“Abracadabra! Make mummy stay here!”
The words Lily said with passion as I got ready for work on Tuesday. Seriously, talk about pulling on my heart strings. I so wish I could have made it come true for her as well. I don’t want to have to go off to work, aside from the fact I really don’t enjoy my job, I don’t ever want to leave Lily.
My maternity leave was the best time of my life so far. Day after day spent with my beautiful baby girl, walks down the harbour where we lived, days out with friends and family, or just quiet cuddly days inside. We got in to a routine that worked so well for us both, it was such a happy time. After an amazing 10 months, I had to face a return to work. I felt like my heart was breaking and cried so much when I thought about going back and having to leave my baby. My baby who was still so reliant on me. I would get her to sleep for her naps, prepare her food and feed her, I was even still breastfeeding. Lily wasn’t even a year old yet and it seemed so young for me to have to leave her.
We are extremely lucky in that when I go to work it is my Dad or Joe who have Lily. So going back to work I did at least know someone was with her who loved her. I know so many families have to face a return to work and also putting their babies in to nursery or taking them to a childminder. I’m all for nurseries and childminders of course but I wanted to wait until Lily was older, not only due to the cost!! But also because I didn’t feel either of us were ready for that. Plus it has enabled my Dad to develop such a close bond with Lily, it’s lovely to see.
When my first day came along I waited at the bus stop, it was a rainy horrible day, I felt like it reflected my mood. As a van drove past it splashed muddy water all over me including my face. I nearly burst in to tears and walked home.
Joe sent me photos and updates throughout the day reassuring me that all was well. I didn’t for a second doubt that Lily wouldn’t have a lovely time with her Dad who is just as capable of looking after our daughter as I am. It was me who was really struggling. The day went fine for the most part, everyone was nice to me and welcomed me back. It was an admin type day finding my feet again and completing paperwork. It was strange spending so many hours away from Lily, I really did miss her and the day went slowly. My boobs which were used to being emptied at lunch were full and painful and I couldn’t wait to get back home.
As the days passed I got used to working again. They say it gets easier and it is true. You get in to a routine and maternity leave seems like a distant dream from the past. But even now, after being back at work for over 2 years I still hate those days when I have to go off to work and leave her. I’m more used to it now but the feelings are still there. I don’t want to be away from my little girl, I want to be with her, having fun and going on adventures, or just cuddling up and watching a film. Again, I know I’m lucky in that I only have to work part time. Thankfully we are in a position for me to do that, I know so many parents have to go back full time.
Lately it’s dawned on me that next year Lily will be in school, five days a week!! I just want to make the most of the amount of time that we get to spend together now before that starts.