I’m not going to lie; having a baby requires energy, patience, eyes in the back of your head and a reasonable amount of (but not too much) wine. Leaving the house showered, dressed in clean clothes and with two (matching) shoes on is one of life’s greatest achievements as a new mum.

"Remind yourself that you are setting a great example as a working mum, so be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey! You will be great!"

— Hassia Hamidou, A Proud Working Mum

The end is near, or is it the beginning?

But what happens when the end of maternity leave looms and you’ve got to do all of the above, tie in a nursery drop-off and head to work for a whole day with your ‘creative brain’ on? Who is going to clean the house, pick up the random toys scattered around the living room, iron, change bed sheets, do the food shopping, pop to the post office to return ridiculous amounts of clothes you don’t actually need but insist on buying anyway? And what about the baby? The baby who has depended on you, just you and nothing else but you for the last 12 months?

So much anticipation lingers in the run up to the return to work that nothing else comes into focus. I remember feeling fear and dread for about 2 months before my return. These emotions are not related to work itself, but related to questioning whether I am doing the right thing – am I a good mum for leaving my child in someone else’s hands? Is he too young to be left at nursery? Will he be ok without me? What if I didn’t return to work and stayed at home until he went to school, making the most of the time we have together?

A Million Questions

All of my focus seems to be on my son, and the ‘what happens if…’? But what about the return to work itself? Why have I not been thinking about, or worrying about this? I mean, I haven’t used a Mac in over a year (that’s a lie, I designed my son’s 1st birthday invitations, that counts as design, right?). Will I know how to use the software again? Am I still as creative as I used to be? Will I just be able to go back to work without sitting there day dreaming about what my son is up to, whether he is ok and whether he misses me as much as I hope he does?!

I don’t think you can really prepare for returning to work after becoming a mum, but if you have a good support network around you it doesn’t have to be that bad. The support and understanding I received from my family and friends means that I can honestly say, returning to the world of work really isn’t as bad as I thought. And, let’s face it, it’s much easier being at work than it is at home with a baby, right?

Header photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash