Back in February I wrote about the heart-ache I experienced when I returned to work on a part-time basis; the sadness of leaving my little buddy and what felt like the end of our special time together.
I discovered I am not alone in feeling like this and I was assured by many that it would pass. I didn’t believe them. I thought ‘well sure maybe it passed for them but it won’t for me.’ I spent mornings with my stomach in knots, dreading the goodbyes. If I spotted a mother and child on my walk to work I was crushed and wanted to run back, grab my baby girl and never leave her side again!
But guess what?
It did pass!
I am so glad that it did. It was such an utterly dismal time and every evening before work I would get that ‘Sunday nightish’ feeling. Inevitably I would end up ruining the days we did have together by worrying about all the days we wouldn’t be together – a nonsensical way to live and very stressful! But time moved on and so did I. The benefits of part-time work became clear for both of us.
My daughter is so happy and comfortable with her childminder. There are (usually) no tears at drop-off. In its own way this is a little heart-wrenching for mama but I do know it would be so much worse having to leave her upset. She is delighted to see me in the evenings and so full of chat about her day. It is lovely to see her having her own little adventures without me…mostly lovely and perhaps a bit of a stomach punch too quite honestly! It is the beginning of her creating her own life and a step away from me and Daddy being her whole world.
I have also come to realise that I enjoy having a break! I never believed I would see work as a break but when half of your week is spent wrestling a toddler into a gro-bag, desperately fending off potential tantrums and watching Paw Patrol for the millionth time, work can seem positively thrilling!
I like having coffee breaks where I can sit and write. I know my coffee will stay warm and my biscuit will remain mine. I can daydream or read. I can chat to my colleagues. All without that little voice interrupting, causing my thoughts to escape and fragment into pieces. Though, naturally, I still miss that voice from time to time.
I have come to enjoy my walk to work too. The chance to clear my head and have a little bit of space to call my very own. No-one needs me on that walk, no-one calls for me, no-one pulls at me or demands attention now, now, now!
Yet even as I write this I feel guilty for daring to enjoy time away from being ‘mama’!
There are still tough days. Only last night my daughter woke up crying. I ran into her only to hear ‘But I love you, I don’t want you to go to work’. All mamas out there can imagine how guilty I felt! There is the worry too whenever she is sick. What I have come to realise is that it’s never easy; at home full-time, part-time work or full-time work, whatever you choose to do the guilt will find you and there will be days you wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side (whichever side that may be). For now, I am trying to enjoy the good days, get through the bad days and focus on the little moments when everything goes according to plan and I feel that I can do anything!