Monday, 18 April 2016

Parenting Stories - Returning To Work

Although a little delayed, I’m pleased to present you with the third instalment of my Parenting Stories monthly segment. The first post discussed challenges associated with moving your family halfway across the world, and last month gave an insight into the work/life balance of a successful teen dad.
For this post, Nikki – from ‘Young Mum Getting Rid Of A Bum’ – has chosen to describe her feelings on returning to work as the end of her maternity leave approaches. It’s a subject that affects many of us throughout our careers, and is often associated with some level of anxiety…
Thanks to Nikki for her help with the picture!
'When I first went on maternity leave, the last thing on my mind was how I would feel going back. My plan was to look for a full time job, so I could use my degree in Business Studies to bring in more money to the household. This was easier to think about before my baby girl was born! Now that she is here, and I’m used to seeing her every hour of the day, I don't think it would be good for my mental health to go into a 9-5 job and only see her at bedtime and the weekends. Instead, I am going back to my old part time job - working 6am-2pm three days a week, with a wee cheeky 6am-10am on a Sunday - this gives me lots of time with my baby girl after work. Some mums can't wait to go back to work to get a wee break from their little darlings, and in some ways I can't wait either. I guess there are pros and cons to every story and, at the end of the day, I have to go back if I want a good life from my child.
Pros to going back:
Getting a cuppa
I remember once, a colleague of mine said that she loved coming back to work after having her second child, just so she could sit and get a cup of tea. Before, she would boil the kettle then her eldest would start moaning that she wanted a DVD on, she would go back and the water would be cold. So she started the process again, boiled the kettle, put the water in the cup and a teabag then her baby would start crying. After coming back the tea would be cold and she would just give up. I sat there and thought that surely she could have got a tea perfectly fine at home, as she sat there sinking into her chair and enjoying the lovely cuppa she just made without interruption.
In some ways she is right! My daughter Aria isn't that ‘bad’ a baby, and there's only one of her. But she does kick off sometimes when I just want some time to myself. I find the words "please go for a nap!" coming out my mouth on a daily basis now. Part of me cannot wait to go back, just so I can have a day of only having to worry about myself. I know I will still worry, but I also know that she will be left in safe hands, and eventually I'll fall back into the working life.
More money!!
I'm glad that I live in the UK where we get Maternity Pay, but getting used to half your salary each month with a baby is a lot harder than I thought! Babies need A LOT of things: Nappies, Milk, Food, and living in Scotland means lots and lots of jackets and clothes - layers people, layers! The other fact is that I do not want to be stuck in the house all day. Shopping and cafes is now my life, with baby obviously involved, I think I’d go nuts if I couldn't go out! This sadly means that most of the money I have gets spent rather fast. Going back to work will mean more money in, less money out!
Brain Power
Let’s face it, there are only so many songs you can sing to your baby before your brain goes to mush! Getting together with other mums make you realise that you are not alone in this. Aria is almost 6 months, and a 6 month old wants entertained ALL the time. Jumperoos only go so far before she starts demanding more involvement from me. Work is my only hope to having any brain power left by the time I’m 30!
Cons to going back to work:
Child Care
Having someone else look after my child gets me stressed! I have a good thing going with Aria, and not even her Dad can get her to nap well. I have nightmares of me getting in at 2.30pm, picking her up and her being a little devil child as a result of not napping. I know that she will get used to the people looking after her eventually, but part of me feels a bit guilty abandoning her after so long of it just being me and her. Our family are lifesavers though! Not only will I feel so much better leaving her with family the days I'm working, but the costs of childcare are huge these days and if I’d had to pay for that, it wouldn't have made sense me going back to work at all - my whole pay would have been just used for her childcare! 
Not being there for the first times
This con really gets to me - what if I'm not there for the first word, first step, first booboo?! Even as I write this I can feel myself welling up, why can't we be off work and get paid for the first 3 years! Will I miss everything!?
These are just a handful of thoughts that have gone through my head in the past week or so. At the end of the day, I want Aria to have as good a childhood as I did. I want her to have the things she needs in life to go on and be a successful adult. If this means that I miss a few things then so be it, life is life and until we win the lotto it's the way it's going to be!
I’m sure it will be hard on me to start with, but once things are back to normal it will just be daily routine.’
If anyone has any comments for Nikki, please leave them below or head on over to her Blog and check out all her other snippets of parenting life!
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  1. It's lovely that you have family to look after Aria. I bet she will develop a special relationship with them.

    1. I know, it's great that Nikki has such a good support network!

  2. It is true, finding the support and care that you need to be given to your children can be difficult to find. It is great that you have the support network though!

    1. I know, Nikki is so lucky to have family who live close by, it's difficult to not feel isolated when separated from family members :/


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