Before I start, I want to clarify one thing, I’m making the assumption here that I’m normal, that the way I’m feeling is felt by others – maybe not everyone, but others. That maybe if there was a focus group and a mean “feeling” was ascertained I’d fall somewhere within 10 per cent. That clarification out of the way, I need to spill the beans on how I feel about going back to work, because it has thrown me and I’m hoping it will reassure others feeling the same way because … it’s normal, right?
When baby girl was eight weeks old I was yearning for work. I longed for the structure in my days, the thinking about strategy, structure and form – none of which presented itself in the newborn fog. Then, one day, I didn’t want to be anywhere else but within immediate grasp of my beautiful girl. It didn’t happen overnight (in fact, if I’m honest, it took me about six months to stop thinking about work), but all of a sudden I have found myself feeling this deep pull from within whenever I am away from her.
I know I shouldn’t be surprised. We are told to prepare for this. But I am. I thought I would be one of those people who could not wait to go back to work, who would struggle with a year off. It turns out I’m one of those Mums who can spend hours watching their baby and doing little else. Who yearns to play with them when they’re asleep, misses them when they’re not near and feels an indescribable heartache at the idea of being away from them four days a week.
Fortunately, I love my job. I thrive on it. So at least I’m not going back to something I dread. Quite the opposite. And the idea of sitting at my desk, sipping a HOT latte, reading my emails and structuring my day around meetings and a solo lunch break sounds like bliss. What I’m struggling with is the fact that little miss won’t be with me. That I will see her a mere two hours a day if I’m lucky. That, after a year of being a stay-at-home Mum, I have to trust my husband, my Mum and my childcare centre/nanny to look after her. In short, I’m struggling with the idea that it’s time to start letting go.
What is getting me through this is saying to myself, “people do this every day”. They do. I have friends who work full time with kids. I know people who come home from work so late they don’t get to see their kids at all (I, on the other hand, am often back in the door at 5.30 – through efficiency, not laziness, I want to be clear!). I am lucky. I really am. Yet that doesn’t stop the wishing that this Saturday my numbers will come up and I’ll be an instant millionaire who can stay at home and work on my writing while being the primary caregiver. I even go so far as to hope a benevolent stranger will gift me a fortune so I can stay at home with miss.
Deep down I know going back to work is the right thing. The good thing. I know that staying home full time for another year will do nothing to alleviate my “brain fog”. I know that sharing the care between myself and my husband will be good for our marriage. I know that missy having two days of socialising in daycare will be great for her development. I know having a day with her Gran will be treasured. I know all this, but I can’t help but wish time would just slow down a little bit.
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