I have now been back at work almost equal amount of time to how long I was on maternity leave for for. Maternity leave feels like a lifetime ago now and we now have a whole new working/home life.
It’s one that I really love though and one that gives me the best of both worlds.
I was always going to go back to work at the end of my maternity leave. Financially it was a necessity but was also something I wanted to do for me.
I loved being on maternity leave. Having all of that time dedicated to seeing Amelia grow in the first year of her life was amazing. Getting to spend it with my sister and close friends who had also had small people at the same time was an added bonus. Whilst none of us would exactly call it a holiday it was the best way to spend almost a year of our lives.
When the time came to return to work of course I was nervous but I was also looking forward to it and I did feel ready.
Throughout my time off I had time to think about my returning to work hours and if it was possible I wanted to have at least one extra day to spend with Amelia.
Luckily for me my employers were able to offer some flexibility in my role. I had originally requested four days but after some discussion was offered three days on a job share basis. I now work three days at the beginning of the week and share my role with my amazing colleague who also covered my maternity leave.
Going back to work was important to me because I wanted to have something for me as well as being a Mum to our little girl. I love being a Mum and love her more than anything but it is also important to me to have something that I can focus on that isn’t purely related to being a parent.
I always feel like I sound awful when I say this but for me it’s important to have some time apart for both me and her. Amelia goes to a childminder two days a week and then to my parents (god bless grandparents!) one day. She loves spending time with Granny and Grandad and she has got on great at the childminder.
There were a few patchy mornings in the early days of returning to work when she wasn’t sure about me dropping her off but it didn’t last long and now she can’t wait to go. I sometimes barely get a goodbye.
The end of the week is our time together and I love that. I can switch off from work and we can enjoy some quality time together. We have swimming lessons on a Thursday morning and we try to get together with my sister and my niece or friends on a Friday.
The balance works perfectly for us and I know I am so lucky to have this flexibility. Being totally honest and I know I am not alone but I don’t think I could stay at home all of the time. I love my little girl so much and I love spending time with her but I also enjoy going to work and using my work brain for a few hours a week. Being able to go to the toilet alone is also an added bonus!
I also love seeing her have her own little life. She has this whole other life going on when she is at the childminder and with my parents that I am not part of. This was the strangest thing for me on returning to work. After spending every day with her since she was born she would now be spending days which I wasn’t part of.
Now, I love this. I love hearing about all of her adventures and the things that she has been up to. She has new friends and already has a secret crush on the childminders little boy who is 10 years old!
I’m glad it has worked out so well for us so far and I hope it continues this way. It’s a daunting thought making the change in working life after having a baby and is totally a personal choice.
Flexibility is also important and I hope that more and more employers start to think about flexible working hours for all. Anna Whitehouse AKA Mother Pukka is leading a great campaign on flexible working for all and I love this. It’s such an important issue to address and not just for parents.