Monday, 8 February 2016

RETURNING TO WORK AFTER HAVING A BABY & WHY I DON'T FEEL GUILTY!



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When I first fell pregnant I dreamt of nothing else than being a stay at home mum, that's all I wanted.  I'd tell my family and friends that I wasn't going back to work, I was just gonna stay at home with my baby and bring them up, however the reality of the situation transpired and that wasn't the case at all!  A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant my husband and I bought our first house.  We lived in a small one bed flat so buying a bigger property was a must.  Along with the bigger house came the bigger mortgage, almost double what we had been paying, so financially the option of staying at home was no longer a reality.

I took 9 months off with Oscar and it was wonderful, I enjoyed (almost) every minute.  However, being a stay at home mum isn't everything it's cracked up to be.  Parenting is tough, and there were days during my time at home where I felt trapped, I felt confined to the house, I suffered cabin fever and on some days I just had no motivation at all. I worried about those days.  I didn't want to be lazy, slobbish, or lose the will to get out of bed.  I have to say though, the better days definitely outweighed those days and on the good days I tried to get out and about as often as possible. In the early weeks I took Oscar to baby groups, met other mummies through the groups and went for coffee and lunches and when possible I'd met up with my other mummy friends.  I really did love my time at home and I wouldn't have changed it for anything.  The bad days in my opinion are normal, and I think it's a common feeling amongst new mums who stay at home for a long period of time and is nothing to worry about.

As my maternity leave began to draw to a close, the reality of returning to work was becoming real and I cried. a lot!  In the build up to returning to work I'd often spend an evening teary eyed, weeping to my husband begging him to let me stay at home.  I felt guilty, sad, angry, all of my emotions were coming out.  What if my baby thought I was leaving him? What if he thought I wasn't coming back?  Would he be angry with us? Would he want to communicate with us after a whole day away from us? I was also upset and angry at the thought of someone else watching my baby and seeing all his 'firsts'. Unfortunately, it was a hard pill to swallow and I needed to return to work.

Thankfully we had already put Oscar's name onto a waiting list for a new nursery that was being built near our house, we did it before he was even born (yes, it was necessary as the spaces were limited for unborn babies, it's that in demand in our town).  A month or so before I was due to go back the nursery confirmed that we had a place and we went to look at it, we instantly loved it, the staff were lovely and I felt a little more at ease.  Oscar started nursery at just over 9 months, from the day he went in he didn't look back once, he wasn't phased, he loved it and knowing he was happy was enough for me.  

Fast forward to 9 months later and we couldn't be happier!  A few months after starting nursery Oscar was fully settled, I was back into the swing of working life and we were adjusting to a busy working life as a family.  I don't feel guilty, it's gone, and here's why...

1.  I can just be ME! - I can go to work and people call me by my name, Kirsty!  I'm not Oscar's mummy or the babies mummy, I am just me!  I can have a hot cuppa, a wee in peace and I can have my lunch without little fingers wandering onto my plate.  I see other adults and I can have a really grown up conversation (well..).  But, having that grown up adult interaction is sometimes needed from all the baby talk.

2. Mental Stimulation - I am someone who gets bored quite quickly!  I need to be stimulated mentally and returning to work has given me a new focus.  I love my job, I met different people all the time, being in an HR role means that I deal with different projects and issues on a daily basis.  My job keeps my brain in check and I really enjoy the different aspects of my day.  It keeps me sane!

3. Contributing - When I was off on maternity leave I was receiving the statutory government allowance of £138 a week or so, it's not really enough to live on, so my husband was taking on all of our finical commitments and money was tight.  Don't get me wrong, my hubby is very generous when it comes to sharing his pennies, but I wanted my own money again.  I've never been one to rely on someone else and whilst my husband doesn't see it as his and mine, I still felt that I would have to explain why I was buying a lipstick or a new pair of shoes.  Going back to work has allowed me to contribute again, taking some of the financial burden off my hubby and allowing me to buy little treats for myself when I want too.

4. - Structure - Similar to point 2, along with mental stimulation, structure is something that I need.    As I mentioned before, sometimes on maternity leave I'd lack motivation.  Going back to work has reinstated structure back into my life.  I know work 3 days and have 2 days off with Oscar.  On my days off I take Oscar swimming, we do fun things and  I get other stuff done that I need too.  This aspect works great for me and I enjoy having some sort of plan to my week.

5. Appreciation - Going back to work has shown me how much I appreciate my family and the time we have together.  During the week things are busy and by the time we get home, have dinner, get Oscar bathed and bedded theres not much family time left, so when then weekends swing buy we try and do as much as family as we can.  We like to plan days out and trips away and make things as fun for Oscar as possible. 

Going back to work for me, was absolutely the right decision for us, not just for the financial reasons but for all of the above too.  It's been nine months since I returned to work and I don't feel guilty!


Kirsty x
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