Back to work: mixed emotions

December seemed such a long way off when I began my maternity leave back in May, but come the new year, I’ll be heading back to work and back into the old routine.

Whilst I’m experiencing a mixed bag of emotions about the pending situation, I’m actually looking forward to returning to the office (a good thing since not going back simply isn’t an option due to finances and my own sanity). Whilst I’ve felt ready to go back for a month or more now, I can’t help but feel a little uneasy, guilty even, about going back to work.

Family and friends have been frequently asking how I feel about going back, and I’ve answered honestly: “great, can’t wait.” My enthusiasm about this has occasionally been met with a look that makes me think this was not the correct answer, and that no one in their right mind would actually want to go back to work, would they?

The truth is though, being a stay at home mum is, at the same time, too much and not enough for me.

I could never have anticipated how hard it is to look after a little one 24/7, and yes, at times I have struggled to cope. The longer I do it I find the little things (laundry left on the floor, that crack in the kitchen wall, an inability to eat a sandwich uninterrupted) increasingly maddening. I’m keen to regain a bit of independence and allow my mind to focus on something other than the next feed, or the latest bit of housework I’ve noticed needs doing.

I love being a mum, and the one and only reason I don’t want to go back to work is that it signifies the end of an era, and I haven’t done half the stuff I planned to during my time off. I’ll never have this much time to dedicate to my little one once I’m working, and I’ve loved bonding with her and getting to know her personality over the last few months, but also know she’ll absolutely thrive at nursery.

I’ve got huge respect for any stay at home mums out there, as it’s work I just don’t think I’m cut out for. I enjoy my job and am lucky to work for a company that offer fair opportunities and flexibility for parents, and am keen to get back and use some of those skills that have been lying dormant for the last few months (although the amount of new things I’ve learnt during that time far outweigh them).

Perhaps I’ll feel differently when I do go back, as I already start to miss my little one when she’s napping for an hour. But, for the moment, I’m looking forward to starting the next phase of my life as a working mum in the new year, and will cherish those days off to spend quality time with my gorgeous little girl.

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