Mothering Babbles

Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

I remember being childless.

I mean, it was only 9 months ago, and yet it seems like an eternity. On one hand my daughter’s life so far has whizzed by in the blink of an eye, and so many firsts have already come and gone, never to be firsts again. And on the other hand, being childless is faint memory I can only recollect in an obscure, strange, out of body kind of way. It’s like it was a whole different me. Well, it was a whole different me.

I got a new job this week. It feels so weird, even as I type it. Job. Job! Work. Out of the house. No baby. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

I’ll be going back to work in just 4 weeks. That’s 10 months at home with my darling girl I will have had. It’s a lot more maternity leave than many people across the world get and I am ever so grateful for it. It’s two months shorter than my full year because I went off early, and hubby took some parental leave too (which was awesome).

I just can’t imagine what it’s actually going to be like. You know, working…using my brain…having adult conversations…interacting with other humans in a capacity which is void of poop talk and sing-song voices. Even though I know it’s going to happen I just can’t see it.

I suppose it was like being pregnant. I knew the baby was coming. I knew I’d be a parent. I knew I’d have to take care of a baby. I could see other people doing it. I just couldn’t put myself in that place until I was there.

I’ve gone through so many emotions to do with work and family life. I’ve gone from decidedly and single mindedly going back to work as soon as possible, for the sake of keeping sane and keeping up with my career (pre-pregnancy); to possibly staying at home for a year (pregnancy); to never going back to work ever because motherhood is the best drug I’ve have ever taken and it’s what life is all about (3 day old baby-mom hormones); to many variations of what I shall do and not do about work.

At the end of the day, and the end of my daughters first 9 months of life coincidentally, I will in fact be returning to work part-time, for now, until who knows when, I guess. I applied to a new board of education because the hourly rate is more, and that means less days of work and more time with my babe. Wahoo!

Turns out I got the job, and yesterday I went for my orientation. I just sat there looking around at all the people around me going about their daily work lives. Many of them probably had kids. Many of them had to go back to work after spending the year with their little bundle of love. But it wasn’t the same. It didn’t feel the same. I felt like I was the only person on the face of the earth that has had to face leaving their baby to go back to work.

It’s not even like I am going full time. I’m not even leaving her with a stranger, or relatives. She’s going to be with Greg, her daddy, on his days off of work. It’s literally the perfect scenario in the going back to work after a baby world.

It took everything in my power not to tell the HR manger that Millie knows how to wave now; or the other new-hires that I have a 9 month old and she’s fantastic; or the payroll clerk that my daughter is learning how to blow kisses and calls her Dad ‘Dad’. It’s not that it’s just the only the I know how to talk about, or the only thing I CAN talk about, but it’s actually what I like to talk about. She’s my world right now, and rightfully so.

I’m told my brain will go back to an almost normal functioning capacity. I hope it’s true. Because if not, these dear children I will be helping are getting the short end of the stick. I studied for weeks for my interview. Just to remind myself of all the words I used to use on a daily basis. ‘collaboration’ ‘communication’ ‘de-escalation’. A lot of ‘ations’. It was hard. And I think I am relatively average at my job on the whole. But that was before giving birth, before I had to think about someone else, before I was solely responsible for another human’s life, and before spending 9 months without much educational interaction, before ‘mom-brain’.

I suppose I am just worried that I’ll go back to work and be a blabbering, breast-pumping in the bathroom stall, airhead, emotionally sensitive, tired out, baby missing, baby talking, baby bragging weirdo. I just want to fit in. I want to be like everyone else.

I suppose I am just like everyone else. And I just relate to a new group of people now. There are tonnes of moms who work. I just get to join the working mommy club now.

The idea of going back to work has made me realize, not just how my life is different now, but how I have transformed, as a person. I don’t think the way I used to, I don’t act the way I used to, and I definitely don’t look the way I used to. I’m no better or worse. I am just different. Mostly, I like it that way. People always tell you your life is going to be different once you have babies, and it is for sure. But people never told me that I would be different. It’s something that happened suddenly, and also slowly.

Suddenly I went from being a pregnant girl to becoming a mother. Slowly I learned what being a mother actually took, what it looked like, and how it felt.

Now I am suddenly going back to work, and slowly I’ll learn how to be a loving caring mother, and also be a able bodied professional who fits in like everyone else. I’ll find out what it takes, what it looks like, and how it feels. It’ll take time, but I’ll get there.

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