Going Back to Work after My Maternity Leave is Over

e95f8f94-b902-462d-8d1d-d81369fcadc0Today marks the first day of our last week at home together for a while…

Yes, there will be holidays and short windows where we get to spend time together like this again, but the slow days are over for a little while and as silly as this sounds, I’m really sad to see them go. In fact, I’m having a really hard time letting go.

Before I explain how I feel about going back to work I want to say that I am incredibly grateful  that the 18-month maternity leave was an option for me this time around and how blessed I feel to have been given this time to be at home with our little ones. But I also want to acknowledge the fact this this change, this transition back to full-time work, is not something I am finding easy at all. Did I ever think for a second that my pre-baby self would feel this way, absolutely not, in fact I know that my pre-baby self had no idea that these emotions even existed, that the decision to go back to a career I really enjoy would be so hard, that making that choice would make me feel guilty or selfish, and that wanting to stay home was even a thought that would cross my mind;  but that’s the beauty of it all motherhood changes you in a million different ways and going back to the person you were before is no longer an option.

11bc3ac4-d905-447e-b5c3-219aa0f10592It took me months to feel comfortable enough to go out with all three kids and when I finally did, those were the days that stood out in my mind; our walks by the water, our breaks at little coffee shops for a snack, our slow mornings and quiet afternoons. There were tough times too, like really tough times with all three kids at home, but it does not change the fact that I loved being home with them.  I loved learning how to make things work and finally realizing that I could enjoy motherhood rather than find a way to perfect my parenting skills.

It took me five years and three babies to realize that I could nap with them during nap time and not feel like I had to accomplish a daunting to do list.

It took me five years and three babies to learn how to slow down and savour our days together rather than just get to bedtime.

It took me five years and three babies to understand what was important to me in motherhood and how to put that first.

I learned so much from being home with our kids and I am so sad for this short chapter of our lives to be over, I am so sad to miss some of the little things as they get bigger and so sad that

As a new mom I was never confident doing all of the mommy things, unlike a regular job where I felt like I’d trained for it and I could make it work, this is more of a learn as you go kinda gig and that alone felt incredibly tough for me. And while people often say things like “you’re a seasoned mom of three” or think that because I have three children that I must be a pro at this “mummying thing”, there weren’t very many moments when I actually felt like this. Yes, there were moments (months, weeks, days or seconds) where things were fluid, like we had a flow to our days, but after three kids if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that change is inevitable so even in those short blinks where things seem to be running along smoothly, you can be sure that something will change and life will throw you a crazy curve ball.

Well, at this point that change is already here and what I can be certain of is that just as my maternity leave is coming to and end I was finally feel  like I understood parts of this motherhood thing it a bit more. I was finally starting to feel comfortable here, like I could do this… most or some days.  The crazy thing about this is that every time I’ve had to go back to work (for the record this is my third maternity leave and third time heading back to work) it seems like it just gets harder and each time. Each leave I’ve felt like maybe I would stay home this time, maybe I would find a way to make this all work for our family and stay home.  Each time I’ve had to go back I’ve tried to think of ways to stay home longer, to stay home with our little ones for good. Like my ship is about to doc, but I am hopelessly paddling against the current to keep it out on sea.

 

We’ve come up with a hundred different scenarios where staying home longer could work for our family; crazy scenarios and more plausible scenarios, but none of them made the cut, none of them made sense right now. Even as I sit here writing this I still have thoughts racing through my head; ways that I could make it all work, ways that I could change and revamp our entire life to be able to stay.

 

92335166-7f80-4973-8c13-8161412a8718I haven’t shared very much about this here or on social media, because until now, it hasn’t felt real. I’ve been saying out loud that I was in denial about heading back to work, but the funny thing about this is that this is the truth, I truly couldn’t see this next chapter of my life at alI. To be completely honest, I figured that by now I would be sharing some amazing story about how I changed my life to make this all work, how I re-wrote the narrative and was so happy with my choice. But I’m not, instead I’m sharing the struggle, the feelings that I’ve been trying to understand for months and the truth behind the reality. The reality of having to go back to work and feeling sad, guilty and confused about it, the reality of a crazy tug of war that happens in your life after you become a mother and the reality that life will go on and I will have to move on from this even if deep down I am afraid of the change and I want things to stay just as they are. I will miss being home with our babies, but I know that when we are home together I will savour it even more.

 

xo

Vanessa 

 

 


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