Go easy on the return to work girl…

Anyone who I am in regular contact with, or follows me on Instagram will know that we have been having a bit of a rough time of it lately. It turns out that neither me, or Matt are superheroes and we cannot just slip back into our regular working selves while adding in nursery, the illnesses that come with it, and hectic work and life schedules. I have just stepped back into work after a hellish week of shingles, made worse by A having a cough which has kept him up most of the night since he started nursery. Matt has fared no better, and is also recovering from illness.

It struck me that there are probably many parents like us who slam head first into returning to work, only to realise that they are now different; their lives are different and their priorities have changed. This realisation can take a real hit on the mentality (and immune systems!) of even the strongest parent. I have spoken to lots of mums lately about their experiences, and wanted to put something together which reflects mine, and others’ stories about what it is really like to return to work after having a baby.

Please do share this with any girl (or guy!) who is having a rough time of it. You are not alone.

Go easy on the back to work girl.

She will probably walk in with a big smile, a new handbag and the promise of being so excited to have a hot cup of tea and to be able to go to the loo alone.

But she may be hiding other feelings too. Some of those feelings she won’t even know she is hiding yet.

Just go easy on the back to work girl.

She may have left her baby at nursery for the first time.

That baby who has spent every waking minute with her since he was born, just handed over to someone else, likely crying, but she has no choice but to run away as she has to make that 7.59 train.

She will have her phone out all day waiting for the dreaded call, demanding she collect her baby because he has a temperature, or because she has bumped her head.

What will her boss think?

She will assure colleagues

…and herself… that it’s still her, the old her, the pre-baby her.

It may take a while for her to even realise that this is the new her.

The new her who can’t stay for drinks and gossip after work because, having not seen baby all day, she yearns for just one milky cuddle before bedtime.

The new her who feels guilty that she’s paying someone else to look after her child.

The new her who got up at 4.30am just so she can blow dry her hair and do the ironing before everyone else is up.

The new her who was up half the night cradling a baby, inconsolable with yet another nursery cold, while that knot in her tummy tells her she still needs to make that 9am meeting.

The new her who has to express milk during the day- at best in a dedicated room, at worst in a toilet cubicle.

The new her who gives all her energy on a Monday and Tuesday, only to fall asleep in a meeting on Wednesday because she pushed herself too far.

Go easy on the back to work girl.

By week two she will likely have a cold. A sniffle at best, full on flu at worst.

Her baby may have been turned away at the nursery door as “you dont have the correct conjunctivitis medication”.

She will call into work, not knowing what the actual reason for her absence is. Who takes more priority- her or the baby?

She may have other niggles.

Foot pain from walking in heels again.

Headaches from being in front of screens all day.

Sheer tiredness from the relentless monotony of this new life.

She might even be hiding her next pregnancy, not daring to mention it yet as she’s ‘only just come back’.

Go easy on the back to work girl.

She will hopefully receive support from her colleagues

She may meet a brand new network of mum and dad friends who will share her worries and will have ‘been there before’.

Nothing will compare to that first time she picks her baby up from nursery and she is greeted with a big smile rather than tears.

She will eventually settle into some kind of routine. It will all become a new kind of normal. Priorities will change. Previous friendships may fade as others blossom.

That new handbag will get scratched.

It takes time for everything.

She might not be there just yet.

Go easy on the back to work girl.




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