Next month Little Z starts her nursery settles. Then the week after those, she starts full time before, two weeks after that, I go back to work. I’ve done it before with Little H but yet I still find myself juggling a real mix of emotions. Juggling, or perhaps struggling with. I’m not quite sure to be honest. I never expected my return to be easy of course. Different child, different return to work. But I’d hoped I wouldn’t find myself looking at the calendar and freaking out about how few weeks and days there are left. Hoped I wouldn’t unconsciously counting down the number of Tuesday, Wednesdays or Thursday we have left together in Maternity Leave mode.
I feel like I am made of two conflicting halves. One half of me is still the ambitious person who wants to develop and progress within their career. This half of me is looking forward to seeing my colleagues again, eating what I want when I want it and not having to continually have an eye on, or ear listening out for, child-related incidents. Then the other half is a mum who wants to be at home looking after her kids and her home. I loved being at home with Little H, but with Little Z I feel I have even more so found a groove and rhythm in our daily lives. I have found myself completely contented within this routine and, unbelievably, almost never wishing the day away.
I am not dreading going back to work. I enjoy my job. I’m good at my job. And, honestly, I like the pay that I get from doing my job. I have some anxiety though about getting myself back up to speed at work. I am nervous about how we will manage to keep on top of everything when I am no longer at home to chuck a wash on during naptime; especially with the nappy loads. Then there is cleaning, dusting, hoovering and cooking. I remember how tiring it was when I first went back to work after Little H and I know it’s going to be the same yet again.
On top of this all though is the feeling lurking in my gut about leaving my baby girl. About separating myself from her for 30 hours a week, into the care of others. In some senses it’s easier this time. I know the nursery and I know and trust the staff. I’ve also seen the benefits nursery has had on Little H. Little Z has been there three days a week almost her whole life to collect her sister and is familiar with the setting and the staff. She’s never been left though and her reaction to that also makes me anxious. I’m just hoping that the fact her beloved sister will go in with her every morning will soften the blow.
Like most things though, I suspect the anticipation will be worse than the reality. Once we start the process, we will all work together to deal with whatever comes our way. Until that time I am trying to stop calendar-watching. I want to enjoy and savour these last weeks that I have without letting these thoughts overshadowing the time. And on that first settle session, I’m going to go and get myself a cup of tea and massive piece of cake!