It’s the end of January which means that my period of transition between maternity leave and full time working is almost at an end.
How do I feel about that? Guilty. Proud. Ashamed. Relieved. Like a bad mum. Like a good mum.
‘Confused’ probably sums it up nicely.
I’ve used January as a way to ease myself back into work, into normal life, a routine, or, as my husband put it, reality.
Maternity leave was the most incredible, special and amazing thing. It was like a little bubble of awesomeness! But all bubbles burst in the end.
This is real life. And it’s bloody confusing.
I have chosen to return to work full time and, as of February 1st, that’s exactly what I am doing. My month of easing myself into work is over and I am back, full throttle, foot on the gas, raring to go etc. etc. And you know what? I cannot wait.
My career has always been important to me. Not so important that I put off having children, mind you; it’s 2017 for goodness sake, why shouldn’t I work full time and be an amazing Mummy? Who says that isn’t possible?
I have worked hard to get where I am. I am lucky to work in a great company with fantastic colleagues and a supportive boss. To go to work everyday and do something I enjoy; how many people can say that? And why would I choose to give that up?
But it’s tough.
Felix is still attending all his classes, just not with me. He sees his friends, just not with me. He learns new words and moves around for the first time, just not for me.
I struggled with this at first. Picking him up and hearing about how he had been unsettled at a group he used to love. Hearing how he’d learnt a new sound or developed a new facial expression. It broke my heart.
But then I learnt to treasure every moment we have together. We go out at weekends. We paint, play with animals and go for walks. We read books, play with toys and see his friends. We take hundreds of photos capturing the good moments and the not so good ones.
I was there the first time he said Mama and Dada. I’m there for him when he wakes in the night from a bad dream. I saw him sit up and play in the bath for the first time. I witnessed his first (albeit heavily aided) steps with the walker.
I’m still his Mummy and he still loves me. I know that.
Going back to work isn’t for everyone and I understand that. In fact, I take my hat off to those people who stay at home with their children. But it’s just not me.
I want a piece of me back, and I love it.
I have my own identity. Being a Mummy to Felix is my motivation. It pushes me to be the very best that I can be and it has taught me and changed me so much already. But being a mummy does not define who I am. Neither does being a wife.
I am Mummy, Mrs and Me. In that order.
Do I feel guilty about that? Sure I do. Is it selfish that I still want a part of my old self? Yeah, maybe. Am I ashamed of looking forward to returning to work? Definitely.
But, am I proud of the person I am? Of the Mummy I am to Felix and the wife I am to Darryl? You bet I am.
I’m not the best, but I am giving it my everything. I have good days and bad days. Most days I am just winging it as I go along. But I am loving every second of this new reality.
Bring it on!