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Returning to work

(5 Posts)
Mummyk1982 Mon 29-Dec-14 21:28:16

Hi all,

It's that dreaded time.....returning to work after Mat leave :-(
I go back in 2 weeks time, only 16 hrs a week to a new job in a new workplace with new people and it's quite a senior management role so I feel all eyes will be on me. DD will be 9 months and 11 days.

I really really really don't want to go back- would much rather be a stay at home mum but finances don't allow. DH and I have agreed for me to work the bare minimum needed to pay the bills so I get as much time with DD as possible. Child Care with family is all arranged and seems to be a pretty good set up.

I feel so meh about returning to work and am seeking some reassurance from those who have been in the position and have then found it to be fine and enjoyed themselves!
My thoughts are:
1- DD currently going through clingy phase, cries when I leave the room etc and whilst it's frustrating I just don't want to cause her unnecessary upset
2- DD just started crawling, pulling up on furniture, can say Dadda (still awaiting Mumma)- I'm sure I'm going to miss a first (be it walking, another word etc)- and this really upsets me, and annoys me!
3- DD was exclusively breast fed until we started weaning. Weaning is going really well and she now seems to be cutting back a bit on breast feeds- I will express for her to have milk while I'm gone but I worry it'll encourage her off the boob earlier than if I were able to feed her as normal
4- DD sleep not great at the moment and we often end up co sleeping from 5am in order for her to complete a nights sleep- this isn't going to be possible as I'm going to need to be up at 5am. I know this phase will pass as this happened before when she was poorly and as soon as she was better normal service resumed (she's full of cold and teething at the moment), but again I want to be able to see it through with her.
5- on the same note, I'm anxious that with the number of interruptions to sleep at the moment I'm not going to be able to perform in my new job to the best of my ability- just putting more pressure on myself I guess.
6- I just want to be there to see my DD's development and don't want to miss out, and don't want her to feel 'abandoned' by me

I know I sound precious about returning to work. The original plan was that I wouldn't return until DD was one, but as a result of some personal circumstances (death in the family, and knock on effect to childcare) I had to seek out a new job and they asked me to start sooner than I'd have liked- to secure the job and the money I couldn't really say no.

Fingers crossed in two weeks time it'll all feel fine :-/

Hedgehogging Mon 29-Dec-14 22:41:12

You will be FINE! I went back to work when DD was just 4 months. 16 hours a week just like you.

I was so stressed about it- felt like I was being a terrible mother to be leaving her, worried she wouldn't take my expressed milk, worried she wouldn't take to CM etc etc.

First day back (4 hours) and regular texts from lovely CM and I realised all would be well. DD had no problem resuming BFing when I was with her and very quickly adapted to the new set up.

Now I love the balance we have- I get to use a different bit of my brain, put on nice shoes and speak to grown-ups 4 mornings a week, she has someone different and delightful to play with, and then I come home dying to see her and so enthusiastic about our time together (even when I just slob out lazily on the floor with her and a box of toys).

It really will be better than you fear. Might take some time for her to settle (DD refused to nap the first few mornings and only took a teeny bit of bottle) but she will and it will be great. IMHE anyway!

Best of luck and try to look on it as something that might end up enriching the time you spend being a mum thanks.

Hedgehogging Mon 29-Dec-14 22:45:31

Oh and also, haven't missed any milestones (at least CM has kept quiet if I have!), no problems with separation anxiety thanks to lots of peek-a-boo and me always letting her know I'm leaving and will see her later whether she understands or not and even though we're in the midst of a major 8 month sleep regression I'm actually coping fine. DP takes any wake ups for the hour before I get up so at least I feel somewhat refreshed.

BackforGood Mon 29-Dec-14 22:47:23

It will be fine.
Its a bit scary starting a new job, and its a bit scary going back to work after youve been off for 10 months or however long - you have a double whammy, but once you're at work, you'll focus on that, and not stop to think much about her whilst working.
You are working a tiny number of hours, so will be spending nearly all your time with her anyhow.

Strawberrybubblegum Tue 30-Dec-14 20:10:27

You'll be fine - and even if it's hard to start with it will get better. I found the first few weeks really hard (felt awful about leaving DD, and felt like I was in the wrong place, and not in my real life). It started to feel OK after about 4 months, and by about 10 months I was really happy that I'd gone back. Some people feel fine from the start, but even if you don't then know it will get better.

You're really lucky that you can use family childcare: it will be great for your baby to build strong relationships with other family members. It may still be hard (for both of you) when you walk out of the door, but you will know that this is something which is genuinely positive for her. And she will get used to it. She'll soon learn that you do come back, and it honestly won't harm her. She will have loving, attentive care from someone she builds a strong relationship with, and all the research says that is as good for her as being with you every day. And 2 days a week really is so little. I do 3 days, and after the first few weeks (when I admit I was counting the hours until I could see DD again) I've always found that the days fly by. I have more days with my daughter than I spend at work, and it does genuinely feel like that. It feels to me that the time away also gives me time to be 'me' and clear my head, and makes our time together even better, since it doesn't feel relentless.

I can't think of any firsts I've missed: I'm still the person who spends most time with DD so I think that's why I get most of them! Maybe ask your family not to mention them, then you won't know even if you miss one! I do find though that what is exciting is that DD can now do something new, rather than witnessing it directly. Walking was maybe the exception to that, although I'm not sure what I actually count as first there (first stumble? first deliberate half step/single step? first time she got a reasonable distance? It was more gradual than a single event).

You should hopefully be able to continue breastfeeding. When I went back at 11 months, we went down to just 2 feeds a day (down from 3), and we continued with that for 6 months until it felt like we were both ready to stop. You might find that your DD naturally shifts her waking up time to when you leave the house (ours did - painful for the weekends!) so you can do the first feed of the day then. Will you be back in time for the bedtime feed? I found that a lovely way to reconnect after a day apart. (so much so that I delayed stopping bf for a while, although it felt fine when we did since we still have lovely bedtime cuddles).

It would be good if you could sort out sleeping so that you get a good night's sleep. Is she sleeping through apart from the early morning? If not, I'd consider sleep training of some kind (another thread!) but not now. You are too close to what will be a big transition for you both now, so I'd wait a few months. (Also, 9 months is a classic time for sleep regression and a bad time for sleep training. 12-16 months is a better time).

The last thing I'd say - and I don't mean to be patronising here, so please forgive me if that's how it come across - is that although I don't think work feels quite the same for lots of people once they have a child, do make sure you throw yourself into it! My main worry would be that I'm not sure 2 days would be enough for me to feel fully part of what's going on, and engaged and committed - and that's important in order to feel happy there.

Best of luck when you go back. You and your daughter really will be fine. x

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