“Are you sure?!”
Just some of the comments I received when I told people I was returning to work after maternity leave – full time.
For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll know that I was offered a new job whilst on mat leave, which was a really exciting opportunity for me.
But, going back full time was something I was going to do anyway. I have always known that I want baby number 2 at some point, and therefore it would be nice to be getting full pay whilst on mat leave the 2nd time round. That, as well as the fact that it would be easier to reduce my hours than increase them should I not get on with the demand.
So, that was it…..off I went! The first Monday morning in the office was strange. I was wearing clothes for gods sake – clean, SMART clothes. This was a feeling which had been pretty non existent during the previous year. And lets not forget the handbag – it was sooooo nice to use an actual handbag. I remember how stressed out I used to get on a packed train, but now, for some reason, I was calm – it no longer bothered me.
I got to London Euston, and my first stop was Costa. I was about to have a HOT COFFEE! And oh how amazing it was! I couldn’t believe how much my life had changed, and just how much I used to take buying a coffee and drinking it hot for granted!
Once in the office, I had started to miss the little man quite a lot, and wondered what he was up to. All I wanted to do was go and give him a big cuddle.
My first day went by quite quickly – catching up with people, e-mails, the new job, 3 (yes THREE) cups of tea, as well as lunch (which I ate in absolute silence!).
I had asked for flexible working before I returned to work. I had been inspired by Mother Pukka and her FlexAppeal campaign. I’d never thought about it before because it wasn’t really the “done thing”, but I thought why not. So I asked to do 8.15am-4.15pm 5 days a week, with one day at home. What’s the worst they can do? Say no! I was therefore very pleasantly surprised when they said yes, and it meant I would be picking my little boy up at 5pm every day.
I was the kind of person who used to routinely stay late at work, as time wasn’t normally an issue. However, now, I had responsibilities, and actually, I didn’t feel guilty leaving the office at 4.15pm, as I knew that I had been there much earlier than anyone else.
My husband was in charge of drop offs, and me pick ups. Although, inevitably in a new job, I knew there would be some days where meetings would run until 5 / 5.30pm. I didn’t want “me having to leave at a certain time” to be a barrier to me doing my job, so on those days, I arranged in advance for my husband to collect the little man. Although the nursery was open until 7pm, we had decided from the very beginning, that we wouldn’t leave him there until then unless it was an absolutely emergency.
And the things that used to stress me out at work? No more! I now feel like I have the patience of a saint!
All in all, going back to work has been great. It can be tough on certain days, but generally, it’s nice having a focus which isn’t solely baby, using my brain, wearing nice clothes, hot drinks, and adult conversation (without interruptions!)
Are you going back to work soon? Worried? Get in touch and i’ll try to put you at ease!
Mummy S x