The end of maternity leave

The end of maternity leave

As the title suggests my maternity leave is coming to an end, it is literally a stone’s throw away. In 12 days time I return to work, and within that time frame I have 2 KIT (Keep In Touch) days lined up in work, and BritMums blogging conference, so really it is only 9 days. As well as this she has an hour in nursery every day next week, so I know the time is going to fly and I’ll be back at work before I know it.

I can’t believe it is nearly over, when I finished work last year at 37 week’s pregnant I thought a year would last a lifetime. A year off work, sounds like such a long time, in reality it has gone so quickly. The sleepless nights, the dark days of breastfeeding all day long, seem like a dream now (for anyone reading this and are in the early days of having a newborn, those moments pass – do not worry). My little girl is growing up so quickly that I can barely picture what she looked like when she was 6 week’s old without looking at a photo.

A while ago I wrote a post about returning to work after maternity leave, and at the time I didn’t know “how” (logistically) I would go back to work, I’ve decided that I will go back full time – working 4 days in the office and 1 day at home. On the days that I am in the office my daughter will go to nursery, and on the day that I am working at home, my daughter will be with me. We have set-up an area in our house for me to work, and purchased a play pen (baby jail) where my daughter can play whilst I’m working. Luckily I’ve been able to test this theory on many occasions, as she has let me blog away whilst she has played happily.

I have my concerns and worries about going back to work, how will I manage my day, how will I manage to make myself presentable in the morning, get my daughter ready, get out of the house and get her to nursery, and then get myself onto the train to London Bridge, and be in the office for 8.45am. I then have the concern about shoe-horning a working day into shorter hours, and leaving at 5pm to collect my daughter from nursery. Before I went on maternity leave I was one of those people who worked long hours giving it my all. Now I will need to be much more efficient with my time, prioritising and learning when to say no to a task, and explaining that it will need to wait until tomorrow. Plenty of people at work have children, so I know that it is possible.

Will I then have the guilt of not being “good” enough at work, and not being “good” enough at being a Mum. Will there be enough hours in my week, and do I have enough me to give to a full-time job, a husband, my daughter, my house, my family, my friends and lastly my blog.

As well as this have I also made the most of maternity leave, have I done enough? I’ve spent the last year funding the local coffee shops, hanging with the NCT girls, and chatting about babies -is this enough? As well as feeding, nurturing and bringing up my daughter into the amazing 11-month old she is now. I know that I need to spend the next 12 days with her as much as I can, our Mummy and daughter days are numbered, there won’t be another maternity leave when it’s just me and her again, so I definitely need to make the most of it, putting the hoovering and floor mopping to one side for a short time.

How did you manage on your return to work after maternity leave, I would love to hear from you.

Claire x

The Pramshed

66 Comments

  1. Sarah - Mum & Mor June 19, 2016 / 7:58 am

    A year is a long time to be away from work, but a year certainly goes quickly. I haven’t been in work for over a year due to moving to Denmark. Before I could find work, I ended up pregnant. I am considering finding a job when A is older though. #TribalLove

    • The Pramshed June 21, 2016 / 8:40 am

      It sounds like a long time, and it feels like yesterday that I finished. Thanks for reading and commenting lovely xx

  2. flyingsolo7 June 19, 2016 / 8:11 am

    When I had my babies ( 20 years ago) you could only have 14 weeks off and only 8 of those were paid so I went back to work when my babies were6/ 8 weeks old although it was only part time, looking back I was at the start of my career and was terrified I would lose my position so don’t think I could have handled a year off, with my second baby (16years ago) I did lose my position and my job ( a tribunal followed) it enabled me to start my own business at 30 though and be at home full time when they were 9 & 5 and have been at home for the years when I feel they need you more. You are a mum and will always feel the guilt no matter what you do.

