Serenity Now!

Back to reality

Posted on: March 4, 2010

In two days, fourteen hours and twelve minutes, I’m going back to work after my maternity leave, and leaving my 12-month-old son to be looked after by someone else all day. To say I’m not looking forward to this momentous occasion would be something of an understatement, so I thought I’d share my pain (with my laptop if nothing else) by starting a blog.

I soooooooo don’t want to go back. This is not just bone-idleness on my part, I’ve always worked, and usually I don’t mind it. I have an ok job: the pay leaves a bit to be desired but I’m not exactly on minimum wage, I don’t have to work long hours, I get on well with my colleagues and my work is interesting if not exactly ‘worthy’. In fact, I enjoy it. ‘So what’s your problem?’ you might well ask. Well, to tell the truth I, um, *whispers* would rather stay at home with my baby. There, I said it.

To some people, I know that sounds a bit unenlightened. I’ve seen the look on the faces of some of my friends and colleagues (mostly the ones who don’t have kids, but also a couple that do) when I’ve given an honest answer to the question ‘are you looking forward to going back to work then?’ Why on earth would I want to stay at home hoovering and changing nappies when I could be out in the big wide world of work? Because of course these days women are supposed to be able to have it all, aren’t they? Successful career, lively social life, perfect family, beautiful home etc etc. Well call me a pessimist but I’m not at all convinced I can do it all, not without an army of dedicated helpers at any rate. If the last year is anything to go on, the best I can manage is a stuttering social life, a rather untidy home, and a family that’s probably far from perfect but happy all the same. Add a career into the mix and I think we might be asking for trouble!

Yes, for now I’d rather concentrate on one thing at a time and maybe pick up the others later, but regrettably the numbers don’t add up, so the spectre of work has been looming ever larger over the last few months. All that time I’ve been hoping – expecting even – something would happen that meant I wouldn’t have to go back. Don’t ask me what; there are no rich old uncles lurking around my family tree, and I don’t even do the lottery. But of course no such miracle has happened and so now here it is, right in front of me and stretching out as far as the eye can see: the life of a working mum.

So I’m just about ready. My bag now contains grown-up things like my notebook and security pass instead of nappies, wipes and a muslin square. I’ve gone through my work wardrobe, such as it is, and sorted out everything that a) still fits, and b) wouldn’t be rejected by every self-respecting charity shop in town. I’ve had my hair cut for the first time in months. I’m ready to take on the world! Or at least, I’m ready to sneak in the back door of the building and slip behind my desk as if I’d never been away, before anyone makes me cry by asking about my baby, or worse, notices how big my bum still is.

It’s not all bad, of course. I’ll have a latte when I get to the office; I’ll be able to talk to adults, and not just about poo and teething and what baby stuff they’ve got in the pound shop this week. I’ll get to use a laptop which has no sticky finger marks on the screen, and no one will bash the keys or try to close the lid while I’m typing. Hey, I’ll even be able to go to the loo by myself. But I can’t help feeling sad and a little bit guilty. Guilty that I have to put earning money ahead of spending time with my baby. Sad that our happy little days of just him and me are over and our lovely little life is going to change so much, and I can’t even explain to him why.

We’ll be ok, me and my baby, I know that really. He’ll settle into his new routine quickly and keep on being his happy little self, and in a few weeks I’ll probably feel like I was never away from work. After all, I’ve been here before. And even though it’s no easier this time around, I can take comfort from the knowledge that my baby’s big brother turned out just fine.

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4 Responses to "Back to reality"

Welcome to the blogosphere – delighted to have inspired you to start a blog! I think this is a wonderful way to put down your thoughts about difficult times like this. I really hope it goes as smoothly as possible for you – I’ve been there twice myself. It’s not easy but, as you say, there is always an interruption-free toilet break to look forward to! Good luck. x

Wow, my first comment!!
Thanks for the support HCM, really appreciate it 🙂

I’m guessing you’ve been through your first few days at work right now: I hope it went well. If it’s any consolation, when I went back after Boy #1 was born I found it hard too. I told myself that I just had to get through the first 2 months and that if I still hated it then I would find another solution somehow. Of course, by the time it did everything was fine…

Thanks Potty Mummy. It wasn’t so bad really. Still hard to leave the little one every morning (the big one is at school so that’s different!) but he’s happy enough and that’s what matters, right?
🙂

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