Recently I have had to start making preparations for my return to work. I’ve sorted our childcare routine and choices, been into work for some Keeping In Touch (KIT) days, discussed where things are up to with some of the staff in my department and secured my part time hours.
The reality of going back and nearing the end of my maternity leave feels strange, a bit like a storm brewing. There’s a lot of mixed feelings I have about it, I’m dreading leaving little P, I hate that my day to day life won’t be filled with walks to the park, play dates, messy play, coffee mornings and snoozey snuggly afternoons. Dare I admit that I’m also slightly excited, similar to storm there’s a build up of excited energy in me as well, I’m starting a new role as Curriculum Leader when I get back and I’m brimming with ideas and energy as to how I can support the teachers and staff in each of the three subject areas to build on the good practice we already have. I’m raring to go with my job role and giddy about using my brain, challenging myself and really getting my teeth stuck into something (a bit like baby P and her Sophie the Giraffe chew toy!).
I’ve always been passionate about my career and pride myself on always trying my best and striving to do a good job, being the best teacher and leader I can be. This also worries me, juggling being a good mum and a good employee is a new entity and my over organised brain can’t quite work out exactly how this is going to work and pan out. Deep down I know it will and that I’ll do the best I can at both (praise the Lord for my already good time management skills), I know that I’ll cope and manage etc, I have to.
I have to make it work, I have no choice, as the main bread winner we need my wage and being a stay at home mum isn’t an option. I also want to make it work, I want to show my daughter that women can succeed and have strong careers and aspirations if they so wish, I also want the sense of achievement for myself. Like I said, I’ve always taken great pride in my career and I am more than just a mum, I was a person before I became a mum and working in a job I feel passionate about makes me a happy person, which in turn makes me a happy, good mum. Don’t get me wrong I’m loving maternity leave and the valuable time me and Baby P have had together, I’ll treasure these memories forever, but I know I couldn’t do this forever…I need…more.
All these positive thoughts though don’t prevent the feelings of worry and guilt. Worry because I don’t want to leave Baby P with anyone else, worry that I won’t juggle everything or that I will but the standard of things will be compromised. Guilt that I’m leaving her to be looked after by others and guilt that I’m enjoying my career and doing things that aren’t about her or directly for her (technically working is for her as it will provide her with life’s necessities and luxuries).
Some fixes to this have already happened, seeking out the best childcare I could find and with people I trust, not just to love and look after my daughter well, but people who I can trust to maintain my parenting principles and ideals. I think that’s the key thing for me, will she be experiencing, eating, drinking, learning and developing as I would like in my absence? Finding a childminder that to me was more than just a childminder helped this, as well as having my mum care for her on the other days. Mum will follow my methods and wishes regardless of whether or not she agrees with them. The childminder operates a wonderful atmosphere where she will be interacted with, learning, playing and being genuinely loved by the staff there. What more could I want…other than to be there with her myself.
KIT days have been a god send too, they’ve kept me positive, up beat and in the loop at work so that the fear of going back isn’t a fear and more a natural apprehension of the unknown. And that’s just it really, I’m entering into the unknown, becoming a working mum is an unknown entity and the nerves of it hopefully will be far worse than the experience of it…I hope!
I’ll let you know how it goes nearer the time…watch this space!