Reality has reared its ugly head. On Monday my bubble will burst as I set foot in work again. It may be only to have a chat about my hours, new team, etc., but it symbolises the start of the end of parental leave and of having entire days to spend with my children.
In this excellent post by Helen from The Busy Mama’s blog the nine stages of maternity leave are described perfectly. I find myself at number seven. Eight and nine will follow all too soon. I know from my two previous experiences.
As I spoke to a workmate recently about the Sunday evening feeling I get when I think about returning to the world of office work, she reminded me of the e-mail I sent her a few years ago when she was on the verge of going back to the office and sending her children to creche.
Here it is, slightly amended and addressed to me, now.
I know exacly how you feel. On both my previous bouts of parental leave I didn’t want to return to the office. But it all worked out.
You get into the swing of things sooner than you can now believe and your workmates are nicer than you recollect.
Remember that it is a job. The really important things are your children and that they have a balanced mother. One who gets to talk to adults during the day and earn money to give them a good life.
When you go back to the office, make it clear to everyone which days you work and which days you don’t. Make sure they understand that your evenings are your own, or rather you family’s.
Switch your work phone off and be Mama.
On your first day back be prepared for the questions. They will come. Even from people whose names you can’t remember. Stay calm and rattle off the children’s names and ages as often as required.
Remind yourself that the older boys are at school and would still be at school even if you were still at home.
Nod and agree when people say “Enjoy them while they are still small” even though it breaks your heart that you are miles away from them with no idea whether the little guy is crying for you at creche.
And when you go home that first day, and every day after, leave work behind at the office door. Go home and be Mama. Open your eyes and ears to your children. See to their health and happiness, and to your own.
Good luck (and keep up the writing!)
I’m sharing this post with Twinkly Tuesday and The Truth About.