It’s the night before I go back to work and I’m really struggling to put how I’m feeling into words. The emotions are so mixed.
Having been away from the office (with the exception of two ‘keeping in touch’, or KIT, days) for almost 14-months I’m obviously a bit concerned about my ability to actually do my job. Fortunately the KIT days showed me that I still remembered how to use InDesign and PhotoShop and as colleagues fired questions to me I soon found my mental storage cabinets being dusted off to find the answers. That said, it also showed me that I now have the attention span of a gnat and with a lot of new products and changes to the business since I left I guess I’m going to feel like the newbie all over again…
Of course I’m worried about Elliott too. With the odd exception we’ve barely been apart this past (almost) 13 months and when I have left him its been with a close member of family. Now he has to face nursery. He’s had a few settling in sessions and did some half days last week. Things are improving but he still cries a lot when I leave him and has bursts of crying throughout the day. I’m assured these will subside and once he’s going three days a week it won’t take him long to settle. To be fair, the staff are really good so I have no reason not to believe them and, although it’s difficult, I know he will get so much out of nursery once he can overcome the initial shock of not being with mummy.
There’s also a slight sense of mourning. A kind of end of an era feeling, although that’s been there for a while. Once the word toddler starts getting bandied around and you have to cease going to Baby Sensory classes (Nooooo!) you get a weird fuzzy nostalgia for the baby days. It’s pretty rose tinted and most of mine revolve around cuddles, mum and baby yoga (probably because I got a cup of tea and a biscuit and a lay down) and calm play times of me singing nursery rhymes to Elliott whilst he cooed along (now I just get chased around with his V-Tech walker!). Of course, my brain is missing out the memories of having to keep Elliott upright for at least 30-minutes after each milk feed because of his reflux, meaning that by the time you had changed his nappy, fed him and held him upright it was virtually time to start the process all over again – or at least it was in the early days. Even the sleepless nights don’t seem so bad 13 months on.
Of course I know it will be good for both of us. Mummy needs to earn some money, both so she can treat herself (and Elliott, and maybe Daddy if he’s good) and so that we can move to a bigger home with a garden in the not too distant future. I also think it’s really important that Elliott sees me going to work so that he understands that you have to work for things in live – instill that work ethic in him nice and early and all that.
Nursery will do Elliott the world of good in terms of confidence and development and provide so much more structure in preparation for school than I ever could. I already notice that he’s more ‘chatty’ after a settling in session. It will also be nice for me to use my brain again, in between savouring those hot cups of tea and being able to sit down for more than five minutes without rescuing someone from climbing on top of a piece of furniture.
I will miss the cuddles though. The looks that just say ‘you’re the best mummy’ without him having to say a word. But we will have those on our long weekends together and I will appreciate them all the more for the precious moments that they are.
It’s late. I should have gone to bed ages ago, so I’m going to put this live as it is as I want to capture this moment without re-reading and spellcheck and all that jazz. This is how I am feeling at this very moment. Anticipation. Excitement. Sad. Lonely. Brave.