It was 6pm on a Sunday night and I was flapping about juggling bathing my little one, getting her ready for bed, breastfeeding and packing hers and mine bags for NURSERY AND WORK! It was here and I would be moving onto a new chapter. I felt a mixture of emotions from anxiety to happiness, but mostly anxiety for sure.
For most of the duration of my maternity leave I had buried my head in the sand about work. I was in a whole new world of motherhood, associating with mums, talking babies and napping! My past career that I had worked so hard for was just brushed under the rug and I was ignoring it, well subconsciously aware but certainly not addressing it. I originally intended to have just 6 months off for maternity leave, but I extended this until 9 months. I just didn’t feel ready what so ever. 9 months meant that I would be going back January 2018, little R would be almost 10 months old and I would also have time to wean and get her sleeping through the night. Plus a very important factor is my statutory government mat pay would have ceased and I would be earning £0!
I managed to get little R sleeping through the night after 6 months which was great as there would be no way I could function on broken 4-6 hours sleep, especially in such a responsible position where people’s health would be at risk. In addition, weaning for us has gone exceptionally smooth (fortunately) so dropping the breast feeding to just twice a day before and after work works very well for us. This was all preparation into her transition to nursery and not being around me all the time. Becoming more independent and I guess, growing up. *cry!
KIT days (keeping in touch days) were extremely useful and I definitely recommend using them to your advantage. Not only does it prepare you for your return, such as refreshing yourself on computer programs, familiarising yourself with your role and keeping in touch with colleagues, but it also gives your little one a chance to be separated from you for a long period. Whether it’s in the nursery or with family, we utilized them well and in addition you get paid! Bonus!
So we opted for a nursery very close to my employment. I chose this particular nursery based on its ofsted report and the vibe I got from the staff and it’s facilities. I was exceptionally lucky to get a nursery at all, I cannot believe people register and put their names down when they are pregnant! As a result I had to base my working days around the nursery days but I couldn’t be fussy and was just grateful we managed to get a space.
That first day. There is no sugar coating it.. it was horrible. I thought I would be ok however after handing over my bubba, I instantly burst into tears and tried to keep strong. Watching her little face as I walked away. I was really upset on the drive to work but felt like I needed a good cry before getting there or I would probably start again.
Although we had 3 settling in days the week before, nothing really prepares you for dropping off your baby with strangers whilst you go off to work. With the added anxiety of your first day back after such a long time. I was like a flappy bird at work and kept checking the time thinking: “shall I call now?”. I decided to call during my lunch that way it was kind of half way through the day. I didn’t want to come across as a needy mother, but I wanted to know she was ok. Knowing full well she would be absolutely fine and I’m the one worrying. Has she eaten? Has she napped? Is she crying? I had to just switch off and get on with my work.
I literally could not get to the nursery quick enough after that first day. I burst through the door to see my little girl in one of the nursery workers arms. Fortunately she was reaching out for me as soon as she had clocked that it was me, which was a great feeling. I talked to her the whole way home as she was screaming back at me. Bath and bed. I was so tired and to think I have to do it all again tomorrow and so does she! I have been back now for almost a month and we are used to our little routine. It doesn’t take long at all to get used to the whole nursery thing, it just means that she gets sick so frequently. Already had 2 colds and a chest infection! I guess this is something I need to get used to.
The only and I say only thing that really grates me down is the extortionate costs of childcare. Almost half of my wages is spent on childcare. Half. I’m left with virtually nothing after my monthly bills and some may question is it worth it? To be frank I am not a stay at home mum (unless I had bucket loads of money to spend doing things)! I obviously don’t and I also don’t want to lose my skill and career that I had worked so hard for at university. I have no other choice at this moment in time and I keep thinking of the positives. Little R gets a lot out of nursery and it does her good mixing with other children, playing, making and learning. I must admit it is nice having “adult” conversation and continuing along with my career, having almost some me time at work. I shouldn’t moan as many other women out there are in the same boat and it is exhausting. We just make sure now that weekends are about family time and the days off that I get, I really do appreciate mother daughter time.
But do you know what? If I can do it, other mammas can do it! Are you a working mum with young children in the same boat? Ild love to hear from you!