Very confused(9 Posts)
It's very un-MN, but I'd like to offer you a consoling hug, OP.
The first few months of being back at work are very hard, just like having a newborn is hard. You go from having a nicely sorted out life to one in which the day seems like an endless rush driven by everyone and everything but you. Your sleep suffers. You're on an endless learning curve. You feel like you're being judged and found wanting.
Like having a newborn, it will all settle down but it will take a good few months. I went back to work after each of my three children, and each time I had to go through an adjustment period - though that period got easier/shorter every time I did it. The first time was awful though, and I sat at my desk for the first through weeks feeling much as you are now. I think it's especially difficult sitting there feeling inadequate (probably undeservedly so) while you feel that you've recently been doing something profoundly important at home.
My youngest is now three and I am, for the moment, working full time. It's fine, and they're fine - still blooming, even. But you will all need a bit of time to adjust, and try to be gentle with yourself while you're doing it.
I'm with Natasha. I only had a 3 month maternity leave and I felt things were unfamiliar and strange when I went back. I think when you become a parent and spend some time at home it's so massively different to your previous life that shifting back is a huge adjustment. So for someone who's been out for 5 long years its hardly surprising its going to be a shock to your system.
You're expecting too much of yourself to just slip back in without a backward glance after all this time. I would say you'd need to give it a few months to really judge whether its right for you at this time.
If you decide you really can't work at the moment it's probably a wise idea to form a longer term plan in your mind, because you may want or need to work again in the future whether in your previous field or a new one
PS ALL childcare is extortionate! It must feel awful if you feel you are shelling out a lot of money for someone else to be with your kids when you're miserable at work, but the initial period is bound to be the worst so give yourself a chance.
5 years is a long break ... but 10 would be even longer. It is always hard going back to work and the longer you were off, the longer it will take to settle into it again. So I really wouldn't make any rash decisions. You don't have to stay in the job, but give yourself 6 months. I fear if you leave very quickly you'll never build confidence to return to work in future, whenever that may be.
I am not surprised you feel like that after 5 years off, this is entirely normal and I would say that most people feel like that to a certain extent. I still regularly feel like that and it is my DH who keeps me going and encouraging me. One bit of advice he gave me and that has served me well, is not to look at it as a "forever" plan. Look at it as the next month, then the next year. Give yourself time to get used to things in order to be able to evaluate it more objectively.
If you still then feel the same, after say 6 months you can give up in the knowledge that you have given it a good shot and you are 100% convinced it is not for you. Good luck...
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The first week in any job is always a difficult time, in my experience. Lots to take on board plus the logistics of just getting to work with childcare etc. it's physically very tiring too.
While you're taking stock, is there any scope to keep going for a few weeks at work? Just to keep more options open?
I went back to work as a professional this week after five years and having had 3 kids. I enjoyed being at home and much to everyone's surprise have been coping very well with 3 children aged 5 and under. However - I dnt know why I always thought I'll be really happy when I go back to work. To cut a long story short I arranged extortionately expensive childcare and went back. Sat at my desk I knew it would be hard to begin with but I was miserable all week. I knew it'd be hard but I felt like my spark has really gone. It's long hours and my confidence has just rocketed for a number of reasons. I don't think I'll be going back again. Which makes me very happy when I think of the upheaval my going back to work caused the family and home. But also very sad, as I pretty certain that I won't be going back to work for a very long time, if at all. I've just been out for too long and competition is rife. The legal market is extremely competitive. My husband is happy for me to stay at home and run the household ( I do a lot with the kids and they have really blossomed as a result at such an early age) I haven't told my work (they are old colleagues of mine) and I'll be really embarrassed not to mention family/friends and school mums who were very interested in my going back to work part time. I am very confused and just don't know what to do. I just cannot bear to even think about going back into that office. Not at all. The kids are happy and in strange way I too. Five years was just too long a break to take . Without wanting to out myself I dabbled in local politics whilst at home and did well despite having young children but I'll be stepping down soon as I don't want to do it anymore. I've been juggling several roles for a while and feel the need to just sod it and take off all the various hats I've been wearing for a while and stay at home and take stock and see where I end up. I just thought I could restart my career but don't think I'll be able to. Very confused at the moment.........sorry for rambling........
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