    • The Pramshed June 21, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Oh gosh it’s amazing how the maternity laws change, and I imagine it was horrible at the time losing your job. However it has allowed you yo start your own business which is fantastic! I’m sure the guilt will be here next week, and I’m hoping it’s not going to be bad as I think. Thanks for reading and commenting xx

  3. bridiebythesea June 19, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Such an honest post about going back to work – I am going back in January and already starting to think about whether it’s the right thing for us. All those thoughts go through your head whether it’s too early, if you’ve done enough together before nursery starts. Sounds like you’ve planned everything very well and brilliant that you have 1 day working at home, I’m sure that’ll make it a little bit easier. Keep us posted how it goes! Xx #triballove

    • The Pramshed June 21, 2016 / 8:37 am

      Thank you Bridie, it’s really difficult isn’t it to decide what to do. Hopefully it will all go okay xx

  4. islandliving365 June 19, 2016 / 9:35 am

    I understand all of your concerns but I think you will make it work. WIth Oldest I found that I became a multi-tasking machine and got tasks completed quicker. It sounds like you have planned for everything brilliantly and it is great that you will have one day working from home, that will really help πŸ™‚

    • The Pramshed June 21, 2016 / 8:31 am

      Thanks Emma, I really hope it goes well, I’m sure it will have its highs and lows. It’s good that I have the day working from home, so that I can see my little one x

  5. Squirmy Popple June 19, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    I’m back at work tomorrow after 13 months off, so I know how you feel! I’m going back 4.5 days, with the Popple in nursery for 3 days, with my husband for 1.5 days and with me the other .5 day. I have no idea how it’s going to go – especially how I’m going to get her to nursery and me to work by 8am – but we’ll figure it out as we go.

    • The Pramshed June 19, 2016 / 3:40 pm

      Good luck Katie Popple! I’m sure that it will all go well, let me know how it goes. I really hope you haven’t got that Sunday night feeling xx

  6. rightroyalmother June 19, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    What a good post. It is always such a worry. I’m going back after 11 months in 3 weeks’ time and am looking forward to it immensely at the same time as feeling pretty sad because we’re not having any more children so it will be the last time. I think you will be fine. I’m doing 4 days a week but with one day at home, you will be able to do those sneaky things you just can’t do from the office like washing, etc. – whilst earning! I wish you all the luck and have no doubt you will be brilliant. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 21, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Ah lovely comment hun, we are pretty much going back at the same time and doing the same thing. I hope the day at home goes ok for you, that’s the bit that might go slightly pear-shaped, but we will see. I’m feeling a whole mix of emotions about it too. Wishing you all the best as well xx

      • rightroyalmother June 23, 2016 / 9:20 am

        Thank you – deep breath and fingers crossed for us both. xx

  7. The Mum Project June 23, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    Ah Claire, it’s so tough! I’m three weeks in and just started getting used to it (kind of). The work all magically flooded back into my brain, so don’t worry about that. Leaving on time is a bit strange, but I’ve realised my son is much more important than my work so I make it a priority to leave on the dot. I don’t really take lunch and I get in very early – well technically I am working 7:30am to 4pm so I’m getting in VERY early. Even though this is difficult, it’s important to me to have that special time with my son after work. You are going to be fine, the first week you will probably feel sad, excited, scared, angry, exhausted but later on you will be happy and settled. Don’t worry! : ) : ) #triballove

    • The Pramshed June 23, 2016 / 10:38 pm

      Ah thank you lovely! I’m hoping that it all starts to come back tomorrow when I have my first Keep In Touch day. I’m sure I’ll find the first week hard, but we will back into a routine in no-time. Claire x

  8. Over Heaven's Hill June 24, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    Going back to work after maternity leave is one of the hardest things you an do as a new momma. I was full of the questions and worried about how I’d manage it all. But you do. You find routine that suits you and your family and it all falls in to place. That’s no to say that it’s not hard. It most definitely is tough but you do it! And most of all you survive! #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. anywaytostayathome June 25, 2016 / 8:20 am

