This week was my first week back at work after maternity. I had dreaded this day arriving for the last two months and had obsessed over it. However, I surprised even myself for how I coped.
On Sunday night, I had that awful sinking feeling. I knew how hard my job was and how I lacked any work/life balance before I fell pregnant. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able manage to have a relationship with my baby when I would be working constantly. That night, I barely slept. I had awful night terrors (Read Night Terrors – The Unfunny Truth for more about these) which kept myself and my family awake.
Monday morning soon arrived and before I knew it I was waving goodbye. My heart broke as my little one waved at me with glee and then completely ignored me in favour of a game of ‘Slap Dad’. I climbed into my car and broke down. Surely his reaction was a good thing? Why would I want him to be upset? But all I could think was that my baby didn’t care that I was leaving him – and he probably didn’t.
My day at work passed in a flash. I settled right back in and it felt as if I’d never been away. That heavy feeling that morning had completely lifted and I had been so busy that I hadn’t thought about anything but my job. At the end of the school day, I checked my phone and there was a photo of Little T grinning back – my heart began to feel heavy again.
When I arrived home, I was greeted by an over excited baby and felt relief that he was happy to see me!
Tuesday was a little different. I left the house feeling much more relaxed about the situation, went about my day and was soon back at home ready to greet my excited baby. This time Little T wasn’t excited. He gave me a weak smile, held out his hands but then soon wanted to be held by Dad. I crumbled. My husband tried to tell me that he wasn’t well, that he hadn’t had much sleep and that he had smiled so he was obviously happy to see me. All I could think was that my baby hated me. He hated me for abandoning him. He hated me for favouring work over him.
By Wednesday, my heart ached and I didn’t want to leave. T had been really unsettled all night. Not only was I extremely tired but again, the guilt weighed heavy that I was about to leave him again. Was it my fault that he’d been up all night? Am I causing him some sort of psychological harm? It’s sounds crazy but I was convinced that I was harming my baby.
Yet again, my day passed quickly and before I knew it I was back home being greeted again by a very happy baby. T squealed happily. This time, I didn’t feel guilty. My baby was happy.
Thursday and Friday were much easier. I won’t lie, I missed T immensly but the guilt I was feeling was beginning to shift. T was happy to be playing at home and equally as happy to see me. There’ll always be that little demon that tells me I should be home with my baby but I won’t feel guilty about it. Before long, it’ll be the school holidays and I’ll be able to make up for lost time. In the meantime, I’m providing for my baby to give him a better life. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.
See, you did it! It’s hard and you do feel guilty to start with, but it does get easier. X
Ahh I hope so! I’m counting down to the next school holidays – 4 weeks!
I can only imagine how hard it is to come back to work after maternity. Remember, you’re not a mom only, you are human being who has got own life. Leaving baby for couple of hours doesn’t make you selfish. Happy, independent mom= happy baby:)
Aww I remember leaving Elizabeth to for my return to work. I was leaving her overnight and she still usually woke every 2 hours for a breastfeed. I felt terrible.
But she managed fine and actually took a bottle.
I think we all feel guilty for something whatever we do. As a SAHM I constantly ensure my children are attending playgroups and doing things because I don’t feel like I’m enough.
Elizabeth already sees daddy being the one that earns the money and therefore “in charge” in her eyes. I worry that I’m showing her a 1950s relationship. I worry that I’m no longer a person in my own right because every bit of me belongs to the children and I’m rarely without them.
Mine are so seldomly in anyone else’s care but mine that Joshua is likely to be hysterical at his starting nursery in Sept.
I’m learning that motherhood is mainly guilt
And worry. ????
Ah yeah, I remember you saying. As E gets older, she’ll realise that there’s a little more to who’s “in charge” than who brings the money in and remember, you though E would get upset at nursery and she didn’t so fingers crossed for J. I do think you need to have more adult time though!x
It is hard going back to work isn’t it, but sadly needs must. There will always be guilty days (i have to miss eliza’s class assembly this week and she has a big part in it), but I have found it has taught my older ones to have a good work ethic
Oh bless you! Baby T must of just have been having that one day as an off day. He will never hate you for leaving him in safe hands & Going to work! He will be proud of you for doing everything you possibly can to give him a fab life! You sound like a brilliant mum xx
It’s good to read this now as I’m just going though the process of booking a nursery and the guilt is tearing me apart. I haven’t finalised plans with work yet but I’m hoping they’ll let me go part time. It don’t think it’ll make it easier to leave her though, so reading this assures me it’s not just me! I guess as a mum, we all have tough choices to make and getting on with it is the only way to get through! #blogstravaganza
Oh the mum guilt is the worst. I’m sure it will get easier, you’re doing an amazing job. xx
You definitely shouldn’t feel guilty, you are doing what it right for your family and that’s all that matters. You will soon find yourselves in a perfect routine! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx
It sounds to me like you’re lucky; I went back to work when Doll was just 6mo but she never got used to Hus by taking care of her. Even though I was gone usually only 4-6hrs (sometimes more, occasionally fewer), she would scream the entire time until she fell I to exhausted sleep. Luckily (??) 7 months later I got laid off and by the time I found a replacement job, Doll was more ok with Hubby looking after her.
Oh I will! I have lots of plans for when they start school! Sleep being the main one but certainly time to rediscover some interests for myself.
It can be hard when you don’t have anyone to really care for them for a couple of hours with A working away but I have a mental list that I keep adding to!
So glad it went OK for you, I think the first week will probably be the hardest then it will become the new normal. T is such a happy chappy and a cream to look after!!
It’s so difficult leaving your baby. Even though I only work part time it’s still heart wrenching but once I’m at work I actually really enjoy the break. I’m out of mummy mode and it’s nice having some adult conversation. I’m so ready for home by the end of the day though and can’t wait to see my baby girl because I’ve missed her so much. Then I’m on Mummy duty again and I prefer that role so much more! Xxx
I do love my job but I also much prefer playing Mum. Unfortunately, my workplace Couldn’t allow me parttime hours so I’ve had to just suck it up 🙁