Returning to work: What I’m looking forward to. 

With less than one week to go until I return to work, I’m actually feeling alright about not only returning to work, but leaving T at nursery (maybe it’s because they’ll then be dealing with a teething baby).

Taking myself out of the role of ‘mum’, there are actually a few things I’m looking forward to when I return to work:

1. Hot drinks. 

I never thought I’d miss something so much as I do a hot drink. Drinks these days are either thermonuclear or luke warm, and are hardly ever consumed at a relaxing pace.

A poor excuse for a coffee

A poor excuse for a coffee

2. Completing a task.

I’m forever completing tasks, but never the original task I planned to do. Breakfast? In between that I would have diverted to put the washing up away, diverted to put a wash on, and walked T around the lounge a few times; thus leading to point 1.

Returning to work will mean starting something and finishing it without getting interrupted.

3. Adult conversation (that doesn’t include baby talk). 

I’m so proud of T, so of course I’m going to want to shout it from the rooftops, not to mention talk about the stresses of parenthood, but every now and again I miss chatting about non-parenting matters.

The other day, whilst chatting with friends, our topic of conversation went from feminism, to music, to our favourite sandwiches. It was brilliant. It gave me a break from being “mum”.

4. Me time. 

Although work will be work, so I won’t necessarily be able to think about much else, I know I won’t be thinking about what I’m doing for T’s dinner, or that I need to get that white vest out of the bucket of vanish.

5. Clean clothes. 

After a day with T, I often look like someone who’s just completed a bush-tucker trial; with debatable stains on my top, and crusty patches on my jeans that I can’t remember putting there.

I’ll be wearing a uniform at work which not only means that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear, but it’s unlikely I’ll end my shift with sticky stuff on me (unless I miss my mouth whilst eating a jam doughnut).

6. Missing T. 

This sounds like an odd one, but hear me out.

At the moment I spend every day with T, so I don’t often get a chance to really “miss him”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t aim to get rid of him, but the only time we part ways is when T is in bed, and even that is short lived as he often still wakes in the night.

Going to work will give me a chance to miss him, and him miss me (hopefully).

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There’s no doubt about it that the first few weeks are going to be tough, especially on days when T isn’t happy about being left, but thinking about the above points is going to make it easier (for me, anyway), not to mention the fact that I genuinely think nursery will be good for T. He’ll make new friends, and learn new things.

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How did you cope returning to work? What made it easier for you? What did you look forward to?

K

Maternity Leave: More Than Just Babies. 

With less than two weeks to go until the dreaded return date, I wanted to reflect on what maternity leave has been like for me (in a nutshell, mind you. We don’t want to open THAT can of worms).

Maternity leave. It’s a big one. Not just in time; although for some it isn’t, but in meaning. When you go on maternity leave there’s this HUGE expectation that you have, let’s face it, a lot of time off. Time off that you think will last a lot longer than it actually does. It doesn’t. Time off that you think will give you a chance to “get stuff done”. You don’t.

 

I just tidied up!

More often than not, there’s this assumption that maternity leave will be this magical time filled with Instagram worthy moments, and days that flow nicely from start to finish. Sure, some days are like that. Some days you will just “win”. But other times you’re just happy you’ve got to the end of the day.

Maternity leave is far from a holiday, which is why you have to take the little things as a gain, although for me they’re definitely not “little things”. Instead of thinking what you haven’t done, remember what you have done. 

Here’s what my maternity leave looked like in addition to, of course, keeping a baby alive:

Blogging.

I started blogging to document our TTC journey and capture T growing up. Little did I know that I would still be doing it years to come and that I would gain several friends from the process!

Babywearing.

Before T was here, babywearing was alien. A skill there was no way I’d be able to master. In fact, I thought the buggy would be my friend. But thanks to an idiot dog who likes to run in front of the buggy, and a Velcro baby, I quickly got into babywearing. So much so that I now hear myself telling S about the different threads and carriers, and how much of an “investment” they are.


My OCD

Before babies I had a strict routine. Not just related to timing, but how I would deal with certain scenerios. For some reason, with all the chaos that comes with babies, my OCD has been toned down a little which has been one of the biggest leaps for me. A relief, in fact.

It was a genuine concern of mine, when I was pregnant, that I wouldn’t be able to cope with having to prepare a baby bag as well as check that all the plugs in the house were switched off. I still have bad days, but more often than not I do ok managing a baby and my OCD.