    I am probably not the best one to give advice as I hated my return to work, but then I didn’t have a very nice job! As for the practical side, getting ready on time etc, you get into the swing of that incredibly quickly and weekends become so much more precious which is actually really nice. Good luck. Enjoy it. You’ll be fine. #fortheloveofBLOG

  10. peppermint cove blog Lou June 25, 2016 / 8:25 am

    Having a baby is such a learning curve and then working with a baby is another learning curve- all of it new to you and personal to you, no one else. I had a year off with each child then returned to work half time until I stopped when they were 8 and 4. Somehow the blance comes where you manage to juggle and be capable of more than you ever thougth- some of it good some of it tough. you get to be you, using your brain for some of the day and then you get to be mummy 100% when you are with them. Don’t listen to any negative opinions around you, do what is right for you and your family I say and you will look back in a year and be proud you managed it! #fortheloveofBLOG good luck πŸ™‚ Lou

  11. Mrs T (@SothisismeMrsT) June 25, 2016 / 9:00 am

    YIKES! It comes around quickly doesn’t it? Hopefully your new routine will fall into place. Wishing you lots of luck #fortheloveofBLOG xx

  12. powerporter June 25, 2016 / 9:06 am

    You have already done a fantastic job of nurturing your little girl and by showing her a work ethic and mixing with other children at nursery can only benefit her. Selfishly I enjoyed being able to enjoy an entire hot cup of tea and eating my lunch without someone hanging off my leg (although being in HR that wasn’t always the case haha). You will all adjust and get into your own rhythm I’m sure. Just soak up your weekends together and enjoy post work cuddles they are the best!! #fortheloveofBLOG xx

  13. Mrs Lighty June 25, 2016 / 9:24 am

    I felt exactly the same as you, and wrote a post about “have I done enough on maternity leave?”, but once you’re back into a routine it’s fine and you cherish your days off. And wow that’s great that you can keep your little girl with you one day a week! There’s no way I’d get anything done if I had Baby Lighty with me whilst I worked, ha! Good luck with it all, I’m sure you’ll be fine πŸ™‚ #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. thefrenchiemummy June 25, 2016 / 9:46 am

    Good luck with it! I know the feeling. I went to my first KIT yesterday and I realised how lucky I was to be a SAHM! My colleagues looked so tired and desperate for the holidays. Like you, when I was still working, I was giving 200% and I am worried about what it is going to be like when I am back at work. Even part-time working 3 days a week, I hope I won’t have the feeling of not working hard enough at school (I am a teacher) and not being guilty when I can’t give Baba some time… Looking for a nursery right now for him to start in December and I am already dreading it all…

    Let us know how it goes for you xx

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  15. Something About Baby June 25, 2016 / 9:56 am

    This is going to be me in a few weeks!! I’ve had just over a year off, and will be going back full time. Alfie will be in nursery 5 days a week which feels me with guilt but I have to work to put a roof over his head and feed him – it wasn’t a choice. But like you, I often wonder if I made the most of my maternity leave, and I think I have. Now we just need to make sure we spend lots of quality time with the babies at the weekends and cherish the smaller moments like bath time and bed time #fortheloveofBLOG

  16. aliduke79hotmailcom June 25, 2016 / 10:29 am

    It was a long time ago that I went back to work after babies lol. I work in retail and was able to go back part time. We managed to work it so I was home most of the day and my hubby was home when I worked. That is still what we do now.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  17. Laura June 25, 2016 / 10:56 am

    I actually returned to a different job as the chances were I was soon going to be made redundant so it was a little different for me, I returned part time too. I was dreading it, but, it isn’t so bad. I cherish my time with my son even more now, and enjoy a quiet break time with hot coffee and not having to share my biscuit too!
    Good luck!
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. Nursery Whines June 25, 2016 / 11:04 am

    Don’t forget you’ve also created a great blog while you were on maternity leave! That’s a lot more than just funding coffee shops and chatting babies. Not to mention, as you say, bringing up a child. Good luck back at work and hope you are enjoying #BML16. #fortheloveofBLOG

  19. thetaleofmummyhood June 25, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Going back to work after a year off on maternity must be such a daunting, but exciting prospect! When I consider going back I feel I have the same worries, how will I manage everything? Looking forward to reading how you get on, I’m sure you’ll do great and soon have a good routine in place!

