I’m starting back at work in a few days’ time. After 54 weeks away from the office, it feels like just a heartbeat ago that I said goodbye to my colleagues.
And at the same time it feels like a lifetime, which it is really, my baby’s lifetime. He has only ever known life with his mama all day every day. He starts in the crèche for a short visit with me on Monday and everything is going to change forever from there.
My life will too. I’ll walk through the doors of my employers as a working mum for the first time. Probably with toast crumbs in my hair and snot on my shoulder.
I’m considerably more relaxed about it than I thought I would be but maybe that’s because it doesn’t feel quite real yet. I was terribly worked up about it a few weeks ago when I thought I had an insurmountable amount of work to do around preparing S for crèche by cutting back on feeds and upping solids etc.
I was finding it very difficult to get information and help about it and I’ve learned pretty quickly that most health professionals know sweet FA about breastfeeding passed 6 months. In the end, a wonderfully helpful and understanding La Leche League leader managed to remedy both my issue and my mindset in one phone call. Since then the stress has totally gone out the window and I’m just taking this precious time to enjoy myself and S because it’ll never just be him and me all day every day again.
I’m being really self indulgent. We’re enjoying daytime naps together. I’m breathing in his beautiful warm baby scent and stroking his lovely dark blonde curls while he pats my chest and puts up his hand for me to nibble on his fingers when we’re nursing. We’re spending some quality time with the washing machine and tumble dryer which he absolutely loves. He balances between my crouching legs while he bashes the glass of the washing machine and then opens and closes the tumble dryer door. We’re walking the whole of the house: up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, into the shower, out of the shower, into the shower. He with his arms up, two fists firmly grasped around my fingers, me bent over shuffling along behind him. We’re singing lots of songs and giggling at the funny noises we make at each other. The house is like a bomb hit it (so what’s new?) but I don’t care. I’m trying to drink him in and steal as many cuddles from him while I can.
What I really want is to split myself in two: me who stays at home with my little boy and me who goes back to work and builds my career and provides for my family, but I want to experience both of those things at the same time. At least then there’d be no compromising and no wishing I was doing one while engaged in the other.
I have been so very lucky to have been in the position to take as much leave as I have and to spend this precious, precious time with S. But as with all good things, we always want more, don’t we?