It’s finally here. The last week of maternity leave. Gulp. I’ve got mixed emotions, I’m not going to lie. Part of me is really sad that it’s over and a little tiny part is really excited to be getting back to work.
12 months off…
I’ve taken the full 12 months of maternity leave and I don’t regret it for a second. It’s been tough financially. Those last 3 months of no pay at all—and the rest of the time earning statutory maternity pay (don’t get me started on the inadequacy of statutory maternity pay)—have been pretty hard. But it has been totally worth it to spend time with Jacob and see him turn into the little boy he’s becoming.
I’ve loved my time off work, but it’s not all been the relaxing, meeting friends and eating cake time I was envisaging (although there has been some of that!). It’s been a lot harder than I expected. Having a new baby can be lonely at times. And it can be frustrating, overwhelming and boring all at the same time. And all that spare time I’d have when I was off work? I’d read books, get really fit, cook. HA! What was I thinking? Being a mum is way more than a full-time job.
Still, it’s been great and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.
Back to work
I’m going back to work 4 days a week. I’m so lucky that I’ll still be getting one day a week with my boy. I’m hoping that will be a good balance for us both.
I can’t wait to earn money, drink hot tea and have adult conversation! And to be honest, it will be nice to use my brain again. I’m slightly apprehensive too though. What if I’ve forgotten how to do my job? What if I can’t function properly when Jacob sleeps badly? What if he gets ill and can’t go to nursery? How will I get household stuff done as well as working? I’m sure it’ll all work out, but there’s a lot to get my head round.
Another worry is how am I going to make myself look presentable every day? I don’t think my ‘mum’ uniform of t-shirt and jeans is going to cut it in the office. I’ll have to find more time to wash my hair and put on makeup. Something I’ve avoided more often than I should while on maternity leave.
The last week
This week is not going to be representative of a typical week on maternity leave. It’s Jacob’s first birthday on Wednesday. We’ve just moved house, so I’m trying to unpack and get organised. We’re having a big party on Saturday—a joint 1st birthday, 30th birthday and house-warming party—so I’ve got to prepare for that. Jacob’s just started nursery so there’s that to deal with too (there’s another blog post on that coming). But I am planning to make the most of the little moments I won’t be getting once I’m back at work. I think we might manage to sneak in a little afternoon cuddle on the sofa everyday this week. If he’ll let me that is!
Was maternity leave what you expected? How did you feel about going back to work?