So that’s it – my maternity leave is over. I am struggling to believe it’s done – it seems like yesterday I was waiting for Sophie to arrive, and now she’s happily spending her days with her brother and Jacqui, our childminder. We’ve had no issues at all with her settling in – so it’s an enormous relief that I don’t have to worry about her. There have been no tears when we’ve left her, and are greeted with lovely big grins and flapping arms every evening. I know that’s going to be a real highlight of my day!
I have quite mixed thoughts about returning to work this time – perhaps it’s because I am sure that my little family is now complete so I this is my last time off with a baby! I’ve been reading back in my blog about my return to work with Alex back in 2011, and I remember being so excited about getting back into the company of adults. I found the first few months of his life incredibly difficult and it took me a long time to feel like I was coping with my new life as a mum.
As another blogger I love to read writes so much more eloquently than me, I feel so much more calm and confident second time round. I’ve loved the first few months with Sophie and I’m sad that I don’t get to spend all my time with her as she grows and develops.
But I had always intended returning to work once Sophie was 6 months old, just as I did with Alex. Many people choose to take longer, especially other mums around Dulwich, but I feel that this is the right amount of time for me. But it’s funny, I’ve actually found myself lying about Sophie’s age when talking to other mums at baby classes about how I’m returning to work now! People seem so shocked that I’m going back to work when she’s six months old.
Even if I wanted to, I can’t really afford to take more time off (we knew when we bought our dream family house that it would involve us both working) – but regardless, I think this is a good time to return. She’s young enough that she doesn’t have major separation anxiety, so she’s settled really quickly. Plus, I think Alex has really benefitted from spending so much time with other children of varying ages. His language and social skills are really strong, and I’m sure that’s because of his exposure to so much interaction. I don’t think he’s growing up scarred from not spending every minute with me! And I hope they both understand, and especially that Sophie sees that it is possible to have a career and a family, and do OK at both of them!!
Whatever you think, this is certainly going to be a challenge! I’m returning to a stressful job during a time of change for my department and institution, and I’m nervous about balancing the challenges of my role with the pressure of organising a home and family. Just trying to get four people dressed, fed and out of the house before 8am every day is giving me chills! And I’ve never been able to leave work in the office.
Anyway, we’re all organised for tomorrow, so I hope we’ll make it through the first day! And I certainly hope I have enough time to keep blogging about the adventures of Alex and Sophie.
I shall close this rather self-indulgent post with a picture of Alex, who was a dream today. During Sophie’s morning nap we had a fabulous time painting with duplo bricks and trains. I have some lovely new artwork for my fridge 🙂