- Tilda likes the childminder
Before I went back to work I spent hours looking round nurseries and meeting with childminders to find the right fit. I then spent hours and hours and hours panicking about how Matilda would settle. We had tears, tantrums and sleepless nights…all from me. From Matilda we had nothing. She settled almost instantly (I know, unheard of!!!) and now reaches to the childminder for a cuddle in the morning when I drop her off.
- I hate that Tilda likes the childminder
Obviously not really! I’m super surprised and mighty relieved that Tilda settled so easily but in my panic about her not settling in it never even crossed my mind that I might feel funny about her getting such a lovely bond with the childminder. Rationally I know that just because she adores the childminder so much doesn’t mean she loves me any less. Still I can’t help but feel a bit wobbly. I’m such it will pass and as problems go it’s a good one to have!
- Days at work are the days off!
Lots of people told me this was the case but I didn’t believe them. It’s much easier being at work than it is being a stay at home parent. For one, you get to drink hot drinks WHEN YOU WANT. Go to the loo WHEN YOU WANT. Eat WHEN YOU WANT. Even grab a 30 sec social media squizz WHEN YOU WANT. Obviously work has it’s own challenges after all your baby doesn’t care if you’re way off target, the share reports are down or your boss is being a ‘mare. But you know, early days. Let me enjoy my interrupted cuppa and office gossip.
- The Juggling
If actual work is the easy part then juggling everything is so much harder now. With conferences, work do’s and trips away a standard part of my job it’s tricky and expensive trying to find childcare to cover these extra hours. And it’s not exactly easy on a more standard week either. The husband and I both have time consuming commutes and work longish hours. Matilda is the first baby through the childminder’s door in the morning and the last to be picked up in the evening and that’s with me adjusting my hours and bolting out of the door morning and evening. You also don’t want to know the state our flat gets in or the backlog of laundry that builds up. I’ve gone back 3 days a week and still am struggling to keep all these plates spinning. I really don’t know how couples both work full time, especially if they don’t have family close by to pick up the slack. I’m hoping it comes with practice!
- I feel different now I’m a working mum.
This was unexpected. I spent lots of time thinking about how my identity would change once I was a parent and there’s a lot of information and advice out there to help them make this transition. To my knowledge there is nothing to help you get to grips with returning to the corporate world. In the office you are still who you were, however the most profound and life changing thing has happened to you since you were last there. I feel in some ways I’ve totally changed but in others not at all and I’m not sure I’ve quite figured this new ‘working mum’ identity quite yet. It also doesn’t escape my notice that you don’t really hear about ‘working fathers’ having an identity crisis after having children. Not sure what I think about that. Probably topic for another blog post.
What I will say is I’m really lucky and work with some amazing people but in particular the other mothers have been really helpful and so supportive. I feel for anyone that doesn’t have that support there. Returning to work is a much bigger thing than I realised. I guess I just need to get on with it and it will fall in to place. I feel proud I’m helping the family coffers (albeit barely due to the cost of childcare) and that I’m able to set a positive example to women in general and my daughter in particular. Equally though I can’t help judging myself as I’m jamming my daughter on to a packed commuter bus before 8 am in the morning. Is this really the best for her? I’m not sure I want to answer that.
All in all the decision to go back to work feels the right one. I was also really fortunate my work were able to accommodate me in my desire to go back 3 days a week. What’s your experience in going back to work? Anyone else struggle with the ‘working mum’ identity?