The Working Conspiracy

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I take a deep breath, plaster a smile on my face and then cheerily proceed with the hello’s and how are you’s. However, I know it won’t take long. I can feel myself getting agitated before I hear a single one of those words. I’m waiting, thinking, ‘Go on then, say it!’

‘Not long ’til you go back to work is it?’

Boom. There it is, hitting me square between the eyes. Those ten little words. One dreaded phrase that is following me round from house to house. Wherever I go – hello, there it is – again.

WORK. WORK! Why would I want to talk about that?

The dreaded phrase is usually followed by my husbands laughter as he says, ‘You’ve gone and done it now, you’ve said that word, she’s absolutely seething now!’ I smile politely, as if to say, ‘No it’s fine’ – but really he’s absolutely right.

I’m honestly not sure how many times people feel the need to rub it in – sorry, remind me – that I’m returning to work and it is looming in the not to distant future. What is there to gain from such cruelty? Especially as I’m trying so hard to convince myself that I have ages to go. I mean three months is a quarter of a year after all, isn’t it? But no, they wont let me live inside my happy bubble, they must pop it. BANG – and it’s gone again. I’m positive that there a conspiracy to upset me and ruin my maternity leave completely. Why would people do this? The simple answer – because they can’t wait to get rid of me.

Lately, (well since my son was born) I’ve found that it is in fact very easy to feel like no one actually wants to know you anymore. You are merely a means to get access to the baby and as a result they will tolerate your presence. Those words, with the accompanying smug grins and the look of pure excitement combine to say what they really mean – get your arse back to work so I can have the baby. I don’t normally consider myself a violent person, but whenever I hear that phrase I have to quickly swallow down the urge to punch whoever said it square on the nose and remind myself that I am indeed related to them.

Is it really a conspiracy? No, probably not. (Although, yes in a small number of cases!) Do I have a handle on my emotions? Pre-baby, yes. Post-baby – not so much. The strongest of my ‘new’ emotions is ‘the primal protective urge’. It’s true, some people might say (even the pre-baby me), that this emotion is in complete irrational overdrive and kicks in over the smallest of things. But even if that’s true, I now trust no-one. And that is where my problem really lies. It is not so much the actual working – although that is a big problem in itself – but that it doesn’t matter to me if they’ve had children of their own, are a grandmother or even if they played a role in my upbringing – because they don’t know MY baby like I do and I don’t want to leave him.

However, is it really as simple as just ‘I don’t want to leave him’? No, because I do realise that even if I were to be a stay at home mum, at some point I’d have to leave him in someone else’s care. Having only left him for the grand total of an hour in his whole 15 weeks of life, that’s probably a hurdle I’ll have to jump way before returning to work. So why is returning to work filling me with such dread? Surely a bit more adult conversation will do me some good, won’t it?
Well, have I missed work? No, not one bit.
Am I work shy, wanting to stay inside my cosy little home and head out for a coffee morning or two with the baby in tow? No (well, maybe a tad!)
But that’s still not it.

It’s more about wishing work to be more on my own terms and wondering whether or not I will be able to cope with the changes ahead of me.
Can I cope with the 4am feed knowing my alarm will go off at 6am?
Can I cope with transitioning to combination feeding or will the fear of my milk drying up drive me to hide in the staff toilets expressing like some demented cow lady?
Can I cope with the fact that despite me insisting people follow my baby’s daily routine, I already know that they won’t?
Can I cope with the guilt of not wanting my baby to be upset being left with someone else – yet inappropriately and selfishly wanting him to miss me?

Is this what working mummy guilt feels like? I don’t know.
But what I do know, even if I find it hard to remember, is that I am lucky.
I’m lucky that I’m only working three days a week. I’m lucky that I have people around me to offer help and support when I need it. And I’m lucky that whilst I am working (when the dreaded time comes), my baby will be being looked after by people who love him dearly (even if they do want rid of me!)

