Twas the night before back to work,
When all through the house,
All that could be heard was ‘shit, none of my work uniform fits’
BACK TO WORK
That’s right. After 432 days I am returning to work. Well I say returning to work, I mean I’m returning to the part time (4 days a week) job on top of the full-time mumming.
It was actually Friday I checked my school uniform scenario which resulted in the swearing into the wardrobe. All I had that actually fitted was underwear and tights! Although my work offers a ‘smart casual’ work policy I’m not too sure how my colleagues would react if I rocked up in this combo! What followed was then panic buying from Sainsburys. I reckon I’ve now got a few decent combinations until I shed the baby timber (read ice cream and Christmas contraband timber) and can return to my old clothes.
‘Hunt the work bag’ was a fun game. When I finally found my lovely leather bag it looked very sorry for itself. It had become a contortionist, bent in ways it shouldn’t be and sporting a good layer of dust.
The modest heel office shoe scenario wasn’t much better. They had been relegated to the back of the cupboard behind trainers and boots.
In the run up to this event people have asked am I ‘excited’ to be returning to work. I think ‘excited’ is a strong word in this scenario but I’m actually ok about it.
RETURN TO WORK TAKE 1
After Toby I was chomping at the bit to get back to work after 10 months off. I really can’t remember my exact emotions running up to the return, other than I was an anxious ball of nerves in general, but I remember thinking everything would return to some sort of normality. That I would drop him off to nursery, go and be Emma the professional for 7 hours, and then have a lovely family evening. Oh, bless the naive me.
RETURN TO WORK TAKE 2
Second time round and I’ve made the most of my time off. Not once have I wished it away. Of course, there have been some difficult times. Plenty of sleep deprived hazy days where I didn’t know my arse from my elbow. But on the whole, I’ve really tried to see the best in every situation and enjoy my family time. I realise I’m very fortunate to have had so much time off, a unique opportunity that won’t be repeated (unless I win the lottery.)
Good thing about having a baby in November means you get to tag on annual leave, hence the 14 months off. So yes, I’m ready to go back. I have to go back, I’ve depleted our savings! It feels quite neat going back in January. A new year, a new fresh start.
GO EASY ON YOURSELF
I did have a bit of a sicky feeling in my tummy this weekend but then I had a think about it. No one is expecting me to pick up exactly where I left off. Of course, I’m going to be a bit rusty. I’ll be happy if I can string a sentence together. Even more so if I can find some of my eloquent big lawyer words. I used to have a ‘spiel’. I can’t remember the ‘spiel’ but I’m sure it’s lurking ready to be regurgitated. However, I expect the reality will be reading files on my first day as I.T. won’t have pulled their finger out and got me signed back up to the system!
And I get to ease back in with the travel as Darren has two days off to look after the children before school starts. So actually Day 1 & 2 are shaping up quite nicely. I can shower in peace without spectators. I will drive the 15 minutes on my own listening to whatever I want at a volume of my choosing. A ‘hot’ cup of tea will be consumed, maybe a few throughout the course of the day. And here’s the biggy. I will have a lunch break. One whole hour to myself when I can do whatever the hell I want! Working on an industrial estate my choices are somewhat limited but still.
WORK/LIFE JUGGLING ACT
The solo morning parenting, school bus drop off, nursery drop off, lawyering, nursery pick up, school pick up juggling scenario starts on Wednesday. I’m not too worried about how it will all pan out. I’m really fortunate to have a very supportive employer who support various ways of flexible working. I’ve changed my hours to suit what I think might work. If it doesn’t, I know I can revisit it. I’m also working from home one day a week. Another arrangement to suit my lacking in work clothes scenario.
So, there we have it. Emma the wife/mum/just me is adding Emma the lawyer back into the mix. Check back next week to see how the first week went…………………………
LBB’S TOP TIPS
- Check your work wardrobe actually fits a little in advance so you don’t need to panic buy new clothes!
- Have a think about whether your previous hours are workable with your new family circumstances. Maybe even a slight change would make life so much easier for you. Don’t struggle needlessly. Have the conversation with your employer. I’d suggest being ready with alternative scenarios.
- Don’t expect to be the same super-efficient employee on Day 1 back as the person who left however many months ago. No one is going to expect that of you so don’t be your harshest critic. Cut yourself some slack.
- Share your feelings/concerns with your family/partner/friends. Can someone else help with the pick-ups/drop offs? This is not the time to try and be a trooper and do it all yourself