TV

Oh the TV. Some would say the TV is counter productive but I love TV. I defend my opinion with the fact that I don’t watch trash TV. Sure, I don’t watch University Challenge, but I watch shows that require some thought (that’s my defence, anyway).

Over the past 11 or so months, I’ve watched several box sets (they’re almost like books, right?) as well as films I never got to watch the first time round. These are genuine accomplishments for me as I rarely got to watch much telly whilst working shifts. They’ve kept my brain ticking as well as let me escape back into the land of Kate for a while.

Reading

I LOVE READING. Like the TV (kinda), books let me escape for a bit. Not only do they take me into a new world, but they also take me to a hotel poolside or the beach. To me, books aren’t just about the subjects they’re about.

Thanks to my bucket list challenge, I’m trying really hard to make use of nap time and feeds to read.

Since T was born, I’ve read six books. SIX. Adult books at that. That’s not bad going for me considering I was regularly interrupted as soon as T hit 3 months or when I went weeks without out picking up a book because of other commitments.


New friends

This is a big one for me, and probably the most life changing one. Parenting can be a lonely place, despite being part of the biggest club in the world. You can go to all the groups in the world but as soon as that group is over, you’re back at home. Alone.

I’ve been very lucky over the past 12 months and have gained some genuine friends. Friends from the blogging and the “real” world. They have kept me company. They have kept me sane.

 

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New friends

So there we have it. My maternity leave. It looks pretty bleak in black and white, but it’s hard to put into words what it’s been like emotionally. It’s been one hell of a ride.

When I first started my maternity leave back in February 2015 I had no idea what to expect (apart from said baby… eventually). I didn’t think I’d be so busy, I didn’t know I’d doubt myself so much, I didn’t think I’d need more than S to keep me company – I’ve always been really independent.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard. But, if I’m being honest, I’ve enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve completed a dozen marathons and still wanting more.

It feels like an end of a era, but it’s only the beginning!

Do you agree? What else did you gain from your maternity leave?

K

Maternity Leave

I’ve been on maternity leave for two weeks now and still have a week and a half until fidget’s due date. I thought I would go stir crazy, but it so far it’s not been too bad.

Maternity leave is still such an alien thing to me as well as not going back to work. I’m used to having 3-4 days off from work in a row so it’s not the time off I’m not used to, it’s the fact I’m not going back at all for at least a year!
I’m also so used to cramming jobs in on my rest days that I’m finding it difficult to now spread the load so that I don’t a) over do it early on and b) have nothing to do by week 4!

So far, the last two weeks have consisted of;

Cleaning (Of course it would consist of cleaning – you all must know me well enough by now). Apart from days when I need to hoover; which is sometimes an all day task if I do the whole house as well as the dusting/polishing in between, I’m making myself spread out certain yearly tasks (like clearing out the cupboards and cleaning them, cleaning the extractor fan above the oven, etc.) to throughout the whole week so I give myself just the one thing to do in a day.

Writing
Out of nowhere I’ve found things to write about as well as the time to do it.

Reading
Again, because I now don’t have to cram housework into my rest days, I have time to read. At the moment, I’m reading the second Game of Thrones book and A Casual Vacancy.

Cooking
To keep my brain active, I’ve been regularly raiding our cook books to find new meals to serve the wife for when she gets home from work. So far, I’ve cooked a range of soups, pies, as well as played/improved old recipes.

Packing
I think I’ve probably packed, unpacked, and re-packed my maternity bag a few times and to be honest, I still don’t know if I have everything. I also have a bag for fidget, as well as a third bag that contains snacks, books, iPad, iPod, and stuff for S.

Catchup TV
When I’m not doing the above, I’m simply trying to catch up on boxsets that I’ve never got round to watching and should do. So far, I’ve watched Season 1 of The Wire (the remaining seasons were then deleted when our Sky box got upgraded – ARGH! – and now I can’t get them back because Sky have deleted them from On Demand – ARGH!!), Seasons 1-2 of Sherlock (still waiting for Season 3), Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother, and I’m currently watching Hannibal. Any recommendations would be great. I’m quite keen to start Downton Abbey and Broadchurch.

Over the next few weeks, so I don’t go stir crazy, I also hope to also pop out and see some friends and family.

After all this, I should have then finally passed my due date. With this, I will no doubt want remain inside… just incase. Maybe I’ll re-pack my maternity bag again.

K