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  20. Maria Hughes June 25, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    I had exactly the same thoughts as you before I went back; I was lucky that my childcare at the time was grandparents, we are now dipping our toes into the waters of looking for a nursery for a few days a week, looking at lily on the tours I think she will love it, I’m sure it will work out for you.

    You have forgotten to think about the pay offs of work – a hot cup of tea and a lunch break (a whole hour to eat in peace!)

  21. blabbermama June 25, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    Ooo I’ll be returning in September very apprehensive so it’ll be good to read about your journey. You sound prepared so I’m sure it’ll be a smooth transition #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. alisonlonghurst June 25, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    It must feel like you have a mountain to climb ahead of you. It will be a case of a day at a time and the working weeks will fly by. You will get into a routine and will somehow manage to juggle everything. Make sure you find time for yourself amidst it all – I that will be nearly impossible. I hope it goes well and enjoy your last bit of free time with your daughter.

  23. Baby Anon June 25, 2016 / 7:20 pm

    This all resonates with me. I went back to work relatively early and handed over to daddy who had taken Shared Parental Leave. It was easier I think at the start as I was just leaving her with daddy. I did struggle to work full time though – now I work four days a week and I vary from home. Now husband at work and baby at nursery/grandparents it’s more of a juggle – exhausting at times. But – it’s working. And I love the fact that the three of us are all having interesting days ‘out there’ – baby is thriving πŸ™‚ Good luck. It will get easier. And then you’ll fall into a rhythm. x #fortheloveofBLOG
    (Obvs. am posting this as myself rather than my baby alter ego πŸ˜‰ )

  24. charlotteCharlie June 25, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Maternity leave flies by. I have 9 weeks left of maternity leave and don’t know where it’s gone. All the best for starting back at work #forthelove of blog

  25. Sarah | Digital Motherhood June 25, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Good luck, I hope it all goes well for you. It is very tough getting back into work after so long, but you do gradually get into a routine and it all gets a bit easier. You certainly appreciate the time that you do get to spend with your family when you are at work all week πŸ™‚ #fortheloveofblog

  26. beccaweatherall June 25, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Aw. What an important time for you all. You sound so organised though. It’s great that you can work from home one day a week too. You’ll become a master of prioritising and multi-tasking I’m sure, and you’ll have quality time on the days when you are all together. Wishing you all the best with it πŸ™‚

  27. Alex Muir June 25, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    And Breath…. You’ll be fine. Honestly! It may take a week or two to get into the routine but before you know it you’ll have coiffed hair and great packed lunches πŸ˜‰ Prioritise and make lists – there, thats my wise advice (good excuse to buy lovely stationary!) #fortheloveofBLOG

  28. Lydia C. Lee June 25, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    It’s hard but you’ll manage – maybe even enjoy it. I took 2 weeks off prior to my first one (who was 1 week late) so i went back at 11 months 1 week. The next one I decided to work until the day before so that I’d have more time with the baby, but he came early so I went into labour at work (which made everyone uncomfortable as I stayed to finish what I was doing and even took my lunch break with a friend. Ha!
    Like everything in life, we take it in our stride. It just takes a bit of adjusting.

