So, I recently went back to work after having my little baby girl. My baby girl who is actually not such a baby anymore. Yikes.
I mean, I had to go back. We bought our forever home in the same year that I physically gave birth to my daughter, so by the end of my maternity leave we were in desperate need of some cash-ish to flow the heck on in. #MummaHadntStoppedBuyingClothesTheWholeTimeOops
And I was cool with that part of it. I knew the score… I saw our bank account status and that things were getting a wee bit TIGHT, so I was mentally prepared to go back. Oh, and I didn’t want our family to have to live on toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner. Nope. #OrDidIBecauseToastedCheesiesAreKindaTheBest
However even though I knew that I needed to go back, I found it incredibly difficult to leave the kids. It actually sucked quite a bit. I felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart with them when I left… Two pieces actually.
And that was because the last 12 months of being at home with the kids were the most beautiful, loving and fun-filled months of my life. They were incredible, and I really wish that our constant time together never had to “end”.
But, end it did. And going back to work the second time was COMPLETELY different to the first time.
The first time I was on maternity leave – in 2015 – it was just me hanging out with my beautiful baby boy, and after a while it was … um … well … to be honest… it was kind of boring.
Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVED it, but as time went on it got a wee bit boring, and a touch monotonous. Sometimes I felt a bit like Bill Murray – living through one constant and repeating Groundhog Day (read a hilarious post about THAT here!)
And you know what else? After a little while, it became surprisingly hard bloody work trying to entertain someone all day every day who couldn’t speak a word of English. Or a word of ANY language to be more specific.
Yep, on that first maternity leave from about ten months onwards, I started to long for something a little more challenging in my day-to-day life. Even MORE so, I really wanted to be around people who would actually talk to me. Yep, adult interaction is what I was really craving, and to not be needed so damn much by a VERY demanding tiny person. Oh, and um, I was also really looking forward to weeing in peace once in a while. #YesPlease
So I went back to work, and it was kind of good… Just what I needed in fact.
Then when going into maternity leave for the second time with my daughter, I thought that I would feel the same way as I did with my son – that I would be mentally ready to go back and become a working gal BEFORE my time was up, and that I would be totally cool with it.
But it didn’t work out that way.
Not to sound like a total twat, but this time around I really had so much fun with my children each and every day. I honestly got So much fulfilment out of my babies this time around, and they constantly had me in stitches of laughter. Well, that was the case when they weren’t being total turd-burglers (like when we went on holidays which you can read here and here), anyway. Those few days on our holiday were the actual shittest and made me want to run away from everything… But apart from that, maternity leave this time around was so bloody amazing that I was actually shocked witless at just how MUCH I enjoyed it.
I was due to go back to work early-mid November, but my boss asked if I could delay my start and instead come back in the New Year which thrilled me to no end. But then what felt like 30 seconds later, he asked if I could start mid December instead. Automatically I went into grieving mode.
I hadn’t even left the kids but was already dreading leaving them behind. My darling husband felt differently to me, and was totally thrilled knowing that I was about to go back. I think if he had his way I would have gone back almost straight away.
In fact, he has joked before that he would like to do the next maternity leave. I am pretty sure that he assumes that he will be able to play Playstation the whole time, but girlfriend that just isn’t the case…
But regardless of how we felt, back to work I went.
It was a weird feeling walking in that door again. I had worked in the same place for over 10 years and although I had been away for over 12 months on mat leave, it felt like I had never actually left. I knew what to do. And although there were a few new faces, a lot had also left. But the job itself was just the same as it was before I left. I guess the only thing that had changed was the product designs that I was working with. So there was some comfort in that.
My first week back at work was a bit boring to be honest in terms of the actual work to do. I shadowed the girl that I was taking back over from (who was leaving the business) but that in reality meant that I just sat there staring at her while she worked, and listening to her as she tried to cram a years worth of history into my head. And to be honest her words kind of went in one ear and out the other. I was tired from mum life, bored from all the listening, and I just wanted to get back into it already.
Though, mind you, I regretted wishing that later, once ALL the work started coming in and kind of smothering me.
But now that I am back in the groove of work and life as a mother, I have to say that it is an incredibly hard juggle.
There is so much to be done. All of the damn time.
It’s exhausting. And that is one of the hardest parts about going back to work. I mean, I love it, but I am always bloody tired, and I feel like I am constantly in a rush. I am forever madly dashing about getting everyone ready, dropping someone off, picking someone up, making breakfasts, lunches, dinners, getting clothes ready, cleaning everything and everyONE ALL THE DAMN TIME. And that is just at home.
Because while at work I have to remember everything for everyone there too, just to be able to do my own job properly. Sigh. And sometimes there is so MUCH that I am trying to remember across these two major parts of my life that I feel like I am never really remembering anything at all.
When at work I worry about missing out on the important milestones of my kids lives. I worry that I am not able to concentrate on my job because I am thinking too much about them and everything I have to do when I get home. I worry about not getting my job finished early enough and leaving my child alone at childcare, and him getting upset that I am leaving him there forever. I’m not, but still.
And when I am home I worry that I am so tired that I am not giving my kids enough of me. I worry that I am too tired to play. I worry that the sick feeling that I am carrying around in my stomach from an issue that has fallen into my lap at work will prevent me from being the happy mumma that I usually am when I am at home with the kids. I worry about everything.
It’s such a juggle. And one that I can hopefully come to terms with as time goes on.
Do you have any tips for a working mum who is trying to juggle it all? How do you get through every day? Leave a comment below and let me know all about it xx