Tomorrow begins the final week of my maternity leave. Eleven and a half months since I walked out of those doors heavily pregnant, I’m walking back in (considerably lighter) and beginning my new role as a working mum.
I’ve got mixed feelings about it all at the moment. I’m looking forward to having a bit of the old me back and having something else to talk about than just baby stuff. I’m also looking forward my sons face lighting up when I walk through the door in the afternoon. I feel positive because I’m going back for four days meaning I get three days with him and that’s very lucky because not all mums get that option. Also, I’m only back four days and then it’s half term so another ten days off. Finally, I’m only going back for half a term then it’s the summer holidays so i can’t complain. Oh, and I’m really looking forward working with my mates again and seeing them most days.
As with most new mums (I’m guessing), i’m worried about the work/life balance and how I’m going to fit in working with having a baby. As a teacher I obviously don’t leave my work at work and regularly have to plan, mark, make resources or compile data at home. I’m wondering when I will do that, what will be the best time so I don’t hinder time with Baby R but also make sure I rest so i don’t burn out. I’m worried I won’t be able to teach anymore or I will have forgotten things and so much has changed at my work while I’ve been off that I think I’m going to feel like an NQT all over again! I’m sure all these worries will go once I get a routine together and everything settles down.
My maternity leave as been fantastic. I am thankful that I have so many mums off at the same time as me meaning I haven’t felt lonely, or bored. From the NCT/Bumps and Babies ladies, to my fellow Performing Arts ladies we have had so much fun – lunches, swimming, soft play, meetings at each others houses, walks…the list is endless. I’d struggle to pick out a favourite day because all of them have been great. I have loved seeing my little newborn grow and learn into the giant baby he is today (I say giant baby because he’s still a baby but verging on little boy/toddler) and forming a very special bond with him. He loves all his mates and is happiest when he is playing with them whether it be at someones house, bumps and babies or soft play. Some of my most fond memories of maternity leave come from Wednesday mornings at FAB in Wakefield at the Bumps and Babies group. Unfortunately our babies are a little old for it now (although they have started a crawlers group which is on a wednesday afternoon – I think!) In those first few months that room was a sanctuary where I could sit calmly and peacefully cuddle my boy and whilst chatting to other mums who completely understood the highs and lows of being a mother, especially a new one. It kept me sane! There I formed great friendships, and so did mini me, which I hope will continue forever. On top of that, I had my work colleagues and friends who were there for advice whenever I needed (and boy, did I need it at times). I remember pacing around the bedroom when my boy was a few weeks old texting them saying “He won’t settle. I’m tried rocking, singing, cuddling everything. Help!” and i’d get one back saying “Try the hairdryer” or something equally and weird yet genius.
My biggest wish is that when Baby 2 comes along (which won’t be for another year or two yet!) that some of these amazing ladies are off having their second babies too so that I have that support again. Either way will definitely be back at Bumps and Babies again, hoping for my sanctuary again.
So wish me luck on my next adventure of motherhood – returning to work! I’m sure I’ll be fine, but if you don’t hear from me again once I’ve returned, send out a search party. I may be lost under nappies, lesson plans and the odd pufflet!