I am back at work! It only feels like a week ago that I was feeling those first cramps of labour and now here I am, leaving my ten month old to join the mass of worker bees as funnelling ourselves down the arteries of the greater Sydney area into the pulsing heart that is the CBD.
Prior to coming back, I made a vow to myself to be a fierce, fabulous and full time mum. The average priced house that we so gleefully settled on over a year ago is now the unavoidable reason that I have to return to the daily grind, but I’ve been determined not to dwell on the negative, to be grateful that I have a job that pays me sufficient dollars, that Rafferty has a wonderful carer who I suspect he already likes a tiny bit more than he likes me and that I live in a culture where women have the opportunity to flex their intellectual muscles and contribute to society in a professional way if they choose to do so. I love my job, it is my original baby, so going back to it was something to be happy about, not to dread with every fibre of my being. Right?
With months to prepare for the inevitable, I made a plan. It involved BEING ORGANISED. On the list – decide all outfits for the week (for both mother and child) on Sunday night and make sure they are actually clean, with no banana mashed into them. Have the fridge and pantry fully stocked so that there are no time wasting emergency trips to the supermarket. Gather a list of easy to prepare lunches and dinners and plan plan plan ahead.
Our household was going to run like a well oiled machine, with me powerfully leaping out of bed at quarter to six, packing Raff’s bag for the day, squeezing myself a fresh orange juice, cramming in a few minutes of quality baby cuddle time then charging out the door, leaving capable Dad to do the morning drop off. Then zoom in to work, checking and answering emails on the bus to get a head start and facing the day with vigour and enthusiasm before flying out the door dead on five to pick up bubs and take him home for dinner, a bath and a bit of play time together before bed. I would productively be using the time between Raff’s bedtime and my own to tidy the house and check back into work to take care of any late in the day problems, proving that I am still a valuable team member. All hail the multi tasking queen!
Day one – not a word of a lie – all our power went out at home at five am. I managed the freshly squeezed orange juice and the clean clothes but the bus took waaay longer to get me into the city than I ever remember. At 9am I was in the office bathroom fighting tears because I missed my little guy so much, by two pm I had a raging headache, somehow on the way home I lost my keys, then Raff completely refused to go to bed at his usual time, choosing instead to wail away in his cot in a way he hasn’t done in months. I could only assume his tantrum was due to being separated from me all day, bringing on a gigantic wave of guilt to add to my headache. When I finally got around to having dinner my only choice was a bowl of cereal with warm milk because of the electricity outage.
Hubby arrived home from his job at 8:30 to find me curled up in a foetal position on the couch clutching a torch in one hand and my battery drained iphone in the other, pleading with it not to die on me.
It really wasn’t a good start to my return to working life.
But the only way is up right?? I am still convinced that working mums can have it all, if they have a good team around them of a supportive workplace, great people to help with childcare and a husband who is delighted to finally have the little one all to himself on a regular basis. I am lucky enough to have all those things, so I’m refusing to throw in the towel and head to Centrelink for unemployment benefits just yet.
Fierce and fabulous can start next week!
How do you handle being a working mum?