So I’ve been a working Mum for just over two weeks now. It’s been a little turbulent but all in all so far so good. At the moment we’re extremely lucky as Eadie attends a wonderful nursery two days a week, with forest schooling ethos (love anything remotely Scandinavian ‘Hygge’ and all that jazz), spends one day with Grandma (by far her favourite person), one day with Daddy (naps of four hours) and one day with me (naps for on average 22 minutes).
My partner and I are both currently working ‘5 in 4’. I’m lucky enough to work for my father who appreciates the need for a good work life balance. My partner is lucky enough to work for a company who are forward thinking enough to allow him flexible working as a father. On that note I read a couple of interesting articles on the BBC today regarding this. We feel so incredibly lucky that Eadie gets this rare one on one time with her Daddy. As a trio of Mums we’re all hugely supportive of Flex Appeal (more on this later, probably from Dani!).
I digress. So work/nursery day one. Wake up feel sick realise I have to abandon my entirely oblivious child with strangers for 10 hours. Rush around to ready us both. In order for Daddy to work 5 in 4 he’s now doing far longer hours so unable to help as much as usual in the mornings. Make it out of the door by 7.55 (plan was 7.45 so not too bad!). Drive up the long 15 mph road to nursery wondering how I reached this point so quickly. And we’re there. Eadie is calm. So much so she’s napping. In we go. What happens next is a blur. I literally launch my child at her poor key worker and run. I figured it would do no one any good to stay any longer than necessary. Feel instantly guilty. Lovely girls on reception ask if I’m ok and suggest I get a coffee. I think gin is probably more appropriate make this joke and instantly regret it, they possibly think I’m an alcoholic now… Walk out. Not so bad. Get in car. Bawl my eyes out.
I genuinely didn’t expect to cry. I joke about it. Thought one probably ought to cry but still didn’t expect to do so. I still can’t really explain why I cried. She was fine. In really excellent hands and had been ok at her two taster sessions. I honestly think it must be some weird emotional detachment. Perhaps a therapist can explain it to me one day. If you didn’t see the the aftermath of ‘the first drop off’ please swing over to our Instagram to take a look. Prior to posting it I asked my partner if my ‘cry face’ was too ugly to show world and he said “it’s the ugly truth”. And he was right it was (he quickly assured me I had quite a pretty cry face). A really tough moment that so many of us will experience. Maybe some of the tears were because I didn’t feel that guilty about leaving her. I was keen to return to work and excited to have a little bit of the (dare I say it) old me back. That’s quite hard to say out loud actually but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I give Eadie my absolute all and that’s more than I’ve given anything else, ever and actually I think I’m quite good at being a Mummy.
FYI when I picked her up that evening she was the only one left!!! That did make me cry again. The nursery insisted it was a complete fluke and bad luck. Oh and of course one day in she’d already caught a cold! That said I’m told she’s doing extremely well and is very settled already. I still throw her at nursery staff and run away to avoid seeing any tears. What you don’t know can’t hurt you right and she barely even notices when I arrive to pick her up.
And so to work. I did a few days in the run up to my return to get used to the business again. First class customer service is key to our brand so you need to know what’s going on and who’s who when responding to emails and calls. I seem to have settled back in well and I’m enjoying ‘the daily grind’ because frankly it’s a lot easier than looking after a child 24/7. Hats off to full time Mums and Dads I have the upmost respect and admiration for you. As far as I’m concerned it’s the far tougher option. But working feels different now. I feel more focused and more in control. I think as Mum you have to be so highly organised (even if you don’t realise it) to achieve anything in the course of a day and I’m transferring that to the workplace. I feel more capable than ever before. Something about raising a child makes you feel very empowered (such a cliche).
But it’s strange, I genuinely feel as though my career, maybe even my life, has more purpose. I think I’ve spent a lot of time before now being quite aimless. I guess before, ultimately, it was just me depending on me and now there’s a tiny little person who depends on me (us) too. This is definitely not to say those who don’t have children lack purpose. Far from it. Maybe this, for me, was the kick up the backside I needed to step up a bit and be something. Blimey things have got have a little deep no?!
As I enter my third week as a working Mum I think I’ve realised it is possible to be apart from your child, still love and adore them unconditionally and be doing the right thing for all of you. When Eadie does eventually notice I’ve arrived to collect her, she lights up and it’s pretty special. It genuinely makes her waking us up several time a night a little (a tiny) bit easier. We’re still learning how to get ourselves out of the house on time but we’re getting there. On that note she woke up so late this morning. Never wake a sleeping baby. But do if you have to leave for work/nursery run imminently? Advise on this please?! I HATE it if an hour passes and I’ve given her little or no thought. Is that normal to briefly forget you’ve had a child??? I entitled this blog post ‘Two Weeks Older’ as I really feel as though I have grown a lot in the past 14 days. I’m excited about things to come now. For all three of us the thrive. Further updates to come.