  29. Mouse, Moo and Me Too June 25, 2016 / 10:30 pm

    Oooh this gives me a nervy tummy reading this and I still have 6-7 months off! However I remember all of these fears from the first time around and honestly, you adjust, just like you adjusted to being a mummy when you had no clue what to expect. You become even more mega-organised and efficient in order to max out your time, whether you’re at work or home. Be prepared to feel like you’re a crap mum and a crap employee for a while and be kind to yourself as all the plates spin in a wobbly fashion before they find their natural groove. You WILL be ok. You’ll probably cry a bit, too. But all will be well, promise. X #fortheloveofBLOG

  30. One Messy Mama June 25, 2016 / 11:39 pm

    Hi Claire, I remember feeling just the same. In South Africa you only get 4 months and then your little baby is in creche. It’s heart wrenching. One full year sounds amazing! Although I am sure it flew by in a dash! Wising you all the best in this new chapter! xx #fortheloveofblog

  31. lozandthesprog June 26, 2016 / 12:00 am

    Oh Claire- I know this feeling! I’m back to work on Monday and I’m feeling emotional about leaving her in nursery and coping with work life balance and I’m only going back 2 days. It’s great that you can work from home for a day per week. Good luck with the changes in this new chapter- I hope it goes nice and smoothly for you. #fortheloveofBLOG

  32. Becky (And Then There Were Two) June 26, 2016 / 6:09 am

    Going back to work is always a scary time but I found it in powering with both my children. And I think I empowered my children in a way – by sending them to nursery, they have learnt social skills and following different routines and rules. They have become more independent and confident around new people. I only work part time so I know I have the best of both worlds and whilst you’ll probably cry on your first day back (I had to sit in the car park and compose myself!) you’ll soon get back into the routine and your little one will be fine. Plus, picking her up after a day at work will be the most amazing feeling ☺️ Thanks for hosting #fortheloveofBLOG

  33. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons June 26, 2016 / 10:54 am

    It’s such an uncertain time isn’t it? I felt so nervous about going back, although I think starting over in a new job actually helped. It sounds like you have everything in place though and for me, it was actually far less stressful than I thought it would be. I’m only a part timer, but I feel being at work for a few days gives me the balance I need. (Although I definitely had a bit of a cry for the first few weeks after I’d done the nursery drop offs!) #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      Thanks Katy! It’s tough, I think I’m more worried about how I’m going to do everything. I hope I find the right balance, and that it’s not too work heavy. We’ll see. Thanks so much for your lovely comment x

  34. Emma Plus Three June 26, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    It flies by doesn’t it. I hope you enjoyed Britmums and good luck with returning to work x #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      I had a fab time thanks, the past year has gone so quickly and I’m sure that once we get into the swings of things it’ll be fine x

  35. Busy Working Mummy June 26, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    I went back when my little man was just 5 months old. He goes to nursery full time, and absolutely loves it. Yes it is stressful, and getting phone calls from nursery saying he is poorly is a really difficult thing to deal with but you find a way! I am sure you will deal with it amazingly….good luck! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Argh I’m dreading that, my boss said to me the other day that I would spend a year being ill, with all the bugs that my little girl has picked up at nursery. I know I’ll be fine, it’s just getting back into a new routine, one that no longer involves spending all day in a cafe x

  36. ljdove23 June 26, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    I’m a SAHM so I can’t comment on how it felt to go back to work, my home is my work (and a damn hard job that is too!) but wishing you the best of luck! I’m sure that you will get back into the swing of things and find a balance that works for you. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Thanks lovely, I know that being a SAHM would be just as hard (with no breaks). I’m sure that once we get back into the swings of things, it’ll be fine x

  37. Jane Taylor June 26, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    It’s such a transition, the return to work, CLaire. However, I remember loving being ‘Jane’ not ‘Jane the mum’ again…Not that I didn’t love being a mum but it was nice to be me again…Even though I had baby brain for a bit (well, I suspect I still have it). I really hope it goes well. SO lovely to see you at the BIBs. πŸ™‚

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      Thanks Jane, I am looking forward to having lunch and a brew without a baby, and using my brain too. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and great to see you too yesterday x