Dear Bear and Beany

18 thoughts on “The Working Conspiracy”

  1. Aw, I love this. It sums up what every mother thinks of when they go back to work. I’m sure it won’t be as awful as you think! Adult interaction is something you don’t realise you miss until you have it one day lol. I’m quite lucky I’m a SAHM right now, but I thought of going back to work and the same thoughts crossed my mind as yours. (And I don’t think anyone secretly wants you out of the equation! ?) Great post! – becky x

    1. Thanks Becky! I’m sure you’re right- I’ll definitely be doing a post about going back to work when the time comes ?

  2. you’re right, it’s a conspiracy. Lock all the doors and don’t let anyone in your home for the next 3 months. LOL.

    I’m going through the exact same feelings right now as I’ve got 3 months left before I return to work too. I’ve had my two babies pretty much back to back and returned to work full time for 6 months (I was already pregnant when I went back). I think that’s what made it easier, knowing I’d be back off again. What I can say, though, in all honesty, is how I felt at baby’s 9 month mark and how I felt at her 12 month mark were totally different. My cute smiling, undemanding baby suddenly turned into a toddler at one. It was hard work and I was actually looking forward to just being able to go to the loo on my own and use my brain.

    Yet here I am again at the 9 months stage with baby no. 2 and can’t imagine work yet. I feel the exact same way I did first time around. I can only compare it to being in the early days of love. You can’t get enough of each other and don’t want to be apart. It’s the stage when they are suddenly more fun and interacting with you. You know each other without needing to communicate. How could anyone possibly understand what your baby wants other than you?! All I can say is that my daughter had our niece look after her full time as a nanny for 6 months and to this day (she’s now 2yr and 3 m) she STILL talks about her and wants to skype her every day. I promise the love between you and your baby will still be there. Your baby’s world will just be bigger, with more people to love and more people to love him. Right, now go back in your baby cave and hide for the next 3 months. #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. @topfivemum thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely make the most of my baby cave while I can!

  3. Going back to work really is such a tough time – it’s so full of uncertainty, you just don’t know how you’ll cope until you’re there. For what it’s worth, I went back 2 days and I think 2/3 days is lovely – enough time to give you a bit of focus, but you still have plenty of time with your baby. Oh, and I totally understand the feeling that people just want you out of the way – I get this constantly from my in-laws, they have zero interest in me (or my husband!), it’s just all about their grandson. I think they wish we didn’t exist! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Thanks hotpinkwellingtons, I’m hoping the balance feels right when I’m back and do try to remember I’ve got more days a week with baby at home than working so I’m lucky really.

  4. I remember all these emotions, I think what was scaring me was the change in routine, could I manage it & would we all be ok. And it was. The thoughts of change I feel are always harder than when change actually happens. Make sure you do get some of your terms when you return to work, you are entitled to time to pump milk, so take the time. Good luck with the next part of your life. X #sharingthebloglove

  5. That’s the biggest thing for me I think, the wanting to work on my own terms which so many employers just don’t let happen. It’s tough! #SharingtheBlogLove

  6. It’s a shame that people can’t just live in the moment rather than rushing onto the next thing. Maternity leave is such a short time, you want to enjoy it and focus on baby, not worry about when you go back to work. It’s come soon enough!

  7. Yes, this sums up all the feelings perfectly. I have gone back to work three times now after baby. It was very difficult. Was it the right thing? I have no idea. Good luck to you!

    1. Thanks Barrie – I guess we never really know what’s the right thing to do, all we can do is our best and what’s right at the time ?

  8. It’s also pretty tough for involved dads to go back to work. So close to the little one for so long, when I started work for 3 days a week again I still spend most of the morning thinking about him and how he’s doing. But he learns so much at nursery! And tends to be really happy when I pick him up to. Going back to work is also just a matter of getting use to it, like we did when they were first born and they turned our lives upside down! 🙂

    1. So true Dad’s Turn – they definitely turn our lives upside down and I guess that’ll never stop! There’s positives at every turn so I’ll try to focus on those – glad your little one is enjoying nursery ?

  9. It’s so hard, there’s no two ways about it, BUT you will adjust. it will take time but i’m sure you will adjust. It took me about 6 weeks. I remember the first time I left my baby with my husband to nip to the supermarket, it felt so weird! Maybe try an hour, then two hours, then three hours/a morning to ease yourself into being away from your baby. good luck! #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Thanks Susie at This is me now. Funnily enough, me and my husband were thinking of building up a plan like that only this morning!

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