I recently returned to work, as a creative in an ad agency, after taking 10 months maternity leave for my second son. I’m fortunate enough to love what I do, but balancing it with being a Mamma is tricky. Even more so with two kids. It’s been about two months and after more-than-a-few fraught moments, I’d say I’m ‘just about’ back in the swing of it.
- Wow. That day when you walk out the office to go on Mat Leave – it’s great isn’t it? Though you have more of a ‘waddle in your step’ than a ‘skip’
- The joy of the first Sunday of Mat Leave = no Sunday Fear.
- 4 days into Mat Leave. You start to schedule naps into your daily routine.
- 14 days into Mat Leave. Still no freakin baby. And if one more person says ‘eat pineapple’ or ‘enjoy the sleep’ you might scream
- Then the newbaby blur.
- 9 weeks post having bubba. A little voice whispers: ‘maybe work is the easier option after all?’
- 12 weeks after. Take baby into the office. Error. An awkward collision of worlds; baby starts crying and you run for the hills.
- 5-6 months postpartum – flirt with other ideas of alternative careers/become a full time mum.
- 8-9 months. Mat Leave bites. You are skint. It dawns on you that the reason you went to work was for the money!
- The Countdown of Doom. Even though you have 6 weeks of Mat Leave left you talk and act like it’s no time at all. 6 weeks! 6 weeks was the length of the entire school holidays and that was AGES.
- Last week of mat leave. You mourn everything. Last time on the swing. Last coffee. Last ‘ignoring the baby while you try and do an ocado order’.
- Then suddenly you are back.
- That once horrendous commute feels like a luxury. Just you, on your own, with nothing to do but ‘sit’ for half an hour – it’s the stuff dreams.
- Then into the office; turns out the people you work with are actually ok. And being able to have a cup of tea uninterrupted immense.
- Although your life has changed A LOT, you somehow find yourself in a meeting talking about exactly the same thing as before you left.
- Is it bad you don’t actually miss your kid any where near as much as you thought?!
- Soon it’s Home Time. The clothes that you put on that morning are still clean. First time that has happened in about 10 months.
- The Parent Scurry. That half-run you do to try and get back from the station to your little one a bit quicker.
- After a few weeks, and the occasional pang of ‘I can’t actually believe Mat Leave is over’ you start thinking this working lark is ok you know?!
- You and your other half actually have something to talk about over dinner. Which is nice.
- But don’t get too comfortable; you are destined for The Illness. Baby gets ill. Then you get ill. Then Baby gets ill again. And all hell breaks loose.
- Don’t panic this is a bump not a detour. You WILL get back on track
- Your first full pay-check – woo hoo! (for about 2 secs, until the reality of how much needs to go on childcare hits …).
- Now you are doing ‘The Juggle’. It’s tough and emotional being a Working Mum.
- Approximately once a week I feel as if I am doing both jobs badly.
- Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. There are 1000’s of ladies out there wrestling Sunday Night Fear & Maternal Guilt.
- And remember why you are doing it: To be a role-model? to enable your kids to have nice things? To get out of the house. All good reasons.
- PLUS, nothing is forever, if it ain’t working then don’t be afraid to say. But at the same point, I have to constantly remind myself not to be too reactive. There’s no rush Mamma, things will work themselves out in the end…. one day.. I blooming hope so anyway!
By Clemmie Telford
Clemmie Telford can be found on ‘far too much’ social media, including: