Monday, 12 February 2018

The Fear of Returning to Work | End of Maternity Leave

Hey hey!

A slightly random, and no doubt irrelevant post for the majority of you reading this (if you don't have children that is). Tomorrow marks the end of my maternity leave which I honestly cannot believe, admittedly I am going back slightly earlier than the 9 months I'd planned to have off, however it's still gone stupidly quick. 

I'd been toying between so many different scenarios recently, do I go back to my old place which pays less but I'm in a routine there, I know what I'm doing, I feel comfortable, or do I try something completely new which pays better, but I will feel a lot less comfortable. If it wasn't for Alfie I would have 100% opted for the first scenario, but now I've got him I have to put his needs at the forefront of my mind, so I decided to go for a brand new job, which I briefly spoke about in my last post. It's still within education, but I will be in a new setting, and the age is quite new to me (it's been a while since I looked after multiple babies!)

Id been getting myself in such a state, with the heightened hormones (still!) and fear of the unknown. I remember on a few occasions id be home alone with Alf trying to figure out what I wanted to do and not having a clue. Getting upset because I knew I had to put Alfie first, and doing so meaning things had to change. Don't get me wrong, this isn't necessarily a bad thing and I will always put Alfie first regardless, but for someone who is so anxious about change, the fear of the unknown terrified me. 

That and the mum guilt. Id like to think I'm quite a tough cookie, I'm not attached to Alf (not overly, anyway) and I think working in a nursery and helping to settle children into a new setting has kinda helped me with the mum guilt, I didn't mind leaving him at nursery for his settling in, he cried a little when I handed him over, but it didn't phase me one little bit. I guess I'm used to seeing it and dealing with it - and knew he would be fine in a matter of minutes, which he was. But good lord nothing prepares you for the mum guilt when you go back to work right?

You instantly feel like you're sacrificing valuable 'growing up' time. Time that you feel you should be spending with them, it's so hard to explain if you don't have children yourself. I sat down today and got his bag ready for his afternoons with his nan whilst I would be at work, and I actually wanted to cry a little. I suppose it's a fear of missing out, feeling sad that I have to go back to work to be able to provide for him, sad that as mothers you're only given a maximum of a year off of work to spend with them, for their ENTIRE lives, one fucking year, and 2 bloody weeks for dads!. That I have to be away from my child to be able to afford nappies and milk. For so long I was so excited about going back to work because of the routine, the social aspects of work, and suddenly I felt this huge fear just wash over me when I realised how much our current routine, and a comfortable one at that, is going to change.

How am I going to get myself ready in such a short space of time in the mornings? How am I going to get Alfie ready too? How am I even going to function so early in the morning on such little sleep? Or more importantly - how am I going to get to work on time? - Who bloody knows is the answer to that. It's that word isn't it, fear. Having a baby is challenging at the best of times, let alone juggling work on top of that. I hope once I'm in the swing of things I'll get us both into some sort of routine, I'm sure I will, but the fear is still there I suppose, the major mum guilt, and no doubt utter exhaustion. 

If you've had a baby and returned to work, or are planning too, I would fully appreciate a nod of agreement to know I'm not alone in feeling majorly guilty and anxious at the thought of this new stage of our lives. 

Soph, x

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