I spent months trying not to think about the inevitable return to work, weeks worrying I wouldn't be able to cope and adjust to my new reality, and the last few days pretty damned depressed.
I had had it all figured out before I left work - I was going to be a 4-day a week Mama powerhouse. And then I was told I couldn't be a 4-day a week working Mama and with that I started to lose my power, my confidence and the balance I thought I had all planned out.
The days in the run up to my first day back were pretty angsty with a mix of excitement. I was nervous that my baby brain had rotted through my core processing skills and would render me incompetent. I was worried I wouldn't match up to my Mat leave cover and strangely to my own reputation. I struggled imagining 8 hours without a Bambina smile and snotty hug. I had a complete melt down when I imagined what getting out in the morning might look like.
But you know what; I loved my first day back in the office, back on the wheel, back to the grind. Away from dirty nappies, napping arm ache, feeding schedules, endless washing up and sanity stealing cbeebies. Surrounded by people who speak words, who chat about stuff and who don't need brightly coloured objects flashing and noisemaking in their vicinity 24/7. I had targets but time to drink tea (which was delivered to my desk!!) I had a toilet trip on my own (nearly leaving the door ajar forgetting the social convention is not to overshare). I ate hot food hot. And my brain was stimulated not partially falling to sleep with endless monotony.
I started to recognise myself. A little glimpse of the pre-mama me who didn't endlessly worry about nappy content consistency, feel guilty about everything and had time to keep her own mind in check so felt a little less crazy.
The day went quickly and did not drag.
I bound out of there like an over excited Andrex puppy on my own super hero mission (AKA getting to nursery before being charged the thieving £1/minute late fee!) And when I grabbed Bambina into the tightest hug I felt complete and satisfied. I enjoyed the witching hour because she wasn't being so witchy and then got up through the night happy to comfort her tears.
As the days went on I felt much the same. Really bloody tired - but actually very content. Happy. I realise now how much I need my own space, my own time, my own achievements to feel genuinely content in myself. I am a happier Mommy and Bambina is reaping the rewards, but I am also a total zombie in need of some early nights and power naps.
Ask me in a few months if I still love being a working mom. But for now I do - I love being the snot stained, black under eyes, unwashed mum-bun, drinking hot beverage hot, exhausted Mama earning a little life and sanity before rushing home to her Bambina's love.
Moral of the story - Don't stress because it might just be better than you imagine and even if it's not you can always break away, make a plan, do a u-turn. Us Mamas are power houses and we should try to remember that more often and seek what makes us happy as opposed to what we think will make other people happy - and by people I mean judgemental society who don't even know you, can't relate to you and can just damn well swivel.