The last week of maternity leave

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.

No more running around the park after this little one.

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?

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4 Comments

  1. August 14, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Wow. I must say that I am jealous of your maternity leave options! Here in America, we are lucky to get 12 weeks maternity leave, and often that comes at half or no pay! I am so ashamed at how little importance my country places on the birthing and raising of children, and I commend your country for recognizing the significance of motherhood (parenthood). 12 months versus 12 weeks. That’s remarkable, to say the least.
    After my 12 weeks of maternity leave was up, and I looked down at my still newborn baby, I knew that I could not be the mother that I wanted to be if I returned to work so soon after her birth. My husband and I had to make the incredibly tough decision to cut our total income in half by my not returning to work. I didn’t have any sort of options besides quitting my job and forfeiting any and all income. But it was worth it to stay home with my baby for the first year of her life. Now we are 13 months post partum, and I’m beginning my job search. I have to find a new job and essentially a new life because my old job is not there waiting for me. It is just such an unfortunate truth that the American government has no compassion or respect for mothers like most other countries do. I am thrilled to hear your story, and I wish you all the luck in returning to work and to the adult world. I, too, will begin to make that venture myself.
    But I must say that these last 12 months of focusing on nothing but my sweet baby girl has been one of the most incredible, exhausting, rewarding, terrifying, and amazing experiences of my life. Here’s to motherhood!

  2. August 15, 2017 / 9:12 am

    You’re going to be absolutely fine, you’ll rock it! I promise… 😉 I went back to work after a year too, with 4 days a week, and felt EXACTLY the same. My son was totally fine and if anything it was only me that got a bit teary every now and again. It gets easier after every week and I even had a few questionable days where I looked….ummm.. dishevelled? And nobody cared in the slightest… ha x #dreamteam

  3. August 16, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Although it will be hard to let go – you will be fine. I think the separation anxiety hits us first than what it does our babies. Good luck!

  4. August 16, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    It’s such an emotional time isn’t it? If it helps I found the thought of it was far worse that the reality. You’ll soon settle in and find your “new normal”. It’s lovely that you’ll still have one day a week to keep doing what you enjoy now too. Good luck – but I’m sure you’ll be amazing. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

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