I knew when I fell pregnant that I would eventually have to return to work and as the day of my return approached I was quite happy for me and Fizz to spend time apart and learn more for ourselves.
I returned to work on a phased return. One month at 2 or 3 days a week, the next at 4 days. It seemed to work out ok at first. Fizz settled in well at nursery, we got through our first major accident, we got ill, had days off, we went back; she without fail welcomed me with open arms when I arrived to pick her up. I returned to work in a new role, with a restructured department. The challenge of building up my role all over again was something I was relishing.
Then I started to miss that stay at home mamma time. I missed mornings when we’d roll around the floor, cuddle up for nap time. I missed my baby. I was signed off.
Desperate for an excuse to explain my loss of self I had blood tests; nothing came back as a reason. I spent three weeks away from work trying to rediscover myself. Find Chelle again. It is difficult to explain to others how you lose yourself, how pregnancy and motherhood change you, how drastic that change feels when you’re thrown back into the real world. Other Mums will probably nod their heads at this. I never felt like I was alone, instead my little twitter community of mums discussed their experiences with me.
I realised that this was really about me finding my adult self again and spent three weeks immersing myself into projects for me as well as mummy and wife.
I have returned to work again and this time I feel better about it. I have a day off midweek and Friday afternoons. Some time is for me, some time is for mummy, daddy and daughter. I am learning how to balance it into time for myself, family time, husband and wife time.
The balancing act will always be a balance, sometimes tipping more one way than the other. So I have some tips to share:
Try and have non baby focussed time whilst pregnant and when you become a mummy, don’t worry, at some point your focus will tip fully towards baby. Try and find time to do something for you.
Talk to your work about a flexible working plan – some will provide a phased return or a temporary/permanent change in contract. Make sure you ask before your return to work so they will appreciate your openness. Put it all in writing!
As told to me in a lovely email – the housework can wait. I was getting home from work and would finally settle down knackered at around 9pm (cooking, washing, sterilising, cleaning)
Hire a cleaner! Having looked, you can get one for around £8 an hour. If you haggle you can get a fortnightly clean for £30 a month. It may seem a great expense but anything that helps you regain a bit of sanity is worth it.
Do not forget about the daddy – he needs you to be his partner too. Neglecting your relationship will leave you wondering where you stand with each other.
Your baby is your world but it does not have to revolve around them. Organise a regular date night, a mummy free night, a girl’s night out: something where it’s all about YOU, YOU, YOU.
And finally BE HONEST, we all know it’s hard work juggling, but I have found how much worse it is when you just try and cope. If you need support ask for it. Speak Up.