leaving her, but if I was doing something I really loved then I’d appreciate our time apart more. Yes my job is financially fulfilling and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, but I’ve lost my passion and drive for it.

Other women in my workplace have reassured me that I’ll get used to it, but is it so wrong that I don’t want to “get used to it”? I don’t want to settle. Becoming a Mother, utilising my maternity leave in the way I have, has just made me more determined to be my best. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. 
I’m not going to settle.

Change is afoot. 
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  1. 24th October 2013 / 6:25 am

    Oh Hannah, I’m completely with you on this one. I had plenty of ‘my baby or the money’ conversations and came to the same conclusions as you … I like to work providing it’s interesting, enjoyable and I’m getting something out of it … not something that I have to get used to and do to line other people’s pockets. You’re positive and self-motivate, there will definitely be an answer for you … now to find it x

  2. 24th October 2013 / 7:46 am

    Oh I do hope something either changes at work or you find something that is more for you now. It’s a horrible decision to have to make isn’t it! All the best xx

  3. 24th October 2013 / 7:02 pm

    Really feel for you and I felt a bit weepy reading that because of the memories. I went back two days properly a few weeks ago and although she was find with the childcare to begin with it’s got steadily worse and I’ve turned up a few days when she’s been howling. I’ve also noticed she’s a tiny bit more clingy and seems to cry when I leave the room which makes she think she feels abandoned. All this and I love my job! I don’t know if it would every really be easy but as my husband says, at two days (and working for myself) I need to be grateful, it could be full-time. I guess he’s right but I never thought I’d get to the day where I’d want ot be a stay at home mum.

  4. 25th October 2013 / 9:02 am

    I know just how you feel. I went back when William was 8 weeks old and I found it so hard. I hated my job and I didn’t feel like I had the support that I should have done. So now, I’m in a new job and I’m much happier. Work isn’t so bad, you get used to the nine to five eventually, but you do need to be doing what you love, or it just isn’t worth it. xx

  5. 25th October 2013 / 5:47 pm

    I have to agree with you, I hated returning to work after hating my son. I returned full time and a couple of times found myself locked in the toilet not wanting to come out. This year I have reduced my house and it is better but it takes a long time to juggle being a working mum.
    I hope you find something you love and that works for your family xxx

  6. 25th October 2013 / 10:33 pm

    awww honey, i am sending massive hugs xxxxxxxxxxx

  7. 26th October 2013 / 8:33 am

    Good luck. I think a lot of us reassess who we are and what we are going to do when we have children. I certainly have ended up on a career path that I’d never have thought of before.

  8. 26th October 2013 / 8:50 am

    This is exactly how I ended up self-employed for three years and now back at uni, doing something I’m really passionate about. Be kind to yourself for sure, but I totally agree that a change is as good as a rest. Hope you’re feeling a bit more positive xx

  9. 27th October 2013 / 7:57 am

    Don’t be scared to reassess and totally change – 6 months ago I decided not to go back to my job as an account director at a digital marketing agency, I retrained as a childminder and I’m now around for both my girls and they each have a playmate I look after too. I couldn’t be happier. Good luck working out what’s best xx

  10. 27th October 2013 / 3:36 pm

    Its such a hard balance to get right between being a mum who looks after her baby and one who works. I decided it would be a good idea to set up my own business with a 6 month old rather than go back to my much hated old office job. Try as I might I just cant seem to get the balance right and am constantly wrecked-being nearly 37 weeks pregnant doesnt help either I guess!The best of luck to you trying to figure out the right balance for you and your baba. #pocolo

  11. 28th October 2013 / 10:36 am

    This is exactly what having a baby does – it changes your perspective! It did me!! Good luck. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  12. 31st October 2013 / 1:33 pm

    Being a mother changes you completely. I am planning on changing my life around after my second child is born. I am planning on working from home. I have been back at work just over a year and I know now that is what I want to do. Good luck and I hope you achieve your dreams x

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