I’m going back to work in 7 days’ time. This day week. After a prolonged, protracted, extended 13 months maternity leave I am finally getting back to the grindstone. I know it’s the right thing to do, both for Maggie’s social needs and my financial ones, but I’m still nearly sick at the thought.
However, I have been weighing it up carefully in my head (as Librans do) and have come to the conclusion that it is, indeed, time to go back to work. Here are the reasons why.
1. I need to break the cycle of Mummy Time = Wine Time
I am aware that I am washing a crystal wine glass along with the baby bottles most nights. Because I don’t do Monday mornings, I think I am permanently on my holidays and therefore act accordingly. Just because I never know what day it is, doesn’t mean I should always assume it’s Friday or nearly Friday. My liver needs the break.
2. I have too much time on my hands for nonsensical conversations
Like when I phoned customer service at Sainsbury’s to complain about the way the Ham Slicer Person treated me at the Delicatessen. I explained to the nice young gentleman on the phone that normally his staff are the epitome of friendliness and that I was a seasoned customer, being in his store at least twice a week and, no, I didn’t want this to go any further, I was just making him aware of how rude this person was to me and how I hoped it would never happen again. I put down the phone and thought, ‘I need to go back to work’.
3. I don’t have enough time on my hands, full stop
I met a mummy friend last week who went back to work in January when her baby was seven months old and we discussed my impending return to work. She assured me that she feels more rested now that she is back to full-time employment than when she was a full-time carer of her duck. I can see how that works. I stagger to bed far too late every night after a very active, intense, wonderful day changing, cleaning her teeth, dressing, playing, singing, reading, cooking, cleaning, feeding, bathing and- now Maggie is up on her feet- running after her. I have never been this active at work. No sooner have I gotten her to sleep than it’s time to make the dinner, eat it (washed down with a glass of vino of course), clean up and make up the baby bottles for the morning. Sometimes I fit in the ironing, or a quick jog around the houses, but not very often. I have an item on my to-do list that is over six months old, I kid you not. I’m quite looking forward to sitting on my arse for a bit.
4. I struggle to make a decision
I am generally not very good at making decisions anyway, as my star sign dictates. But I now deliberate every decision I make on the basis that I am still learning on the job and don’t know all the answers. Hence I have been known to take up to 2 hours debating what to have for lunch, what to make Maggie for lunch, what to have for tea, what to make Maggie for tea. I find it hard to decide whether to go to the swings, the shops, the library, Miss Hannah’s music class, the deer park or the duck pond. Sometimes we just hop on the bus and see where it takes us.
5. I can’t stop eating cake
The good news is that, since being on maternity leave, I now host a mean afternoon tea complete with homemade banana cake, caramel shortbread or chocolate brownies and served on a vintage-style tea set. The bad news is that I’m having afternoon tea with one of my stay-at-home mummy friends or actor friends (both of whom are free during the day) at least three times a week, and so over the course of the last 13 months I’ve eaten my body weight in cream buns and chocolate brownies.
My cholesterol needs the break.
6. I miss my handbag
I didn’t think I would but, after such a long time using Maggie’s nappy bag as my handbag, I’ve come to miss having a bag which has nice, girly things inside like perfume and lippy. I’ll have to stick a packet of baby wipes and a spare muslin into my handbag though as I’d feel naked without them now.
7. I’m addicted to Tea
One of the implications of hosting and attending so many afternoon tea parties or simply meeting folks for a cuppa at Costa, is that I am now absolutely addicted to the stuff. I have always loved tea, but now if I have a busy morning and don’t have a cup by 2pm I get all twitchy and moody so I suspect I may have a bit of an addiction. And while I’m not looking forward to cutting down the quantity of tea I consume, I am looking forward to actually drinking a cup while it is still hot.
8. I’m on the Baby Weaning Diet
Ever since we have started on the difficult journey to baby weaning, my lunches have consisted of anything Maggie has discarded. Considering what a picky eater she is, that can be anything from leftover vegetable soup, cauliflower and broccolli mush, Farleys rusk, rice cake with Philly cheese to fish pie or lasagne. Today I ate a bowl of discarded peas and half a fish finger for lunch. I’m looking forward to the lunchtime joys of Pret a Manger once again.
9. ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ might stop playing in my head
Or it might not. I think it is doomed to play on repeat in my head forever. Oh well, it will make for an interesting conversation with my boss if I start humming it subconsciously during a meeting.
10. I’ll enjoy the break
One hour’s lunch break? A commute to work with no distractions, no baby in tow, just ‘me time’ and Radio 2? The chance to read the Family section of Saturday’s Guardian in one go, without it taking all week (and it’s only 8 pages long). Ok, so I’ll most likely spend my lunch hour doing the shopping, but hell what a luxury. I’ll have that thanks.
Still feeling a bit sick about it all. Being with Maggie is like walking through a rainbow or drinking a cup of tea in the sun – sheer delight. I am going to miss my little girl like mad.
Nearly 6 days now and counting…..