Your maternity leave is on the horizon and you’ve decided to take a whole year off.
The day finally arrives and after the struggle of trying to keep up whilst carrying a humungous belly around with you on your commute, its time to enjoy day 1 of 365…
Your spring clean is in full swing and you have literally scrubbed your house within an inch of its life. The baby’s clothes have been washed, ironed and folded more times than your mums old towel she’s had since 1865 and you’ve stocked the freezer with pre made dinners ready for the months ahead. Your prep is done and re done and done again!
Then comes the wait…the aggonising wait that leaves you wondering with every flinch, kick or tiny bit of wee that slips out (yes that happens towards a the end!) whether this was it! Was this baby coming!!!??
Just when i’ld given up waiting and totally got my head around the fact that it just wasn’t going to happen and I would quite possibly end up being pregnant forever, my waters broke! It was midnight and I still wasn’t sure if this meant the baby was coming or i’ld just wet myself?
Nope. The baby was definately coming, all be it not for another long painful 38 hours when we welcomed a tiny wrinkley baggy skinned boy into the world via C section.
And maternity leave was now official…I was a mummy and I had almost a year to nurture my new baby and watch him get a little personally. How lucky was I!
Nobody can prepare you for the amazing, exhausting, excillarating ride ahead. The ride that takes you on such a journey to the deepest of places in your heart that suddenly you wonder if you new what love really was before this moment. The ride that has lots of ups and downs but you could stay on it forever!
Until those 365 days are over and it’s time to return to work! Where the fuck did that go!?
In the time I had with my baby whist on maternity leave, we built a bond that is so unbelievably incredible that words fail me. I’ve watched my baby grow, learn and go through developmental leaps, as well as reach milestones, smile for the first, start eating, sit up on his own, roll over and much much more…looking back over the year, we’ve had a ball, despite the days that he just wouldn’t settle, the ridiculous weird colorued dirty nappies I’ve changed and being wee’d on more times than I’ve showered! The year was totally mind blowing!
The call comes from work and you’ve agreed the terms for your return…and then it hits you…I’m going to have to leave my baby!
The search for the best childcare options is on! Childminder? Nursery? Nanny? Oh god, where do I start!
We decided on a nursery due the hours I needed and not being able to find a childminder locally that had the availability I needed at this time. So I arranged a visit. It was lovley, the staff were friendly, the place was clean, the food encouraged a healthy balanced diet, they were graded outstanding by Ofsted and the children all looked like they were having fun. So I signed up and our settling in sessions began.
The first session was relatively short and I stayed with him the whole time, wondering how on earth I was going to get up and leave him in the hands of people I didn’t know a few days a week whilst I went to work…how did parents do it? The second session I was encouraged to leave him for a while, and so with a heavy heart, I kissed him goodbye and left the room…he didn’t give mummy a second look! I went 20 metres round the corner (literally…just incase) and for the the first time since becoming a mummy, I had my nails done! Yep, I did and although it was lovely I spent the whole time checking my phone incase they had called. Did I have signal? Did I write my number down correctly?
I returned to see my little boy having fun, without mummy! As heartbreaking as it was for me that he felt he was ok without me, he was enjoying himself and quite frankly didn’t give a shit about me. I suppose it’s better than watching him have a melt down!
The first day of work arrived and the morning routine was totally out of sorts, not to mention that we were staying in a hotel waiting for the keys to our new house we were waiting to complete on any day now! His nursery bag was packed and it was time to do it…it was time to go to work! (Waaaaaa!!!)
The car journey was mainly spent keeping things as normal as possible trying to reassure my precious little one that it would be ok and that mummy would be back at the end of the day. We arrived at nursery and it was time to go in…
The girls were lovely and Archie seemed ok, so ok infact that he went off playing without giving me a second glance. We stayed for a little while to check he was happy and reluctantly, after quite a lot of pushing and bugging from my husband, we left, closing the door behind us! I should have worn waterproof mascara!
