It’s that time again. The time when after exhausting paid and unpaid maternity leave, I must get ready to say goodbye to my baby, leave her to be cared for by someone else and head back to work. It’s that time, but that’s not what I’m going to do – not this time!
After my first maternity leave neared its en,d I was sick to my stomach. It wasn’t just the day I’d have to leave my baby I dreaded, it was the entire change in dynamic. Our whole world was about to be turned upside down and I hated that. I liked things just as they were.
I would lie awake at night trying to think of something, anything, that would make it possible for us to stay in our perfect little bubble, but there was nothing.
We had loans after renovating our new house and buying that incredibly necessary family car. (I miss you desperately Audi TT!)
So I did it. I stuffed my bra with super absorbent breast pads – a dozen more in my bag and off I went. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad…
For about an hour.
Then it hit me – I was lonely. A loneliness like nothing I’d ever felt before. A part of me was missing, a very important part and I ached to get home to her.
“You’ll get used to it.”
But I didn’t.
Every day, every week, every month (- it never felt right. It never felt natural. Even when we slipped into a routine it just wasn’t like before.
I was thankful for a job I enjoyed and amazing colleagues who made the whole experience easier but it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.
I wanted to be at home when my little girl woke in the morning.
I wanted to sing songs and make funny faces to entice her to eat porridge.
I wanted to watch her drink from her sippy cup and find the perfect time to take it from her before she started filling her mouth just to let the water pour down her chin.
I wanted to rock her in my arms playing Sam Smith on repeat to get her to fall asleep for her nap.
I wanted to watch her chase pieces of banana around her tray before finally catching it, popping it into her mouth and smiling triumphantly.
I wanted to be the one caring for my girl every day – I wanted that to be our norm.
Less than a year back at work I became pregnant with our second child.
And so the number crunching began…
What’s the earliest time frame we can pay off our loans if we dump every spare cent into them? Can I stay home after my second maternity leave is up? Can we really survive on one income?
After excel spreadsheets – lots of excel spreadsheets – the answer was; Yes!
Yes there will be cutbacks, yes money will need to be managed efficiently and yes belts will be tightened – or altogether traded for twine – but it’s worth it, completely and utterly worth it to be at home with my two girls…
And when they’re in school and I go back to work I’m getting myself one beautiful Audi TT!
First published on Mammy, May I? and reproduced with permission.