Whether you can’t wait to get back to work, or you have to go back for financial reasons, there’s no doubt that returning to work after maternity leave can be hard.
Sleepless nights coupled with having to get up and out of the door at a reasonable hour definitely start to take their toll on your body, and your mental health.
You’re expected to be on top of your game when you walk through that door at
Returning to work after maternity leave – The first 3 months
I’m a working Mum by necessity, not by choice. I’ve been back to work for 3 months now and, if I’m honest, it hasn’t really got any easier just yet.
I know that doesn’t help much, but bear with me. Things DO get easier, it just takes a little bit of time. You can read my experience of returning to work after a year here.
My main problem is that I don’t like leaving my little boy because I feel like I’m missing out on so much. I had to go back to work when Cupar was 9 months old and I can honestly say that I was dreading it.
Now that we’re all in a bit of a routine, it’s manageable, but it’s still not something that I enjoy.
The first month was definitely the hardest for me. As I’m breastfeeding, my body had to adjust from feeding every hour, to suddenly going for 6 hours while I was at work.
The fact that I can’t cuddle him on the sofa and feed him on demand when he’s not feeling too good really hurts, but we get through it, and at least he has his Daddy at home with him.
Returning to work after maternity leave – My day
Here’s a little insight into what I get up to on a normal work day.
8 pm – 11 pm – Bedtime. We can go to bed anytime from 8 pm to 11 pm depending on what we’re doing and whether Cupar is sleepy or not! We really need to get a better bedtime routine…
12 am – Cupar wakes up for a cuddle and a quick feed.
2 am – Cupar wakes up for a cuddle and a quick feed. Is this boy capable of sleeping for more than 2 hours?
4 am – Cupar wakes up for a cuddle and a quick feed. Again? It’s dark outside, my alarm is going to go off in 2 and a half hours and now I need a wee.
4.30 am – Back in bed after a cuddle, feeding, and wee. Now Aerons awake.
5 am – Aeron has either fallen back to sleep or is now getting dressed to go and sit downstairs while moaning that he can’t get back to sleep.
6 am – Cupar wakes up for a cuddle and a quick feed. My alarm goes off in half an hour and now I’m stressing about having to get up and leave the house in an hour and a half.
6.30 am – Aeron comes upstairs and wakes me to say my alarm is about to go off… I managed to drift off about 5 minutes ago and now I’m awake and want to throw my phone against the wall to shut the stupid alarm up. I resist though as the phone was expensive.
6.35 am – I stumble downstairs in a daze and put the shower on while I clean my teeth. Go to jump in the shower and remember the boiler doesn’t work properly and the water is still cold.
7 am – After battling with the shower and managing to stay awake long enough to wash my hair I sprint through to the living room naked to get dressed, wondering why I can’t just win the lottery and stay at home.
7.30 am – After quickly downing some cereal and haphazardly slapping on some makeup, I run upstairs to wake Cupar up and feed him before I leave for work.
7.45 am – With Cupar and Aeron all nice and tucked up in bed, I go out to the car, get in and brace myself for the rush hour traffic.
8 am (ish) – I walk into work in a stress from swearing at everybody and everything that did something wrong on my way to work. I try not to catch anyone’s eye in the hopes that no one will realise that I am most definitely not a morning person.
8 am – 1 pm – Drink coffee and do some work while keeping an eye on my phone for any messages about Cupar. Try not to cry every time my phone lights up and I see Cupar’s lovely smiley face on my wallpaper – I can’t wait to get home and see him. Try not to cry when Aeron rings and tells me they’re at the park feeding the ducks – I want to be there.
1 pm – Run out of the door and race home while trying not to break any speed limits.
1.30 pm – Walk in the door, breastfeed Cupar and finally have lots of cuddles with him.
During the afternoon I’ll usually share my lunch with Cupar, get some sleep when he has his afternoon nap and then catch up with Aeron while Cupar plays.
It’s not ideal by any means. It’d be great if I could get more sleep, it’d be great if I didn’t have to leave the house at 7.30 am and it’d be great if I could be at home to spend more time with Cupar, but I do the best that I can.
So how can you make your return to work easier?
Well, there are a few things that you can do to ease yourself back into work. First of all, just remember that:
It takes time to adjust and to get into a new routine, so don’t stress if it all seems overwhelming at first.
As mothers, we can frequently feel like we’re not doing a good enough job and we can be too hard on ourselves. I think we sometimes just need to take a step back and realise that we ARE doing a good job.
Whether we work full time, part-time or stay at home, we’re just doing the best for ourselves and for our families.
Believe it or not, there are actually some positives to going back to work. It might not feel like it when you’re preparing to leave the house after 3 hours sleep, but there are some things you can look forward to:
There’s nothing quite like shutting the door and going for a wee in peace. Enjoy a day of being able to do what you need to do without toys being dropped in the toilet, the toilet roll ending up all over the floor, or a toddler opening the door and demanding that you get them a drink RIGHT NOW.
The commute to work
Once you’re finally on the way to work, why not have some you time. Put some music or an audiobook on and relax without having to worry about what your baby/toddler is doing in the back.
Have some chill time before you have to deal with work.
All your conversations lately have probably revolved around poo and/or nursery rhymes right?
Well, when you’re back at work you can look forward to some proper adult conversation. This does usually mean talking about stationary or what everyone watched on TV the night before, but at least it’s not poo hey?
If you usually end up grabbing a quick snack in between feeds or nappy changes rather than a full lunch, then why not treat yourself to some proper food?
Take in some leftovers or buy a sandwich and savour every bite. You could even go for a walk, call a friend for a chat or watch Netflix on your phone. Enjoy having half an hour to yourself.
How did you find returning to work after maternity leave? Did you love it or did you hate it?
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