Decisions, decisions – returning to work after maternity leave!
9 months is up Linz, you have lived in a bubble of daytime TV, biscuits and cuddles and now you have to deal with the decision of what to do about returning to work. The mum guilt you already feel day to day is heightened with the sense of the impact going to work has on your whole family, financially and emotionally and everything in between and then you have the voice of ‘society’ confusing things a whole lot more. What the hell do I do?
For me, maternity leave this time was a lot different second time around. I KNEW how fast it goes and how much I didn’t appreciate this with Lilly under the crushing PND and PTSD and quite frankly I couldn’t wait to go to work again to have some normality and some escape from my own brain and pretend I was normal.
This time was harder. It went super fast as expected and I really enjoyed bonding and breathing in every last bit of this gorgeous baby I had made. I loved picking up Lilly from school and going to her little craft afternoons and Christmas plays. But also for me, maternity leave did bring a degree of loneliness. Yes, I could have gone to baby groups etc but they are a no for social anxious me. I had my blog and Instagram has allowed me to talk and meet some real lovely people who are virtual best friends just like me, but when I wasn’t being social online, I started to become plagued with anxious and intrusive thoughts that still eat away at me every day. If maternity leave became permanent, I knew I would spiral. I would hate the thought of not being able to provide financially and for me that is a very personal decision. I saw approximately 3 people a day on the school run who are lovely mums and great to talk to but its short lived, we all have to grab the kids and go. Everyone has lives.
Thinking on, now I have been back for around 3 weeks. Here is why I returned and I know I made the right choice:
- I get an hour a morning, in peace to get ready, I get to put makeup on and feel like I haven’t been dragged through a hedge. I get to look presentable and feel less like Jabba the hutt.
- I get in the car and I get to listen to MY music, full whack and sing my heart out. If I wanna pretend to be every member of the Backstreet Boys or Eminem I damn well can and I own it.
- I get at least an hour of breaks that are UNINTERRUPTED. I get a hot cup of tea and I even got to read a couple of chapters of a book. This would never ever happen at home. Even when I did get time I would see the crap in the house that needed sorting and guilt myself into chores.
- I am busy, I am not sat in the same room, allowing this new anxiety to consume me, I am not googling symptoms every 2 minutes or scrolling the internet.
- I get to talk to people and socialise and that just makes a whole lot of difference. I don’t think about my anxiety and although that is helped by medication, this does make a handy distraction.
- I am Linz, I am not Mummy or mumumumum or a wife or Lillys Mum. I am me. I really struggled with the loss of identity as a mum at first and it made me lose myself. At work I can be me again. (well professional me)
Obviously, we are very lucky that I was able to return to shifts that fit in with us and I know that childcare is hugely expensive for some who can’t go to work because of this and have to deal with the struggles that come with staying at home. I like to think this balance of working 2 days a week will benefit us all and I can be Mum and Linz.