Notes from my second day at work

Well, I survived – again! In fact my second day back from maternity leave went much better than my first.

The nursery drop off was equally, if not more, painful as Elliott belted out full on snotty sobs and clung to my coat collar begging me not to leave him. I, rightly or wrongly, ended up picking him up again to give him a cuddle before I eventually left him in the baby room. Does that make things better or worse for him? Who knows, but we do what we do at the time and if it’s wrong we live with it and don’t do it again – right mums? Parenting by experimentation is the only way with these individually unique little ones.

Elliott’s nursery report would suggest he settled pretty quickly after I left. He ate all of his breakfast and was even given seconds! In fact he ate pretty much all of his food throughout the day and the nursery portions are big! Of course, in true #mumguilt style I’m convinced that either a.) he will become obese or b.) I’m not feeding him enough at home and the poor nipper is starving and crying with relief when he gets to nursery as he gets a good feed – maybe that’s it – maybe he’s saying ‘mummy don’t go, take a look at this portion sizes and learn god darn you woman!’.

Work was much better too. Don’t tell anyone, especially not my boss, but I actually quite enjoy my job. Yesterday was just difficult as I didn’t have anything to get my teeth stuck into and I am the kind of person who needs to be busy constantly. Today the to do list started stacking up and I’m looking forward to going in tomorrow and cracking on with it. I also enjoy being around other adults to chat to and office banter, ah how I’ve missed office banter. I’ve got a terribly sarcastic and sometimes caustic sense of humour which can sometimes leave my husband a little shocked but seems to please (most of) my similarly humoured work colleagues.

Other things I’ve learned..

  1. Tea and coffee are so much nicer when you drink them warm.
  2. It’s really difficult to take notes whilst someone is talking to you in a meeting after taking a year out. Wandering mind 1; Concentration levels 0 (see also: proofreading).
  3. It’s completely acceptable, if not mandatory, to catch up on any scandals that you’ve missed whilst being out of the office – after all you wouldn’t want to put your foot in it would you?
  4. Life is so much easier when your desk phone works.
  5. No two people have the same telephone manner.
  6. The office environment plays havoc with your skin.
  7. When you’ve been around your little one so much the songs that will pop into your head throughout the day will tend to be children’s ones. I’ve had ‘I’m a Little Tea Pot’ and ‘Shake Your Sillies’ buzzing around in my head for most of the day.
  8. Hubby can be a great support now I’m back at work.
  9. It barely feels as though I have a child, being as I only see him for a few hours in the morning and at night – so pleased I’m only working 3 days a week.
  10. Working with a little one and, in particular, part-time takes tremendous planning. From batch cooking our meals at the weekend so we can have quick teas when I get back, through to scheduling tasks and meetings for the days I’m actually in the office and making sure things get completed in shorter timescales.
  11. I will probably end up checking my work emails on my days off, just to be sure I don’t miss anything important – sad!
  12. Nursery is going to do Elliott the world of good. Already his development seems to be leaping forward as a result of being around his contemporaries. It’s also going to make him much more independent and help him to prepare for school.

I’m so pleased it’s my last day in the office tomorrow. It’s a bit manic all this running around and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with Elliott too. So for now, with no re-read or spellcheck I will bid you farewell and get this published. I had made myself a cup of camomile tea to sup, but my pillow is calling me more. Goodnight x


I survived the back to work blues

Today was my first official day back in the office since June 2015. Sure, I’ve completed the odd ‘keeping in touch’ day but they were always conducted in the safe knowledge that little one was at home playing with daddy and I would soon be back with him to spend the rest of the week cleaning hisΒ mucky face, taking him to the park to play on the swings and singing Old MacDonald a hundred times over. This time it’s different. This time my Monday to Friday is Tuesday to Thursday meaning I still get to spend some serious quality time with Elliott at the (supremely extended) weekends. And, rather than Elliott causing mischief with daddy, he now goes to nursery. There were tears and snotty sobs when I dropped him off again this morning but I perservered and made my way to work trying to convince myself that he would be fine. He pretty much was, give or take a few emotional moments.

Work in itself was OK. Things were broken and had disappeared from my desk so I spent most of the day trying to make myself feel at home again, sadly I’m still only half-way there and even more sadly I’m worried that my work will be largely undone when I’m out of the office on Monday’s and Friday’s – ah the joys of working with so many men (I realise that’s incredibly sexist, but this group of guys do fit the coffee pilfering stereotype a little too well – I say that, we have new members to the team so times could have changed. Could.).

Things didn’t really get going for me today. I really wanted something juicy to get my teeth stuck into, but it didn’t really happen. I’m hoping tomorrow is more action packed. I’m so used to being rushed off my feet at home that anything less than 60mph feels like snails pace. I know I should take advantage of the rest and I did. I drank a cup of tea and a cup of coffee – both whilst still hot. I ate biscuits without having to share them and lunch without someone eyeing me suspiciously to see if I have the same as them. I even managed to go for a wee when I wanted and without someone staring at me and laughing whilst I went!

There was some grown-up conversation, but I have to admit after a year out of the workforce and spending most of my time socialising with fellow mummies during that year I’m a bit rusty on the ‘conversation about anything other than babies’ front.

Tonight I feel a bit flat. I’m not sure what I was expecting? A royal fanfare and a pile of work when I arrived in the office. That my workplaceΒ would have actually been transformed into the Conde Nast offices complete with glamour and on-site coffee shop. Obviously neither happened. But nothing really bad happened either, it literally just happened. There was me worried I was missing out on something during my maternity leave. Turns out repeatedly cooking, feeding and washing-up is akin to repeatedly replying to e-mails, phoning people and kicking the photocopier. Sometimes life isn’t about the highs or the lows, it’s just enjoying the everyday. Saying that, I’d still quite like a juicy project please Mr Boss Man.


Back to work

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.