In the past year, a few of my friends have had babies and they’ve all asked me the same question – how bad is going back to work after maternity leave? And I always have the same answer – the thought of going back is so much worse than actually going. It’s the same with anything you don’t really want to do, like going to the dentist, attending a lecture or getting a smear test (because let’s face it, after childbirth it’s a walk in the park am I right?!?).
I for one didn’t actually dread going back to work. I didn’t exactly look forward to it but I felt as though the Queen and I were living in our own little bubble and it wasn’t quite real. I was keen to get back to reality and for us to get used to our new routine of nursery drop offs and granny picks up. I’ve been back since September and it’s been mostly good but it does come with a big old dose of mum guilt. I’m part-time but at four days a week it feels like full-time so weekends and my one day off during the week are extremely precious.
I miss her little face and laugh when I’m stuck at my desk but on the other hand, I’m being creative, feeling productive and drinking endless cups of coffee without the risk of little hands getting at the hot liquid. I do think it’s such a balance and that there may not be the perfect combination of work/parenting. From my experience, stay-at-home mums get a little stir crazy and are desperate for adult company, full-time working mums feel guilty all the time and part-time mums have a bit of both. It’s hard but like anything, once you’re used to it, it becomes the norm. For me, working makes me feel like me again and that helps me be a better mum.