These Last Days

Happy Wednesday, all.

I read this post and I am transported back to June and that sick feeling about swapping my maternity leave for work, when my baby was so small she couldn’t even sit up, and my guilt at abandoning her at nursery.    I don’t think it’s a decision that any mother makes lightly.  Katy tackles that feeling head on:

I feel I should mark them, these last days. I feel I should be doing everything, seeing everyone we’ve met over the last almost-ten months, fitting in as much as possible. But we already have a busy week of nursery settling in, work settling in, last-minute baby classes. I think if I don’t leave ourselves some slack, we’ll do too much and be too tired for the big week when I start back at work properly and she starts nursery. Counting down. 10 days now.

 

I have loved this time far more than I expected. After 11 years of non-stop work (many of those years with 12 hour days as standard), I worried that I might need to do more with my time, that I might get bored with my time off. I haven’t. The quiet rhythms of our days together, marked by naps (far less fraught now than in the early days), feeds, meals, the huge grins when Daddy gets home, have sustained me. Boredom has been of the comfortable, reassuring kind. I have slowed down to her pace, calmed down since the early days of feeling like I needed to have an activity planned for every day and volunteering to help with baby groups to show I had done something ‘challenging’ (as if keeping a tiny human alive, warm, fed, happy wasn’t challenging. I am ridiculous).

 

My maternity leave coincided with being made redundant and so a lot of time has been spent preparing job applications and going to interviews. The juxtaposition of going from messy puree lunchtimes straight to putting my suit and grown up shoes on is an odd one, and one I will no doubt have to contend with a lot in the future. I worry that I have spent too much of this precious time with her worrying too much about work and finding a job. Life might have been simpler with a job to go back to. But I would have probably found something else to worry about.

 

I have spent so many hours looking at my phone this year. I blame too much twitter and whatsapp during marathon feeding sessions. Those endless hours in the middle of the night in the first few weeks and months, catching up on the whole archives of all of my favourite blogs and some new ones. Buying things from Amazon at 3am. Only rediscovering the kindle app on my phone when she was 6 months.

 

I spend a lot of time at the moment talking to people about my return to work (well, new job).  I have been in one day a week for the last few weeks so I have an idea of what to expect, and it’s meant I’ve been away from her for whole days as practice. But I have a big lump in my throat as I write this at the thought of her being at nursery all day, learning how to do new things without me. Eating food I haven’t chosen. I know it will all be fine, as everyone who has gone before me has found, but I will miss this time, just me and her. It’s been ace.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Money and Career
9 interesting thoughts on this

9 Comments

  1. rachelJHD
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Oh Katy, what a perfect piece of writing & emotions. Maternity leave for me was ace as well. I think in some ways because I knew it wasn’t forever, so even wet, quiet days were to be treasured.

  2. Fee
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Katy, I love love love this. I’m not at the point of returning to work yet but how you describe the days together is just perfect. It is such a different pace but such a wonderful time (except on the bad days, ha!).

    You have done amazingly so far and I’ll be cheering you on for the next step. Lots of love x

  3. Gemma N
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Katy, it feels like I could have written this!

    Over the last few weeks with moving house and everything else that’s been going on I’ve been feeling like I’m not ‘making the most’ of our last days. But then I remember to just enjoy the time we have had, and also that I’m not working full time so we still have days just the two of us (as I think you will have as well?) and hopefully those days will seem even more special!

    But it will be fine – she will do fabulously at nursery. I’ve already decided that eating food I haven’t chosen is better than throwing food I have chosen on the floor!!

    I’m with FeeFi – you have done amazingly already – job hunting and looking after a baby are not easy things to do in tandem – and cheering you on for next week!
    xxxx

  4. Liz
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This is so perfectly written. It really does sum a lot of things that I felt as well.

    Gemma – I’ve been back at work for a year in a fortnight’s time (has gone ridiculously fast) and my Monday’s at home with T are pretty much my favourite days of the week, even when we don’t do anything more than hanging out with each other making a mess!

  5. Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone – I feel better for having written it and good to know others felt the same!

    K x

  6. Katielase
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    This is perfect, I’m just really settling into the rhythm of our days together, me and her, and this makes me look forward to all the hours we have together to explore. You’ve definitely done amazingly to job hunt with a little one, and will definitely be there with pom-poms to cheerlead you next week!

    KL xx

  7. Joanna
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I totally sympathise, I was in the same situation – the last two months of my mat leave I was looking for a new job. I was lucky enough to find one and I’m 4 weeks in to being back at work full time. My maternity leave was amazing and I loved every minute but I found the last few weeks my worries and stress about going back to work were worse than actually being back! My son has a good nursery and I love my new job. I miss him like crazy and I do feel guilty that I’ve gone from being there 24/7 to not being with him for most of his day but he’s fine. We are finding a new rhythm and a new routine. He gets to spend time with little friends and I make sure we spend my time at home together, doing fun things.
    Good luck going back, it won’t be as hard as you think. Your time together on maternity leave will always be a treasured time x

  8. Posted September 25, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I love this Katy – not only as a reminder to enjoy the hours and minutes together early on, no matter how those are spent, but also as inspiration that it is possible to not just go back to work but to successfully job hunt and start a new job alongside having a baby. I will be remembering this when I start the job hunt at some point in the next year or so. Pom poms at the ready for you!

  9. Penny
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Well done Katy, you are a superhero for getting something new. I hope the transition goes really smoothly. I was equally unsure about how I would find mat leave, and ended up loving it too. The thing to focus on is the new moments you will still continue to have as she grows up, goes to school… there’s a whole world out there beyond her babyhood for you all to share, and it will be just as special. If not more so.

    Good luck!

    Px

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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