All The Feelings You Feel As a Mum Going Back to Work

I go back to work next month. First of all let’s get the giggles out of the way, yes I’ve had a year off to raise my little guy. No I’ve not been on ‘a vacation,’ you wouldn’t call having a major operation, shit up your arm and sleepless nights (and not for the fun reason) a vacation. Ok, maybe it does sound like a stag. You got me.

I’ve been helping Freddie grow into a tiny person all year long. And this tiny person will one day be a big person who can make his own decisions and run his own life. But for this past year, it has been mostly just us bumming around, crying, giggling and pulling faces. Every little trick is a milestone and I didn’t want to miss any of it.  And I love him, and I love this, but as he becomes less dependent on me and ventures out into the big wide world, I also need to keep a foot in my own grownup world. For my own happiness and sense of self.

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So what will my first week be like? I am sure there will be guilt, there will be tears, there will be wine. I will not be the same person I was at work before Freddie. I can’t be. I see the world completely differently since having him, every emotion is so much stronger. I love harder. I cry harder. I am more political and easily moved by risky events. Movies I watched before having Freddie that meant nothing, all of a sudden have me in floods of tears. I am more confident in myself and need to have a voice so I can speak up for Freddie.  This is motherhood and nothing can prepare you for it.

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Luckily for me, I find real value in my work and my studying. Both things make me a better mother.  A more sane mother. But this thing called mom guilt is real, and society has a way of making us think that if we aren’t staying at home making little fairy cakes with our children we are bad moms and if we aren’t back at work making money to buy our children i-pads we are bad moms.  Basically, you’re selfish and have always made the wrong choice if you are a mother in the West.

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I have always been ambitious and hard on myself. Basically that just means I am female. The whole thing though about having a baby is that while you may be just as ambitious and more productive, doors close, you are a sitting duck between babies and your male and non-pregnant colleagues have continued to race up that career ladder while you reproduce and rear offspring. I’m watching my friends and myself struggle with this. The balance between career and family is so tough and one that every family makes differently.

One thing I know is that  the ‘baby brain’ thing is legit- but not in the way everyone thinks. You can’t finish a sentence for months after having a baby, not because you’ve lost half your brain, but because you are learning to think for yourself and your baby. You are learning a new language and tuning in to someone else full time. That shit is hard and takes lots of concentration in the beginning, soon though it becomes second nature. What I don’t know is how that works when you are away from your little one. Will baby brain make me easily distracted and feel guilty because I am not with him? Will not having baby brain, or enjoying my time at work away from him make me a bad mother?

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I have been obsessing over how it will be when I go back, how many hours I want to work, how will it affect Freddie, what I want to do while away from him for months. And I guess like everything so far with motherhood, you can’t guess how you will feel until you experience it. Oh the feelings you feel as a Mum. If you could bottle this much emotion and just release it every once in a while before major decisions are made in the world, there would be no such thing as war, genocide or Miley Cyrus.

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One Month of Freddie

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We’ve had our Freddie for just over a month now and what we’ve learned this month is that the first lesson in parenthood is to go back to your pre-child self, have a gin and tonic and tell yourself to loosen up, all things you think you know about babies- well your baby is going to shit all over that and let you know that he is the boss.

Because around this house, at least for these first few months, Freddie is the boss. Want to go for a walk? Freddie doesn’t. Want to go to sleep? Freddie doesn’t. Want to take a bath? Freddie wants to go for a walk. We’ve looked for the instruction manual, and these babies don’t come with one, so we are learning as we go. It’s wonderful and terrifying. It  feels like the best thing you’ve ever done and then he doesn’t stop crying and you feel like a failure.

Motherhood is all these things and he can’t even slam his bedroom door and tell me he hates me, or run to me for a hug. But today I got my first real smile and the love that you feel from that is, just breathtaking.

So here is the good, the bad and the breathtaking of our first month with Freddie. Like all new parents we’ve had our share of vomit, shitsplosians and cuddles from our king kong sized baby.

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Image by Rebecca Douglas Photography - www.rebeccadouglas.co.uk DSC_0312.

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Image by Rebecca Douglas Photography - www.rebeccadouglas.co.ukImage by Rebecca Douglas Photography - www.rebeccadouglas.co.ukDSC_0120DSC_0056DSC_0027

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Going to Dig the Squatters Crib

Ohh the nursery, something that is not necessary (plenty of people have babies without their own bedrooms) and won’t be needed right away, but is something I can not wait to get my hands on. There is something that feels more real about the squatter when there is a space for she/he.

We’ve got a way to go, but in one week Dobble took the future nursery from this

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To this

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This guy is on fire. I’m even more useless than normal. I’m able to clean (reluctantly), cook and join him on trips to the skip. But I am making a baby- meaning I’m being healthy and sober, and still losing my waistline day by day.

I’m not the sort of person who does one mood board and sticks to the script. I make 10 moodboard and end up using a little bit from each of them so it ends up either like a well organised jazz trill or a disastrous screech.

So here is my first attempt

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For those of you who’ve followed this blog for awhile there will be one thing that will strike you as odd in this mood board. That’s right, white. I want a light and white nursery. Pregnancy is weird. You’ll know I haven’t completely changed as I also want to dress my baby up in ridiculous lion coats and cardboard dinosaur costumes.

We hit the 20 week mark now, meaning the squatter is the size of a mango. I’m pretty sure by the time it’s a watermelon Abe will have a finished room for she/he.