A little over a year ago I became a mama. It’s hard to believe I now have a one year old. It’s even harder to believe this is the last day of my maternity leave. This past week I’ve been trying to ease the transition by cooking up a storm, cleaning everything in my path and enough shopping you’d think I was preparing for an apocalypse. All while trying my best to soak these last days up, just the two of us time ticking away slowly.
When I look back our journey, it feels like this year has flown. When really she’s taught me to slow down. My year with her has taught me the value of time. Teaching me to guard my time, our time & say no. I’ve soaked in our slow days together, especially the ones with no agenda. Listening to her giggle, watching her play, learn, grow.
In the past year I’ve carried her, held her close, and watched her sleep. From not being able to hold her when I needed her the most, the hospital visits, to finally bringing her home, those clingy koala days and the sleepless nights. I’ve showed her the beauty around us as her eyesight developed, taught her to roll. Watching as she shuffled like a worm, learnt to crawl, now she’s standing up. We’ve smiled, poked our tongues at each other, laughed and shared so many precious memories.
I expressed for her in hospital, and breastfeed her still, whether she’s hungry, tired or just needs the comfort. Slept on the floor in her room, when she’s been sick, going through a leap or simply learning how to sleep. I’ve been with her every step of the way and will continue to be but in a different way. It’s hard to let go, I’ve been so lucky to share this year with her and thought of going back to work scares me. We’ve come so far but it still feel like I’ve only just gotten used to being at home.
Our new chapter is about to start and the time for me has come to love her but let her go. I have so many mixed emotions but I know that we will be okay. There has been tears, and there’s likely to be more, from both of us. But I am slowly coming to terms with the possibility that my work life and mum life can coexist, even if I’m not quite there yet. I know how much I’m going to miss her and that it will hurt at the start. But I also know we will be okay and we will find our new normal. I do love my job and the reality is, it will probably be good for me, having time for just for me and being challenged by other adults.
Going back to work isn’t the scary part for me, its working out how to balance it all. Right now work seems like a distant memory, and the thought of getting up to work after being up all night seems impossible some days. I feel like my identity and approach to work has changed. I’m no longer someone who is willing to work at all hours of the day and night. When I am home I want to be present with Adele, not responding to meeting invites and adding to my ever growing to-do list.
I’m worried about feeling like I don’t have my act together, I’m worried about not remembering my words. That cloudy mental fog from the lack of sleep is a real thing. At the same time I might be sleep deprived and missing my girl but I still know my shit. We are probably going to stumble and fall as we find our new normal but I just need to take a deep breath and jump in.
If anyone has any tips on getting back into work after maternity leave, please send them my way!