I am going back to my job part-time next week after 14 months of maternity leave.
It brings a chapter of my life to a close and another one is beginning. I look forward to: listening to podcasts on my commute, wearing dangly earrings, being part of a team, talking to other adults, warm tea, learning new things, yoga in the office on Fridays and eating lunch without a million interruptions. But as much as I’m looking forward to the break from total 24/7 parenting, I am also sad about missing out on time with Clem and Leo. It’s a balancing act, right?
If mothering was a paid job I would sit down with my boss each year and reflect on what I’ve achieved and identify the areas I need to work on. Instead, I’ll tell you. I have:
- Loved and cared for little Clem.
- Loved and cared for Leo, and helped him transition to big school.
- Recovered from my second bout of postnatal psychosis and depression (the first was after Leo’s birth).*
- Developed my skills as a cook/cleaner/playmate/dispute resolutions consultant/mumma bear/school mum/washerwoman.
- Worked hard on everything to do with this book (we are going to launch our crowdfunding campaign to actually get the book printed in August – more details to come of course!).
It’s been great work – all of it. I am so grateful to have had this precious time with my family.
The areas I need to work on are: going with the flow, working exercise into my everyday routine, spending time with Jeff where we are not sitting on the couch working on our laptops, and not flying off the handle at Leo.
I find the time right before a change or transition the hardest. The waiting, the over-thinking – gets me frazzled every time.
Baby and kid land is full of transitions. It gives you the chance to really hone your ‘going with the flow’ skills. Kids are great at living in the moment, but heaven knows I need all the practice I can get!
- Dropping naps
- Toilet training
- New beds
- New ways of getting to sleep
- Starting solids
- Going back to work
- New siblings
- New daycare/preschool/big school
I am exhausted just reading this list! But we get through it all, and afterwards I can’t see what all the fuss was about.
If I’m feeling tense and overwhelmy about a change coming up I try to remind myself that it is going to happen whether I resist it, wish it away, or just hang in there. So I may as well relax into it as much as I can and enjoy the ride.
* I am slipping this in like it’s no big deal, but this has been a big challenge for me. It’s something I will have a post devoted to soon because often people stay quiet about mental health issues and I am ready to talk about it.
– For more about ‘going with the flow’ – see my post about the book ‘Buddhism for Mothers’