Going back to work

I wrote this blog post the day before I went back to work after my maternity leave.

As I write this post, I sit on the sofa with nippy, puffy eyes and a slightly fuzzy head thanks to the two large glasses of Malbec I inhaled over the last 90 minutes. Today, the day before I start back in the office after nine months at home with my baby boy, I broke down in tears. I ended up in bed, crying myself to sleep while the baby cried himself to sleep in the room next to me. It was ‘one of those days’.

Until today, I had waves of sadness that our maternity leave was over, but these flitting moments have been juxtaposed by the excitement of returning to my job in communications and social media at what is an amazing university.

It’s not that I don’t want to work; I’ve been working since the baby was six weeks old, doing freelance writing jobs here and there, small ones to begin with, jobs that quickly picked up the pace while the blog went from strength to strength. I’ve spent a lot of time out walking, meeting friends, and enjoying coffees and breakfasts out – all with my boy – but behind-the-scenes I’ve been working my ass off. So it’s not the work that caused my meltdown today.

Having thought about it, I’ve realised why I was upset: I hadn’t allowed myself to really feel those sad moments I’d been having.would push them away, swallow the lump in my throat, blink away the tearsnipping at my eyes. What do I have to cry about? After two years, I finally had my baby boy, the baby I thought I’d never have, and I had been able to take almost a year off to spend with him. There’s no need for tears, so whenever I felt the sadness I would put my make up on, feed and entertain the baby, walk the dog, run errands, go for coffee, tidy the house, do the washing, run the blog, write my freelance articles, send my emails, stay in touch with friends, watch some tele, schedule and respond to social media… basically, I didn’t stop. I did it all and I didn’t listen to those sad moments, didn’t let myself feel them because I didn’t think I had any right to.

The problem is, we rarely let ourselves wallow, do we? We hold our chins up, plaster a smile on our faces, and keep going. But it’s so important to allow time to look after ourselves and that means letting it all out, either privately or to a loved one or friend. I hadn’t actually spoken to anyone about how I felt about going back to work, no one really even asked, so it didn’t occur to me that it was kind of a big deal. I didn’t have time to hear my own thoughts anyway, so I guess I didn’t even know exactly how I was feeling about it all.

Having had time today to think about how shit I feel, I understand it now. It’s not because I’m going back to the office. I mean, goodness, Ican’t wait to get back, to chat to my colleagues and come up with amazing ideas together, to pull them off, take on the next challenge. I can’t wait to get dressed in something other than leggings, grab my morning coffee, make my way to work knowing that it’s doing me the world of good, which can only be a positive thing for NCM. I want him to see his mum and dad working, earning their living, and for him to have a good work ethic and find something he’s passionate about too.

So rather, it’s because suddenly, the months that were laid out ahead of me are over, and so quickly my baby is growing up. He’s not even a year old and already he wants to feed himself. Already he’s determined to eat the curtain that I’ve said “no” to a hundred times this week. Already he’s pushing away from me because he’s tired and grumpy and I’m obviously just the WORST. Even though these little signs of independence are tough, I get to see them and witness them first hand. Just like I get to see his two tiny bottom teeth when he throws his head back to laugh at us. Just like I get to see his little up-and-down dance when the music he likes comes on. And just like I get to see his expressions change as he begins to understand that I didn’t magic away his snack, I just hid it.

Even though the endless tasks that come with being a parent are relentless, it’s been difficult to accept that I won’t get to see all of this every day any more purely because I made the decision to be a working mum. I’m torn as to whether this is selfish or selfless, but what I do know is that (as with most things in life) it’s about finding a balance. And, after two weeks back at work, I think my scales are pretty even.

I’m Wearing: hat, TK MAXX; blazer, Debenhams; flared jeans, Topshop; top, M&S; necklace, Lily Blanche; boots, Office; bag, Modalu. (Flat white by Tonic.)

Location: Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee.

Images: Kris Miller.

If anyone is looking for a new work handbag, I can’t recommend this one by Modalu strongly enough. It’s the Billie grab bag and it comes in two sizes, this one and a mini version, either in black, dove grey or nude. They’re beautifully made, such high quality, and this one has loads of space and zipped compartments. I also love a bag with the grab handle or shoulder strap option, for its versatility. This is 100% leather and feels, looks and even smells amazing. It’s usually £275 but is on offer with 30% discount right now… or, the mini one is slightly cheaper, and Modalu even has a non-leather version which is only fifty quid right now. I want both sizes, in every colour! It’s a wardrobe staple and perfect for the workplace, though I’m wearing it every day just now, whether I’m in the office or not… that’s when you know it’s love. 

3 Comments

  1. FG 20th November 2017 / 19:57

    What a beautiful piece. Written from your heart, it brought a tear to my eye. But, you and Nathan will have the best of times because you will be happy working and the days you spend with him will be so exciting and fulfilling, everything will be, as you say, balanced

  2. Barbara Lindsay 28th November 2017 / 09:57

    Well done, very well written and very understandable too.

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