I was mostly excited about my return to work. I’m not sure if it was the pandemic restrictions that compounded the feeling but I couldn’t wait to be spending a large portion of my days talking with adults and not discussing sleep habits, weaning woes or ‘milestones’ anymore. I love my job for the most part, and I’d been with the same company furthering my career for 12 years before I took maternity, so getting back to somewhere I felt confident, happy, and like there is more to me than being a mum was a welcome change.
I was confident in my childcare choices and knowing Oscar would be well looked after and happy, but I had a little anxiety towards my first work day. The thought of being a newbie was not one I was comfortable feeling. I was dreading having to ask for help to get me up to speed, I wanted to jump back in to being amazing at my job, being dependable, making decisions, and being the expert. I thought I could have it all, but the reality was not quite so rosey!
I wish I had prepared for my son to be ill (a lot) when he started nursery for the first time – he got Hand Food & Mouth after just 2 days there, followed the next week by 10 days of Norovirus, followed by antibiotics for cellulitis in his eye. It wasn’t just the sniffles and a cold which was all I was expecting! If I had planned a few more back up child care options, or had the foresight to ensure my husband could take a few unplanned days leave then my return wouldn’t have been so sporadic and frustrating those first few weeks!
I also wish I had set some better boundaries. I returned with the (incorrect) mindset that I owed my employer for holding a role open for me whilst I took maternity, I felt like I had to prove myself of value, and that meant saying ‘yes’ to everything that was asked of me. It would have helped enormously to have written out my new priorities as a working mother (a brand new role for me), and set firm boundaries – perhaps even having them written above my desk to remind me that it’s ok to say ‘no’ would have served me well too.
Thank you so much Ella!