The tears began and my freshly done makeup which I managed to put on (a rarity but I couldn’t turn up to work after a year looking worse for wear) was totally ruined!
Standing on the platform I could literaly feel my heart bleeding! I was hurting, hurting so much! It’s like I’ld lost a limb and il’d only been gone 10 minutes. Would he be ok? What would happen when he realises I wasn’t there in a few hours?, Will they change his bum regularly?, Will the other children be kind to him? Should I just go home? The questions were endless and they whirled around in my brain over and over. I knew he’d be ok. I wouldn’t have left him if I really had any doubt.
Stood on the station platform watching trains come and go waiting for mine was tourture. I could almost see the nursery building in the distance hoping I was making the right decision, besides, I was going back to work so we could give him everything we possibly can, right?
The train pulls in and it’s the last chance to back out…I got on.
I sat down and for the first time in a year, listened to the driver tannoy over that there were delays. Of corse there were! Here we go again!
My first day at work was mainly spent crying, putting on a brave face and inundating nursery with calls to check up on him, longing for the clock to reach 5.30pm so I could get back to him. The weeks followed and were very similar, people said this would get easier!!?
Then came the days when separation anxiety kicked in and he would just sob at the nursery gates whilst climbing up to my head refusing to let go of whatever part of me he had clung onto (usually my hair or kneck but occasionally a boob…that hurt!). If it wasn’t bad enough before, things just got cranked up a notch.
Walking away from your baby who is sobbing just wanting you to stay with them has to be THE hardest thing I have ever had to do. It goes against every instict in your body and tugs so hard at those heart strings it makes you feel sick. Your whole body goes into melt down and you question everything. Was this worth it? Could we live in a shoe like the little old lady to keep the costs down?
Despite all of this and a year down the line, it doesn’t get much easier. It still breaks my heart to leave him 3 days a week (even though he has fun). When he falls ill with a cold or just doesn’t want to leave me on the odd day he’s not feeling 100% and would much prefer to cuddle up on the sofa with mummy (me too!), those are the worst days…those are the days that I stand on that platform and once again have to deal with the guilt of being a working mum, along with the pain that shoots through my heart like someone has burst it! Then you see a mum taking her toddler to London for the day and it deflates you even more!
But, he has fun with his friends, he is learning to be very independant (and stubborn) and the bright little boy he is, is flourishing and excelling himself…I couldn’t be prouder. So the days when I feel like the worst mother in the world, I know when I pick him up later and see his little face light up whilst he tells me what he has done that day, that I will remember why I work in the first place. To make sure my children have all that I can give them. That includes the time away from us to allow them to be independant, put into practice what mummy and daddy has taught them, learn about the world around them, open up opportunities for them and come to realise that no matter what happens, we will always come back.
Some people enjoy going back to work to surround themsleves with people called ‘adults’ and engage in adult conversation. Some people need to to just be them for the day. Some people enjoy the ‘break’…besides, mummy’s do make the best employees! We can multi task (there’s never just 1 thing to do at any one time), we are punctual (God help you if dinner isn’t served for 4.30pm and you have a hungry toddler on your hands!), we work super well under pressure (pressure? What pressure?), negotiation skills that only top players could posses (if you let me change your bum without fuss all day, you can have lots of TV time at the weekend) and we have more stamina than a kangaroo that can hop 15-20 at a time and stay at full speed for 20 miles! (our working day is 24hours), 9-5 you say? No problem!)…but me, personally, I have my days that I’d prefer to be home with my toddler engaging in coversation about diggers, poo and battling to change bums!
But needs must sometimes and it’s ok. It’s ok because you’ve made sure your children know you love them. It’s ok because you’ve made sure they know you will back. It’s ok because despite the shaky bottom lip, they have fun. It’s ok because even though you teach them, they are still learning without you. It’s ok because they are making friends. It’s ok because they are learning to be independant. It’s ok because they are getting prepared for school…It’s ok because they are loved.
Love Yawning Mummy ❤️