I've been sitting here, really thinking about how I feel about this. People ask me now with increasing regularity when I am returning to work. For some time I enjoyed saying "not until next year!", but now the time has come and I am counting the remainder of my maternity leave in days rather than months.
My childcare is sorted, and might I say at this point that I am blessed with angelic in-laws without whom our lives would be very different (read, worse) so in that respect we are beyond blessed. My eldest is now at school, my middle child spends the afternoons at nursery and my daughter lives it up with cuddles galore at Grandma and Grandads. Perfect.
When I left work last year to come onto maternity leave, there was a lot of uncertainty about the role I would ultimately return to. The company is going through some major changes and this raised the possibility of redundancy, new roles or relocation. I was so stressed when I left as a result. Not only was I dealing with the chronic pelvic pain from my SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) but I had to deal with the very real chance that I wouldn't be able to provide for my family financially. That stress made me into a person I didn't want to be; uncooperative, argumentative and extremely anxious.
Thankfully I managed to let that go and have enjoyed my maternity leave far more than I even imagined. My daughters birth was incredible and I've also been able to devote time to my 3yo with his developmental stuff and hospital to-ings and fro-ings that I would have found so hard to do had I been working.
I've been known to say flippantly that I'm going back to 'reality' when talking about my return to work. And I think in a way it really was like that with my elder two. With Jayden, I returned to work when he was just under 6 months, Reuben was 7 months. The time off seemed to fly by so quickly, before I knew it I was sat behind my desk again as if I'd never been away, with just some photos to prove I'd ever left. Real life was sat there waiting for me while I took time out to play at happy families.
This time feels different. Although I've never felt the 'g' word about returning to work, (guilt for the uninitiated), there is definitely a different... something... going on here. I've been trying to put my finger on it and the only way I can think to articulate it is to say that I finally feel comfortable in my own skin as a mother, I'm not feeling I have to justify my enjoyment of it by answering the "what do you do?" question with an explanation of what I do besides mothering.
It's not to say that I don't get some fulfilment from working outside the home (and let me say right now I get NO fulfilment from cleaning the bathroom at home, domestic goddess is NOT my alter ego) but I guess my reality has shifted.
I enjoy my work but its just a small part of me. It's just a hat I put on.
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