Returning to work after maternity leave can be quite stressful to some mums but for others as much as they love their children they can’t wait to get back to work and be “them” for a few hours rather than “mum”. I have gone back after maternity twice now and both times were very different. After Ra-Ra was born I went back to a job where I knew the staff, the job and it felt very much like my colleagues were family. This time after Button; I went into a whole new job where other than the basics of the job (once worked in care the basics are always the same) I didn’t know anyone, new paperwork and a new location. I feel very much like the outcast the typical new girl in the films of the 2000’s I grew up watching. Trying to join in with already established cliques.
Whilst everyone seems nice it is hard to try and interact when if I’m honest I would rather be at home with my kids and blogging in my down time but in reality that isn’t going to pay the bills. I do enjoy the time being Stephie but I still do the typical wife/mum thing of all my conversations revolve around the kids and 00Steve. My social life is literally going to the local pub quiz with my mates from the village.
Originally we thought Button would go into nursery with his sister once my maternity ended and it truly is an amazing nursery but due to my shifts and even with 00Steve changing his shifts it has had to come to an end. Luckily the nursery manager really bent over backwards for me in the lead up to starting work as she understood the waiting for police checks and the inevitable waiting for someone to give a start date. If I was on more than 21 hours I would have kept him in as I wouldn’t be worried about money. He had a month of nursery and if I’m honest part of me was glad he now is at home.
I would get up at 6:20 am get the bottles ready, pack the kids bags, get any bits ready for 00Steve that I could, make us both a coffee, then go get the kids up. I would literally see them both for 20 mins a day as my shift would be 2:30 pm. It was horrible, I can’t imagine what it is like for those that don’t see their kids daily. In fact 00Steve would only see Ra-Ra for 2 hours before he went to work when he did lates, which he wouldn’t want to go back too.
With Ra-Ra I worked 00Steve’s days off and I worked nights which meant we still got some family time if I wasn’t too tired or after I had been to sleep. Not that sleep happened much before my surgery because I was in too much pain. She only went to nursery before she got the 15 free hours at 3 years old to cover the transition period of 00Steve starting work and me finishing. Then we put her in the excellent nursery when he swapped to days so that he could be around on a night to allow me to take my morphine. We haven’t looked back putting her in on the days because I got some sleep and when Button came along I got to spend some one on one time with him. She was also like 18 months maybe a bit older when we put her in nursery so it felt like my left arm was gone when Button went in for his taster sessions. Again probably another reason I’m glad for him to be at home.
I to an extent don’t feel like I have had much of a maternity leave as blogging to me is a job it may not pay the bills but it is a job I enjoy, it is cathartic, I can be both Stephie and Polie Bear (00Steve’s nickname for me its an oxymoron really as I’m always cold but Polar Bears aren’t and according to him I’m hyper aggressive lol I blame the BPD) and last but certainly not least Mummy without any judgement or not that I’m aware of!
Hopefully as long as I persevere with this job and keep doing what I’m supposed to be doing my colleagues may get to know me for me and although I don’t ever think it will get to the levels it did in my last two jobs where the staff were super close; I’m sure it will become easier. But then again since my maternity leave ended my kids are either with their Dad who in my opinion is the best Dad ever to them or with my parents they are always well looked after. My in laws don’t have the same flexibility as my parents do but even then I know they would be again looked after and I know not everyone has that kind of familial support network so I am unbelievably grateful to them.
What was it like for you going back to work after maternity leave? Or were you able to be a stay at home mum either because of illness or circumstance?