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  38. occupation:(m)other June 26, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Oh Claire, this is really interesting – what a lot to think about in these few days left. I don’t have direct experience of a return to work so I’ll swap any useful advice with a lot of well wishes and luck. Don’t downplay your maternity time…parenting a baby without anything else at all is ‘enough’ but I reckon you’ve done a lot more than that (including setting up a brilliant blog!) #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Thanks Lucy it has been a crazy year, and I’m genuinely sad that it is over (nearly over). Blogging has definitely helped and given me some purpose for the year, and has helped it. Thanks so much for your lovely comment x

  39. wendy June 26, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    This sounds really hard but I’m sure it won’t take you too long to get used to being a working mummy, hopefully you’ll be able to find a balance between work and family life. I am sooo lucky to not have to go to work, I have so much respect for mums who work full time and look after kids/blog/run a home as well. I hope it all goes well, enjoy your last 12 days of maternity leave xx #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed June 26, 2016 / 11:01 pm

      Thanks Wendy! I wish I had 12 days of mat leave left, at the time of writing the post I did. My little one starts nursery on Tuesday, and then I’m properly back in work on Friday! Argh! I hope I find the balance, I just need to find the “supermum” in me x

  40. Jakijellz June 27, 2016 / 12:41 am

    I remember it well. I was a wreck. Didn’t want to go and wanted to stay at home with my baby forever. In hindsight it was good for both of us but hindsight didn’t come into it at the time. But yes -a year seems forever at the start but it flies by. I hope it goes well for you. #fortheloveofBLOG

  41. babybykaybee June 27, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    This is so beautiful Claire! My son is only (and already!?) four months old and going back to work already seems to close for comfort. Good luck on this transition! Im glad youre able to work from home a bit, im sure your little girl will love that!! I hope my little man is ok with the baby jail… ill have to start training him for it! πŸ˜› #fortheloveofblog

  42. twotinyhands June 27, 2016 / 7:45 pm

    Good luck Hun. I have no advice as we opted for me to leave my job, something I am now happy with. It sounds like you are level headed by it and I am sure it will go well. X #fortheloveofblog

  43. mindfulmummy June 27, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Oh lovey, this is a very heartfelt post and I remember thinking many of these things myself after both mat leaves – but you do make it work and often the anticipation and apprehension is worse than the reality. I’m sure you have put every ounce of your mat leave to good use. On a lighter note I am just on a train to London Bridge now and I am well jel of how well your little one plays independently! #fortheloveofBLOG x

  44. tammymum June 29, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    Oh good luck, it is natural to have those worries and I do hope they sort themselves out! My leave is also over so very soon – not that I have decided what I am doing yet – eeek. I look forward o hearing how you get on, all the very best xx #fortheloveofblog

  45. lisa beever June 30, 2016 / 9:20 am

    I took a year out and have been back full time almost 6 months now, it’s been hard, really hard but it’s worth it for the good times we do have. I’ll be writing a similar post soon about having been back. Good luck xxx

  46. Siena Says June 30, 2016 / 10:21 am

    It is amazing how you manage and how you adapt. I returned to work on compressed hours with my first and yes they were long days (longer if you include the commute), but it all seemed to work and my daughter thrived in nursery.

    I found that when I did return to work, I cared less about staying late and the important things just didn’t seem important any more. That was a relief as I was a bit of a workaholic before I had Grace. Hope it all goes well for you and the biggest advice I can give is waterproof mascara for your first day! Good Luck!

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  47. New Mummy Blog July 2, 2016 / 7:43 am

    Sorry for only commenting now, I hope you’ve had a lovely week making the most of every minute. I didn’t go back to work, but I’m sure your routines will pop into place quickly. We are often out the door by 9 or 9.30 to head to playgroups or get stuff done, and actually we’re often ready to go earlier. Have a lovely weekend & it was lovely meeting you last weekend (time does fly doesn’t it!) x
    #fortheloveofblog

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