How have I been back to work for nearly a month?
I really can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. At first I wanted to blog straight away but then I realised a few shifts in that there’d be more I’d want to share, so I waited. I actually think I’ll have a follow up blog from this too.
I tried hard during my maternity leave not think about work, just embrace my time, take it all in. I called in with Marceline often and I didn’t do any of my keeping in touch days, for lots of reasons and weirdly it felt like I’d never really left. Each time I called in everything felt the same, aside to some lovely new workers! When Marceline got to around 6 months I began to feel stressed about my return to work, I am a very organised person and I always like to know what’s going on, feel in control of what I’m doing etc. So I decided to get in touch about my return.
Hello stress, anxiety and worry.
I can’t lie and say I wasn’t super stressed out, returning from maternity leave is hard enough never mind asking to come back on different terms. Of course there is a lot of help and support out their but maternity discrimination exists, it’s very real and I was so worried that my request to drop hours was going to be a hard slog.
Why did I worry?!
After my initial email my stomach was in knots, what if they say no? What will we do? Can we survive finically with less hours? SO MANY THOUGHTS. After a few emails and a phone call I went to meet with my bosses, it. went. fine. All that stress for nothing but at least my mind was at ease and I could enjoy the rest of my time off, going back 2 days a week sounded good to me.
I had to let work know a few months in advance about when I wanted to return, I decided to add some holidays on so that I’d be off for 11 months. Marceline would be 10 months (I used a little time off pre baby), but then a whole new situation consumed me.
Breastfeeding, what will we do?
This thought took over way more than my thoughts about returning to work, I chatted to SO many women, in my local BF group, some online groups and I spoke to all you AMAZE boobie Mama’s on Instagram (HUGE thanks). My mind tossed and turned for weeks about what we’d do and in the end I did no test runs, no prep, I just went to work. Simple. If only I’d known how fine things would be I would have slept so much better at night!
In the final weeks up to my return I was often teary, I didn’t want to go back to work, I just kept trying to think of ways which would enable me to stay off for longer. Of course there was no other option, it really was time to go back. A lifeline thrown in by my boss – Team Building Day – YASSS. He asked me to come in on the Wednesday rather than the Monday so I could join in with the staff away day, doing high ropes! How fun? This made me feel a lot happier as I knew I’d be having fun on zip wires, catching up with friends, enjoying undisturbed food and drinks (YEY).
So, as cheesy and unrealistic as this sounds I watched my husband take the girls away in the car (school run) as I stood in the door way with a lump in my throat. I watched them drive away, feeling full of anxiety, sadness and uncertainty. My boss picked me up and then another colleague, we arrived and my day begun. I had no signal the WHOLE time so I literally had no idea how Marceline was doing, I’d never left her for a whole day before, how was she coping with water and a snack instead of boob? How was Ricky on his own with the girls? I just had no clue of how things were, which made my anxieties feel a little more intense BUT I had crazy amounts of fun climbing trees and doing zip wires, so much adrenaline. I kept wondering if my boobs would hurt, how was M, home, ah just everything kept crossing my mind but I honestly felt so eased into my first shift. It really felt like I was socialising with friends, which I was, and it was AMAZE.
I made it home for bedtime and boob, YEY. I won’t ever forget Marceline’s face when she seen me, it still warms my heart now.
Quick run down of day. 1, woken up by my littles, an undisturbed shower (YASS), presents, cards and flowers for heading back to work (sob), a sad and anxious goodbye, LOADS of fun with friends at work and home just in time for the girls bedtime routine. Not as bad as I thought, not a tear shed but I was very aware that this day wasn’t a usual day, it wasn’t an actual working day … but what a lush way to come back after 11 months off!
Just a few pics from the team away day!
Snapped by the AMAZE Ange …
County Durham Family Photographer | Angela Fenwick Photography
The Friday of that week was my real first shift back, my late shift, I’d miss bedtime and I’d be working outside with some new staff too.
SO MUCH TO TAKE IN.
I spoke to the girls on my break and hearing Marceline’s baby babble made me teary. I’m used to working and leaving Loralai and Ricky but I’ve never left Marceline and I didn’t breastfeed this long with Loralai either so this was all new feelings for me too. Marceline has taken to all of this like a right trooper, she has been fine missing boob (having water and a snack instead) and she’s had so much fun and quality time with her Daddy. I really feared things would have been harder but she’s proven that she is just like Loralai and takes to things with ease, my two confident babes.
As the time has gone on I’ve thought, ah this will feel easier, I’ll feel ok and actually my first few shifts were fine, I was fine. It actually became harder as I done more shifts but then it’s eased again, if that makes sense? I’m always keen to know how my girls are, I panic if I see a txt from Ricky (even though everything is ok), I worry when I don’t need too, I miss them like crazy …
I am loving seeing everyone, I have adult conversation, I laugh, drink hot tea, pee alone, I get on a bus and I don’t have to rush or worry if the pram can get on, I can wear lush clothes without worrying if I can boob in them or not. Work feels like me time, some normal time, Sarah time … Of course it’s hard, it’s work, work isn’t easy even if you don’t have kids, I am sleepy, like sleepy AF but 2 days feels good. Good for me, I can work and also be at home, I feel so lucky to have the best of both worlds.
It’s made me crave more me time, time with friends and it’s also made me teary, missing my littles but I’m doing things to help me feel good like joining in with #whatmamaworemonday (snaps below), building up to potentially having some Monday night wine sessions with friends, it’s helping me find Sarah again. SO CHEESY. Haha, but yeah it’s hard, I’m so sleepy, like crazy sleepy and I still miss the girls like mad but I know in a few weeks time and as the months go by things will feel a lot easier. I can’t believe how well Marceline and my boobs have taken to this new routine, although she has lost some interest in the day time feeds, which makes my heart heavy. I’ve found a new routine to keep up with my blogs and weekly #titsandtearz posts, so things are looking good.
It is hard going back to work but it’s worth it, when I get home and see their faces I just breathe them in, I’m more patient and observant. It makes me use my days at home with them differently, there’s been so much change over these past few months for my little family but I couldn’t be prouder of us all.
I’m SO loving wearing whatever I want, it’s making me desperate for a shopping trip though. Something I haven’t done in SO, SO LONG.
You’ve got this Mama’s, if I can do it, you can.