I’ve completed week three of returning back to work after maternity leave. I’m working 18.75 hours (2.5 days) per week. I’ve never worked part time in my life, I’ve always worked full time.
I’ve seen a lot of blogs, written by stay at home Mums, and before returning to work, I wanted to stay at home so much. With my older daughter, I stayed at home with her for two years before returning to full time work. And I often regretted the return to work – it was hard work. Time to myself was very rare, I missed a lot, and the thing that I found the most difficult was that the housework was never done, and home was not always a nice place to be.
So, I was worried about my return to work, although knowing it was part time was a huge relief. And so far, it is really working for me. I feel as though I’m back to normal, in a funny sort of way. During maternity leave, I was waiting to return to work, and it was always there in the distance. Getting it over with feels like a positive thing.
I feel good at something. Ill be honest, and say that I don’t always feel like the best Mum. I find it difficult to keep my patience, find it hard to think of activities for 7 days a week, and get very restless if we don’t go out. I absolutely loved every minute of the time I’ve had, and wouldn’t change it for the world, but – I don’t know, I think deep down I knew it wasn’t for me forever. I don’t think I could be a long term stay at home Mum.
A work though, I do feel like I’m good at something. It’s nice working with families that I worked with before i went off on maternity leave. I like being able to be organised, to think in a logical way. And I just love helping people. I have met so many people, families and carers who are fantastic. I enjoy working with people over time, and I enjoy doing my absolute best to make sure that I can make their lives as easy as it can be.
I want to share an example of one family that I’ve worked with, that has had a bit impact on my life. It’s a man who cares for his wife with advanced dementia. When I first met them, his wife never stayed still, and used to talk a lot – she could never follow an in depth conversation because of her illness, but I could interact with her. Over time that has changed, and now she doesn’t walk at all, she only says occasional words, and she just looks more poorly than she used to. Through it all, her husband has been determined that she will stay with him at home. He says that he would never want her to go into a care home, and he does a fantastic job. He loves her unconditionally. And, at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I know I’ve had an impact on him too. He trusts me to support them, and trusts my opinion. When I first met him, he didn’t trust any social workers – he said that he had been let down a lot before. But, he knows that ill do my best for them. He cried when I came back to work and visited them as he said he was so happy I was back. I honestly feel lucky to work with people like this couple, and it’s not a chore, but a pleasure to be able to make sure that both of them are well at home. It’s not always easy; he has health problems too, and she has been really poorly a couple of times, and it was a lot of work getting things right for them both. But it’s worth it, as she is so relaxed at home compared to when she’s elsewhere, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.
So I’ve gone off track a bit! But the point is, that full time my job was too full on to really enjoy; I didn’t have any time to reflect, to absorb things that had happened, and. Had no space in my head.
But part time I’m loving it. I feel like I’ve remembered all the things I love about it, and when I feel like this I am better at what I do. It’s great.
So, part time is working for us so far. And my children love it too – Rosie hasn’t even cried for the childminder yet, and Amelia loves going – she usually wants to stay there to play, and not come home! So I’m happy, they are happy and we have a few days to do fun things I between. Today we’ve been swimming, tomorrow may be soft play. We have time to have quality time together, which we all seem to appreciate more when there’s slightly less of it.