I can’t quite believe it, but my maternity leave is over and I go back to work next week.
Nine, glorious months with my baby, gone – almost in a flash.
‘Sh*t got real’ about going back about a month ago, when I went in to talk to my boss and set a return date. At that point I was feeling very negative about it; I just couldn’t imagine only being able to see Sam’s face for a couple of hours a day, four days a week. I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want it to happen.
The trouble is, I’ve loved my maternity leave. I timed it perfectly, giving birth just at the start of spring, and I’ve had no shortage of things to do and lovely people to do them with throughout the sunnier months.
Sam’s been like a tiny best friend, always by my side, and watching him grow and develop and learn things has been incredible. I can recall only a handful of times when I’ve felt bored. Of course, there was the travelling too – which was probably the best month of my life.
But I like my job, and for personal and financial reasons I want to go back to work. I’m feeling more prepared for it now, and to help me get over the final small hump of dread, I decided to put together a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) list.
10 reasons why it will be good to go back to work after maternity leave
- I can stop feeling guilty for looking at a screen, because there won’t be a little person around who ought to be getting my attention. It will be my actual job to sit at a desk and look at a screen all day. I will be able to see a task through from the beginning to the end without having to break off because someone yells at me.
- I can work my brain again. The other day I couldn’t for the life in me add 48 + 24, to work out how many hours there are in three days.
- I’ll be able to pop to the shop for a few bits and pieces without first calculating the time since someone’s last meal or nap, and from that how hungry/tired/grumpy they are likely to be at our arrival and departure time.
- There won’t be crap all over the floor wherever I walk.
- I’ll be able to go to the toilet whenever I want, not just when I can’t hold it in any longer. I won’t have to rush what I do in there, in case someone has managed to get themselves into danger in the 30 seconds since they were left alone.
- I won’t have to wrestle several times a day with a small person who is determined to get somewhere – anywhere – that is not the changing mat.
- I won’t have to sing Twinkle Twinkle on loop before slowly, gingerly putting someone down in their cot, only for them to react like I’ve laid them in a bed of nails, so I have to pick them up again and start from step 1 until he concurs he’s knackered and it’s nap time. And I won’t have to repeat this process three times a day.
- If I want, I can take an hour to eat lunch. Of course, having lunch often takes an hour now, but that includes coaxing someone else to eat, the deployment of various entertainment and distraction techniques, between mouthfuls me shovelling in crackers with peanut butter or the scraps he won’t eat, picking up most of the food he’s been given off the floor and trying to wipe his face while he blows raspberries and reacts like I’m doing it with a scouring pad not a baby wipe.
- I can carry around a nice, normal-sized bag, rather than one stuffed with nappies, wipes, spare clothes, food and toys.
- I will miss him. Like mad. Every minute of every day that I am away from him. But this will make me appreciate every minute I get to spend with him, probably more than I do now.