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When maternity leave comes to an end

1
The mental countdown has begun once again. I can feel the preemptive sadness of being apart from my baby girl. And the occasional flickers of excitement at getting some of my old self back again. 

A month to go and my days are regularly intruded upon with random thoughts that flit from the practical to the emotional… 

How can it be all over again so quickly! 
I’m exhausted just thinking about commuting and being out of the house all day, then coming home to childcare and bedtime routines
How on Earth am I going to find the time to

SelfishMother.com
2
shower, put makeup on and make myself look vaguely presentable 
I will miss them, and they will miss me (that one is tough and doesn’t get easier with time)

That’s the bitter sweet thing about maternity leave. You know right at the start that it’s transient. It will end. You’re told to ‘cherish every moment’, which is unrealistic to say the least because lots of it is either stressful or simply mundane. But it’s also punctuated by moments of pure magic, embracing a simpler life, and finding joy in the smallest of things.

Which is

SelfishMother.com
3
actually what’s nice about going back to work again. The newfound appreciation for the little things: wearing nice clothes, uninterrupted coffee and conversation, space to think, the beauty and buzz of London in the spring…

The initial period is hard. There were tears in the toilet, I know there will be again. You’ve been through this huge life change and yet life at work has simply gone on without you. But after the first couple of weeks are out of the way, the vulnerability subsides and the confidence grows. 

On a practical level I know

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4
how hard it’s going to be combining work and family again, even more so with two children now. I’ve been in a bubble for 10 months, able to fully focus on home. There’s nothing harder than going into work after a bad night with a baby. But I’m not fretting that I’ll be completely useless when I go back. I know it won’t take long to kick back into work mode. I have learned (the hard way) the value of working a bit less and living a bit more, how to look after myself as a priority, and not push too hard too soon. I know the importance of having
SelfishMother.com
5
a family-friendly boss, a company that offers flexibility, and the value of a strong local network and great childcare support. These are the things that make the difference. 
So as maternity leave comes to an end for a second and probably final time, I’m comforted by the thought that we will all settle into our new rhythm soon enough. As I watch my daughter pull herself up against the sofa, a few weeks ago barely crawling, she brings me back to the present moment. Life does indeed go on.
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Natalie MF

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- 28 Mar 19

The mental countdown has begun once again. I can feel the preemptive sadness of being apart from my baby girl. And the occasional flickers of excitement at getting some of my old self back again. 

A month to go and my days are regularly intruded upon with random thoughts that flit from the practical to the emotional… 

  • How can it be all over again so quickly! 
  • I’m exhausted just thinking about commuting and being out of the house all day, then coming home to childcare and bedtime routines
  • How on Earth am I going to find the time to shower, put makeup on and make myself look vaguely presentable 
  • I will miss them, and they will miss me (that one is tough and doesn’t get easier with time)

That’s the bitter sweet thing about maternity leave. You know right at the start that it’s transient. It will end. You’re told to ‘cherish every moment’, which is unrealistic to say the least because lots of it is either stressful or simply mundane. But it’s also punctuated by moments of pure magic, embracing a simpler life, and finding joy in the smallest of things.

Which is actually what’s nice about going back to work again. The newfound appreciation for the little things: wearing nice clothes, uninterrupted coffee and conversation, space to think, the beauty and buzz of London in the spring…

The initial period is hard. There were tears in the toilet, I know there will be again. You’ve been through this huge life change and yet life at work has simply gone on without you. But after the first couple of weeks are out of the way, the vulnerability subsides and the confidence grows. 

On a practical level I know how hard it’s going to be combining work and family again, even more so with two children now. I’ve been in a bubble for 10 months, able to fully focus on home. There’s nothing harder than going into work after a bad night with a baby. But I’m not fretting that I’ll be completely useless when I go back. I know it won’t take long to kick back into work mode. I have learned (the hard way) the value of working a bit less and living a bit more, how to look after myself as a priority, and not push too hard too soon. I know the importance of having a family-friendly boss, a company that offers flexibility, and the value of a strong local network and great childcare support. These are the things that make the difference. 

So as maternity leave comes to an end for a second and probably final time, I’m comforted by the thought that we will all settle into our new rhythm soon enough. As I watch my daughter pull herself up against the sofa, a few weeks ago barely crawling, she brings me back to the present moment. Life does indeed go on.

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