I went back to work last week after 10 days off. Once I’d got past the going-back-to-work dread I think most people feel, I realised I was happy to be back. I really enjoyed having some time off but after the Lisbon trip not going as well as planned and our routine being thrown out by travel and toddler illness, I felt much more comfortable being back in to my normal routine.
I know that probably makes me sound really dull! I do really enjoy going away on holiday, exploring and getting away from the day-to-day chores and self-imposed burdens. But I honestly really enjoy being at home and knowing what to expect one-day-to-the-next. Since having H, our routine has become even more structured than it was before as we fit our lives round her naps and meals and various other requests and demands. I guess I find parenting life easier if I can keep H to her routine too.
I’m finding looking after a toddler is tough work. Babies are tough in their own way – nothing can trump that early sleep-deprivation – but toddlers are just so unrelenting. She. Never. Stops. I love it because she’s so much more expressive now and it’s so helpful that she’s starting to be able to communicate what she wants. But I can never take a break and switch off now. The other day she sat on my knee for 5 whole minutes and then she was off again looking at this toy, that toy, wanting a snack, needing a drink, trying to get in the cupboard, grabbing my phone, wanting another snack… I think this is another reason I value the routine; It means that for 3 days of every week I can be ‘Angela’ rather than ‘Mummy’ and go out the house and clear my head. Whilst those days are draining in their own way, they also mean I re-charge my Mummy Batteries for the Friday – Monday stint.
I was thinking back to the end of my Maternity Leave the other day and remembered how I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to work. I had got myself into a routine at home with H with classes on a couple of days, ‘play dates’ / Mummy cake sessions on some of the others. Being a Stay At Home Mum seemed appealing. But I followed by head rather than my heart in that instance because I knew going back to work was the right thing for me. I can’t imagine what life would be like now if I didn’t work but am under no illusion that I wouldn’t be having a tough time keeping H amused on my own 5 days / week; Having a holiday reminds me of how difficult that is and makes me appreciate working a little more.
I’ve always believed that anything can feel like work if you have to do it; The moment you lose the element of choice then you introduce obligation and that makes things less fun. By having these variations in my routine it stops me from feeling too frustrated by one particular aspect of life and that can only be a good thing right?!