A Year on from Maternity Leave

It seems like only yesterday, I was writing down my thoughts and feelings on my imminent return to work after maternity leave. I remember the emotions I had as I wrote that post so well: the heavy heart, the worry, the tears. But somewhere along the line, time has slipped by, and it’s actually a lot longer than just yesterday since that post was written. It has, in fact, been a whole a year since that point in time.

A year on since I handed my nine month old baby over to another woman to look after, while I went back into the workplace. As with most things associated with Baby Lighty, I can’t quite believe it’s been that long already. Time flies when you’re having fun, and yet this time last year, I certainly wasn’t having fun. At least, I wasn’t in the sense that my days and my nights were filled with worry about how I was going to work the logistics of going back to work, who was going to look after my child, and whether I could even pluck up the courage to leave Baby Lighty.

And yet, now, looking back, the time has flown, and I have had fun. Shortly after I wrote my post questioning whether I’d wasted my maternity leave, I was lucky enough to get a new job. A new job, which in contrast to the one I was due to go back to, is local to where we live, and is just two days a week. And I know that I’m so incredibly lucky, because on top of this I also really enjoy it. So I have been having fun, and I’ve also been having the best of both worlds, or so it feels.

A year on from Maternity a Leave

A then-9 month old Baby Lighty reading one of my leaving cards from my old job. Yes it does have Boris Johnson on the front. Don’t ask.

And whilst I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am, if I were to go back in time and tell the Mrs Lighty of a year ago a thing or two, it would go a little something like this:

Dear past Mrs Lighty,

Your baby will be absolutely fine in the care of your lovely childminder. In fact, he’ll be more than fine; he’ll have so much fun, make lots of new friends and learn so many new things that you’ll be in awe of all that he achieves with her.

In fact, you’ll realise that he actually gets a lot out of being away from you for a bit and in the care of someone that has Early Years Foundation Stage training. He’ll get to do lots of new things and his speech will come on in leaps and bounds.

Getting a local job will mean that one of your biggest worries – the logistics of how you’ll get yourself and a baby ready in time to get out of the door and into work – will be greatly reduced. Even if you had gone back to your old job, you would have somehow found a routine that would work for you. It definitely takes some planning (packed lunches have to be made the night before, as well as bags packed and clothes lined out), but you can do it. However, you must remember to build in those ten minutes’ contingency time for the days when Baby Lighty decides that it’s a good idea to throw up just as you’re about to go out the door…the perils of a reflux baby!

Going back to work will give you some sanity. It’s lovely to be able to think about something other than playdates and nursery rhymes for two days a week. Oh and there’s also adult conversation and hot tea!

You’ll feel like you’re doing something for you, something which means that you’re contributing to your household income but which will also make you feel like you’re part of a team. A team which understands the perils of parenthood and shows you that employers can be flexible when it comes to working parents.

It’ll also mean that your brain gets more of an exercise than just trying to translate what a toddler wants all day! Of course, there are days when you feel like the biggest dunce in the world (even after a year you still can’t quite find your way around your Mac at work!) and you’ll wonder if your brain will ever return to it’s pre-baby brain, less-foggy state that it is today, but you’ll also learn lots more than you could have imagined by going into an entirely different industry.

You’ll know how incredibly lucky you are to work part time, but you’ll also know that no matter what, you’ll cherish the days off you have with Baby Lighty and will make the most of them.

A Year on from Maternity Leave

Baby Lighty on a trip to our local Gruffalo trail with his childminder. He gets to do lots of fun things with her, for which I’m extremely grateful!

That’s not to say that it’s not a juggle being a working mum. I don’t think it matters if you work from home, run your own business, freelance or go out to the office, there is always a juggle. You’ll always be worrying that you’ve forgotten to do something, and of course your little darling will always decide to have the most unsettled night ever on your working days, because that’s a parenting law of sod.There will still be days when all you really want to do is be a Mummy, like the days when you drop Baby Lighty off to the childminder with an inkling that he’s not quite as well as he should be, but with a great support system around you, you can make it work.

And more than just making it work, you might actually find that you really enjoy it. Besides, there is no better feeling than when you walk through the door at the end of the day, and a certain little someone comes running up to you shouting “Mummy!” and throws his little arms around you!

So embrace this next year and all that it will bring you.

Lots of love, future Mrs Lighty xxx

And that’s the thing, I have really enjoyed it. It’s amazing to look back now and see how far I’ve come. And I know that I write these points from the very lucky position that I’m in. I know that some mums have to go back to work full time to make ends meet, or are the main breadwinners of the family, or go back to a job that treats them unfairly, or have to give up work for one reason or another. But I’m also a strong believer in life having a way of working itself out. The things we worry about today will hopefully have vanished in a year’s time. And I’m pleased to say that I’m in the fortunate position of having hindsight on my side now. The day that my good NCT friend Mrs Newmy shared the job advert on Facebook was the day that fate stepped in and lent me a helping hand. I feel like I’m so incredibly lucky to have had the best of both worlds this past year.

And the moral of this story? Well, if you’re a mummy on the verge of returning to work, please do not worry. In a year’s time, I bet you’ll also be looking back and realising that everything will be ok.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome company that I work for, and the lovely team that I work with, you can do so by visiting the Blue Serif website.

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18 thoughts on “A Year on from Maternity Leave”

    1. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year either!! You were there through the journey so you know how worried I was! It’s definitely worked out for the best 🙂

  1. I remember reading about your return to work like it was yesterday! I’m so pleased that you have found a perfect working balance for you and your family. I am lucky enough to work 2 days a week as well and for me it gives me just enough adult time and purpose to keep me sane, but still allows me so much time to he mummy. Beautiful post Nic. I’m sure this will be so supportive of other parents making that first scary journey back to work. Xx
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    1. That’s exactly how I feel. You get a little bit of sanity but also a great chunk of mummy time. Thanks so much for stopping by as always. I hope it does help others. And you’ve been so much a part of my motherhood journey so far that it’s lovely to have you here xxx

    1. Oh bless you. I hope I have made you feel better and not worse. I’m sure you’ll be absolutely fine. Keep us updated with how you get on? xxx

  2. This is reassuring to read. I go back in June. This is my second baby and I returned 3 days a week in between so I know it will be ok. I can’t help worrying about the practicalities though. I’m guessing like you, it will be ok in the end. #PostsFromTheHeart

    1. Ah I’m sure you’ll be fine. You are no doubt a pro by now!! It’s always the practicalities that are the worry though, aren’t they? Let us know how you get on? Thanks so much for stopping by. #PostsFromTheHeart

  3. Ah how wonderful that it has all worked out so well for you! It’s brilliant when that happens as I know so many families struggle to get the balance right. It makes such a big difference to have a childminder that you all love doesn’t it? My sister has had various childcare options over the years and that was definitely the one that made her happiest! #DreamTeam

    1. Ah thank you so much. It really has worked out well for all of us, and I hope it will continue to work well. I’m glad your sister has found the right childcare for her, too. Thanks for stopping by! #DreamTeam

    1. I know, I just need to invent a time machine for this to be an option to all of us…! Thanks for hosting #CoolMumClub as always xxx

    1. This was totally me too. But you know what? It’s all worked out ok. And I’m sure your return to work will do to. Let us know how you get on when the time comes? Thanks so much for stopping by from #DreamTeam.

  4. I have been back at work for 7 months and the fear of returning is far more than the reality.I enjoy my time away from home and i am a better mummy for it #Postsfromtheheart

    1. Me too. I definitely need those couple of days to give my brain a different focus. Thanks so much for stopping by and for hosting #Postsfromtheheart.

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