Going back to work was not something I relished after my year ‘off’. There were elements of it that I looked forward to but on the whole I would have been happy if someone said I could just stay with the baby.
On the plus side life seemed chaotic when I was off and I looked forward to having a bit more structure to my life. I looked forward to being back in central London. I looked forward to seeing adults again who weren’t other mothers. I looked forward to a cheeky glass of wine at lunchtime and actually eating lunch a) at lunchtime and b) without having to simultaneously feed someone else and, if I am honest, c) without having to share my food.
I work three days a week at the moment. My husband works from home on the days I am at work so he does nursery drop off and pick up. We are incredibly lucky to be able to do this.
Despite only working 3 days a week I am late every morning. A bit to do with the baby but a lot to do with me being so disorganised and so reluctant to remove myself from the happy embrace of my duvet each morning. I snooze and snooze and snooze until the last possible moment.. then I snooze again, run around like a lunatic and out the door. Even if the baby wakes up early I still manage to be late. And before you ask, no, I don’t go to bed early enough. I am a fool, a fool I tell you!
I thought that when you grow up you get up and make breakfast and sit around for a bit before going to work? Is this a fallacy? The only difference to my morning routine is that I wake up (or baby wakes me up) I feed baby and then reconvene the pre-baby chaotic routine of getting myself out of the house as quickly as possible. When do we start eating pancakes for breakfast?
The reality of being back to work is that I spend 3 days a week at my desk wondering what the baby is up to, if she has eaten, if she has slept, if she has been upset and needed me. I rush out of the office at the earliest opportunity and race home to get about 45 minutes with her before she goes to sleep. I feel guilty that I am not with her and I feel guilty that I am not giving my all to my work on the 3 days I am in the office.
You’d imagine on my days off I’d be in a state of total bliss then? Well no, on the 2 days I am home its bloody hard work having the baby on my own all day. It’s still an early morning but now I have to find things for us both to do all day on top of breakfast, lunch, nap, dinner, bath and bed, It’s not easy. I have no idea how single parents manage it, I in in awe. Don’t get me wrong it’s better than work but it’s just not as good as the weekends when the Daddy is home to help.
She mostly sleeps through the night now but quite often she doesn’t. Last night, for no apparently reason, she woke up at 2am and didn’t go back to sleep until near 5. I had to get up and go to work regardless. I haven’t brushed my hair today. I often have a shower before going to bed to save time in the morning so my hair always looks like I’ve just ridden a motorbike with no helmet on. The ponytail is my hair ‘style’.
You have no idea how sleep deprivation is affecting you until you’re not sleep deprived. For 14 months she has never been a great sleeper, it’s getting better but like last night there is quite often a night of pure hell. And for a lot of those 14 months my husband and I have argued, mostly in the middle of the night but frequently all day as well. We have had a hard year as a couple. At times I felt like the only thing we had in common was the baby. And feeling such love for her made me question if I loved him at all at times. Then Christmas came and we had 2 weeks of time off. Together. I thought it might be the end of us. But she mostly slept well and we allowed each other to sleep in, we fell asleep while she napped, I allowed him to nod off on the couch at the end of the day. And suddenly I was looking at him in a different light. I felt all the love that I couldn’t seem to locate for all those months. I wanted a cuddle, I wanted a bit more than a cuddle… All the good stuff that I thought was left, lost, gone for good was trickling back. It was like we came out of a shit cloud and into the light.
Then she was up all night last night and we are firmly back in the shit cloud. But at least I know where the exit is..