Just one day to go… how does it feel?
Well my time has come, I’m officially going back to work tomorrow. What a whirlwind this last year has been. It feels like only yesterday I was packing up my desk to go off on maternity leave and now I’m packing my new cream- nothing like a baby changing- H&M handbag ready to go back into the office. It’s time to embark on what has been coined ‘the fifth trimester’ (my re-entry into the working world).
So how am I feeling? Well to be honest I’m not really sure. There are such a mixture of emotions going through my head right now….
I am nervous. I have that knot in my tummy like one might feel on the first day of school. I am full of excited nervousness, yet there is also a side of sadness and fear. Lots has changed at the office over the last year and there are many new faces. Luckily I’ve never been too worried about meeting new people, but there is still that nervousness around trying to fit back in and get to know the new people.
I am anxious. I am anxious about leaving Amelia for a whole day in childcare. So many questions are going through my head… Will she eat enough? Who will give her cuddles if she cries? Will the childminder be able to recognise her signals of boredom, tiredness, etc? Will she get enough attention (but not too much)? Will she miss me? Maybe she won’t even notice I’ve gone… and if so, which is worse?!
I am happy. I look forward to getting back to work, talking to my colleagues, making a difference outside of my close family circle. I will enjoy seeing the fruits of my labour (perhaps more immediately than I do with my baby) in the form of coverage hits and client wins.
I am inspired. I look forward to putting my creative mind into gear and thinking about client campaigns, and then challenging myself when they don’t go 100% to plan. I can’t wait to manage real grown up people, who can talk back to me and feedback on progress. I can’t wait to be told ‘good job’ again, because, let’s face, it mums rarely hear that.
I feel free. I crave the prospect of a car journey into work alone, without having to distract a little person the whole time. I am eager to have some real thinking time, some time to listen to music on full blast. Most of all I can’t wait for the silence. Yet I know as soon as I start on my commute tomorrow, I will keep looking back in the mirror and hankering after Amelia’s company.
I feel sad. Sad that I may miss out on social events with other mums and their babies. I know seeing them chatting about going to the park with their babies on our WhatsApp group will make me feel left out and perhaps a little lonely. I feel sad I may miss milestones with Amelia and sad I will have to leave her every morning.
I feel fearful. What if I can’t make it all work? What if I can’t get anywhere close to a work/ life balance and my family or work suffers as a result. I fear running around like a blue assed fly trying to do it all, but simply not doing anything well enough. I fear failure.
I feel acceptance. Being a working mum is something I have always wanted to do and planned for. And whilst these first few weeks will feel hard, I’m accepting that this is the right thing to do for both me and my family. This is our plan and we are following it through.
I feel prepared. I have done everything I could do to get ready for this day. Amelia has done her settling in days, I have done my KIT days, her lunch is packed in little tupperware boxes, the car is full of fuel and my husband and I know who is doing drop off. I am ready. Well, for day one at least!
I feel relief. I am relieved I have made it through this past year and both Amelia and I are ok (mentally and physically). In fact we are better than ok. I have to admit that I am also slightly relieved that I can hand over the reins to someone who is qualified in children. I can rest easy in the knowledge that someone else can handle messy play for her, tech her new words and deal with her incredibly long mealtimes. Oh and clean up her highchair.
I feel guilty. Firstly I feel guilty for admitting to feeling relieved (above), but I also feel guilty that I’ve chosen to go back to work for ‘me’. Amelia doesn’t have a choice in the matter and so in many ways I am forcing this new life on her. But this is my job as a parent, and this is just the start of many tricky decisions I will no doubt have to make on her behalf.
A cocktail of emotions for sure… None of them right, wrong or wholly unexpected for a new mum heading back to work embarking on her fifth trimester, but certainly all of them very very real. It’s going to be a rollercoaster and I honestly have no idea where I will end up. Here goes…