What I’ve learnt after my first month back…
It’s been a long and exhausting few weeks but I think I’m finally in the swing of the whole part time working mummy role. It’s been really hard trying to adjust to a new routine and even just get used to not having George around all the time. To be honest, if I didn’t have to go back to work then I wouldn’t but in this day and age it’s difficult to have one full-time stay at home parent. He’s going to start nursery soon so I wanted to take a look back over the past month and share my experience of going back to work after my maternity leave ended.
I didn’t use any of my ‘keep in touch’ days throughout my maternity leave purely for the fact that I didn’t want to leave George all day. No-one else had looked after him for more than an hour or so and I didn’t trust anyone to do anything the way I did it. When it came to going back to work I had no choice. I made countless lists for every possible thing; changing nappies, making formula, his favourite toys, what he likes if he cries… It was probably a bit excessive but it made me feel better so people can just deal with it.
I decided that I was only going to let myself text home once during the day and Charlie would speak to his mum to make sure everything was OK. I cried the entire way to the bus stop that morning, I felt like an idiot but I couldn’t help it. Once I was at work I was fine and really enjoyed having some time to drink a hot cup of tea and talk to someone who could actually hold a conversation. The day went well and passed really quickly which was nice. I made it home and was welcomed by one of the biggest smiles that I have ever seen George do! This was both lovely and heartbreaking… I felt so insanely guilty for having a good day without him; I’m his mum, why did I have a good day without him? As time went on it got easier to leave but I still miss him the whole time I’m at work.
If you’re a routine-led parent like myself then it’s going to be tricky to hand over your routine and trust someone else to follow it. In hindsight, I should have asked people to look after George more so he could get used to someone else doing all the things that I normally do. As I’ve mentioned before, I created a few lists to leave around the house so I knew that all the information someone needed to look at George was there. I then just had to hope that people would actually read them and then follow them. After a week or so of coming home and realising that George was fed, watered and had a clean bum, I started to worry less and as long as the main boxes are ticked then I’m happy.
These are just some tips that have either made my life easier in handing George over to be looked after* or have just put me at ease while I’m at work:
- Prep as much as you can the night before: I make sure George’s clothes for the day are ready, the nappy caddy is stocked with nappies and wipes, his breakfast and lunch is prepped and labelled and formula is measured out ready for making bottles (probably a bit excessive but as you can tell I’m a control freak!)
- Leave instructions or lists for anything you feel is important or can be forgotten. If it’s important to you then whoever is looking after your baby should respect that.
- Be kind to yourself – this is a big change for you and your baby, whether you’re going back one day or full time. If you need to cry, do it! Your baby will be so happy to be back in your arms when you get home
*George is currently looked after by family members in our home. If your little one is going to a childminder or day care, some of these things might not apply. He is going to be starting nursery very soon for one day a week and I’m very excited for him!
Is your little one going to start day care soon? Are you going back to work? I’d love to hear how you’re feeling or if you have any questions, leave them in the comments.