This year has been fantastic. I spent the first three months counting down the days until Georgia arrived and the next nine months on maternity leave playing with the most gorgeous girl in the world and watching her grow.
But it’s now just over two weeks until I go back to work in the New Year.
Before she was born, I didn’t really know how I’d feel about going back to work. I thought that I’d feel really emotional about it, wanting to stay at home. But going back to work wasn’t really ever a choice. When I was going off and telling people I’d be back in January, some people met this statement with an eye roll and an all-knowing “sure…” as if I’d suddenly change my mind, have a moment of clarity and decide we could live on beans on toast on one salary.
But even if it was a choice, the truth is, I’m really happy and excited to be going back. I’ll get to regain my sense of identity as an adult. I’ll get to drink hot tea. I’ll get to use my brain in a way that it’s not been used in a long time. I’ll get to contribute to a team and be valued for it. I’ll get to find ‘me’ again. But it’s more than that too…
Going back feels like I’m crawling out of my house, which I’ve been living under for the past nine months. Sure, I ventured out for tea and cake but over the months the cosy cross detailing on my windows morphed into iron bars. While she’s napping upstairs, I can’t go out. If it’s too close to her needing food or milk, we can’t really go out right then. If it’s after 3? I don’t think I’ve ever been out after 3pm unless I need something for fear of that dreaded school run traffic.
So unless we have plans, or go for a short walk around our supermarket (which kills about an hour), we didn’t venture out often. We’d play indoors, but it’s hard to appreciate your home when you’re in it all the time.
We’d go out once a week or so to meet with friends, but that’s only one day out of five.
On days when we ventured to the supermarket or other place (where we weren’t meeting friends), the only other adult that I’d talk to other than my husband was somebody at the cash desk. Even that was negated when you go through the self checkout.
So I’m looking forward to going back to work. I get to be an adult again and I get out of the prison that I’ve made myself.
I’m not saying that looking after her has been a bore as it hasn’t been. I’ve enjoyed every minute. She’s the centre of my universe and the only thing that has stopped me going mad in an otherwise cripplingly isolating situation. I begin to clock watch from about 4pm, excited that it’s only an hour to go before my husband gets home.
When I go back, I’m having one day off a week, which I’m also really looking forward to. This will give me a day of mummy and daughter fun a week – time that I’m sure I’ll appreciate more for being back to work for four days.
When you only have limited time together, every moment has to be spent wisely… rather than simply staying at home and thinking “nah, we’ll do it tomorrow”, we’ll have to do it that day. We’ll cherish those moments and spend them wisely.
What’s helping me to feel great about going back is also knowing that Georgia will be well cared for. I feel really confident that her nursery will be able to provide a nurturing environment for her to play and learn over the next few years and meet some new friends as well as some ‘old’ ones in the form of her current friends B and E.
So, call me selfish if you will, but to remain happy and healthy I need to go back to work. But I’m not a bad mum for wanting to go back to work.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy juggling work and family life, but it’s a balance that I’m happy with.
Bring on the New Year!