Finding that 'Work/Life' Balance
I’m not going to lie; having a baby requires energy, patience, eyes in the back of your head and a reasonable amount of (but not too much) wine. Leaving the house showered, dressed in clean clothes and with two (matching) shoes on is one of life’s greatest achievements as a mother.
But what happens when the end of maternity leave looms and you’ve got to do all of the above, tie in a nursery drop-off and head to work for a whole day with your ‘creative brain’ on? Who is going to clean the house, pick up the random toys scattered around the living room, iron, change bed sheets, do the food shopping, pop to the post office to return ridiculous amounts of clothes you don’t actually need but insist on buying anyway? And what about the baby? The baby who has depended on you, just you and nothing else but you for the last 12 months?
I don’t think you can really prepare for returning to work after becoming a mum, but if you have a good team of people around you it doesn’t have to be that bad.
So much anticipation lingers in the run up to the return to work that nothing else comes into focus. Fear and dread are the only two emotions I remember feeling for about 2 months before my return. These emotions are not related to the return to work itself, but related to questioning whether I am doing the right thing – am I a good mother for leaving my child in someone else’s hands? Is he too young to be left at nursery? Will he be ok without me? What if I didn’t return to work and stayed at home until he went to school, making the most of the time we have together?
All of my focus seems to be on my son, and the ‘what happens if…’? But what about the return to work itself? Why have I not been thinking about, or worrying about this? I mean, I haven’t used a Mac in over a year (that’s a lie, I designed my son’s 1st birthday invitations, that counts as design, right?). Will I know how to use the software again? Am I still as creative as I used to be? Will I just be able to go back to work without sitting there day dreaming about what my son is up to, whether he is ok and whether he misses me as much as I hope he does?!
I don’t think you can really prepare for returning to work after becoming a mum, but if you have a good team of people around you it doesn’t have to be that bad. Working for a company that has been recognised for its flexibility towards working parents has allowed me to feel more relaxed about my return to work and knowing that I don’t have to choose between motherhood and continuing my career is a great position to be in. My new working hours fit around my son’s needs as well as Cuttsy+Cuttsy’s and I still feel like a valued member of the team.
The support and understanding I’m receiving from my employers means, I can honestly say, returning to the world of work really isn’t as bad as I thought. And, let’s face it, it’s much easier being at work than it is at home with a baby, right?