So, I did it, I’ve returned to the work force. Maternity leave is behind me and now I’m back in the world of work and frighteningly it’s like I’ve never been away! Mostly in a good way. I’m two weeks in and I have to say, being back at work, while it is a bit overwhelming at times, trying to get my head around everything, by and large you know, it’s actually fine. Well, that is, apart from “the guilt”….
Being a Catholic by persuasion, I know a fair bit about guilt. I’ve grown up feeling pretty guilty about most things, even those things I don’t really have much to feel guilty about, it’s just something inherent in me I think. But, even with my experiences of guilt to date, this is guilt on a new level. The guilt of abandoning my child Monday to Thursday and spending about 10 hours a day away from her, commuting and/or working.
I feel guilty that I drop her off at nursery and she looks sad if she sees me go through the door (even though I know she’s actually fine less than 60 seconds later when she’s merrily chomping on toast).
I feel guilty as I walk away from nursery, heading towards the station, a lump in my throat, thinking about the fact that my little boo is there without her mummy (even though actually the reports from nursery are that she’s having a whale of a time).
I feel guilty as I ride on the train to work, checking my blackberry and answering emails, that I am then in work mode and my mind isn’t filled with thoughts of my baby girl. Bad mummy.
I feel guilty that I spend my time all day with colleagues, with clients, and not with my own child. Bad bad mummy.
I feel guilty that come the afternoon, when I’m enjoying a cup of tea while it’s still hot, my baby girl is possibly wondering where her mummy is and whether or not I’m coming back for her (even though when I get her diary for the day it will say she had a grand old time playing in the sandpit for the afternoon or shaking maracas and reading books).
I feel guilty that when I get home from work the only time we spend together is dinner – bath time – bottle – bedtime (although she doesn’t seem too bothered by that!).
I feel guilty that come the morning, I have to get her up and off to nursery by 8am and do it all over again.
But…. if she didn’t seem to be her usual happy, smiley, laughing self, then I would perhaps feel more guilty than I already do (is that possible?!). She does genuinely seem to be thriving and enjoying herself at nursery, despite the probably to be expected mini wobble each morning at drop off. I guess I have to remember that it’s all still early days and we’re both still adjusting to this new routine, this new way of life. I just hope I don’t look back and feel I’ve missed out on so much…. that would be guilt overload!
This post is also published over on the Emma’s Diary blog today.