This is a dilemma that I think most parents will go through. It can be almost impossible to know what the right thing is to do when it comes to returning to work life after having children. Before your baby arrives, your decisions and thought processes are very much made on the idea of what life might be like with a child. However, this is very different once they are actually in your life.
I've battled with this dilemma since Emelia was 1 day old. When I was pregnant I was very certain that I would return to my job as a spa therapist, and that I would be happy to leave my little one after a year to go back to work part time. I would of course miss her, but would definitely be returning. From the moment she arrived that decision completely changed. To me it was just not something I really wanted to entertain any more, and the thought of returning to work became increasingly daunting and quite frankly sad. Whilst I was pregnant we discussed what we may do, and Reggie said to me that it would be best if I stayed at home and be there to take care of our child and that I probably wouldn't end up returning. I was adamant though that I wanted to keep my independence and that returning to work was something I really wanted to do. I have always worked and had my first little job at the age of 13, and worked ever since, so I never envisioned myself as a stay at home mum not working. I really really enjoy my job, and I also work somewhere in which I've never felt so content so the idea of leaving, once I became a mother was just not something I had considered. I loved the team I worked with, working with lovely brands, and going to work at such a beautiful spa. Yes, its hard work but I'm always proud to say where I work. Anyway, So when Emelia reached 5 months, me and reggie re assessed our situatuation and discussed options of work. I pretty much decided myself at that point I wasn't going to return! Emelia was more important than my love for my job. And my love for her and to want to spend every single moment with her is just paramount above anything else. I was loving my maternity leave taking Emelia to all her little groups and meeting other mums or just spending hours playing with her at home watching her grow and change. Also at this point I had no one that could guarantee any help with looking after her, and to be honest a nursery just wasn't something for us. The idea of worrying and feeling stressed about not knowing who would take of her whilst I worked was not something I wanted to feel on a regular basis. To me it was just the easiest decision and although money would be tight I would be happier and more settled. Even though I had made my decision I just couldn't sit still. I am one of these people that just has to always be doing something! I never noticed it as much until I finished work to go on maternity leave. I had an amazing 8 weeks off prior to the birth of my daughter and other than at around 37 weeks when my iron levels plummeted and I needed two Infusions I spent the whole time on the go! When I wasn't cleaning and getting baby ready, I was walking (like miles!). When I wasn't painting the fence in the garden, I was wallpapering our bedroom. I made the most of the time off and barely sat still. Since Emelia has been here Ive started my blog returned to fitness and I work very small hours at my friends salon when Reggie is not working. Ive realised so much how I need structure and something to do to keep my brain ticking! My little Emelia has her little routine too and I know exactly what we need to be doing at what time (with the exception of rubbish days!, illness teeth etc) poor child! This made me once again consider wether I had made the right decision about work. We wouldn't have those luxuries, people might think I'm lazy and I would also lose my trade I want to keep up my skills and training, from working in an award winning spa.( I know I need to read a book on how to make a decision) I told you this decision making with kids stuff isn't easy!
Major mum guilt settles in! Its real that feeling you know, and it pangs on those heart strings and plays a lovely little mellow tune just to make your life that even more stressing! You've brought this tiny little person into the world and of course you want to show them the perfect work ethic with Mummy and Daddy working hard to give them the best upbringing and give them everything and more. But then on the other hand you just being there to shower them with the most enriching love and affection, and watching all those firsts is priceless and no wage packet could compare to that. And on the other hand unfortunately bills dont pay themselves so the decision is sometimes taken from you without you even getting a say in the matter. It is a constant battle of pros and cons and there isn't a right or wrong answer its what works out for you. It really is tougher than you ever think and its so underastermated how hard it is to get back into work life after having children. I take my hat off to people who go back straight after having there baby, or at all for that matter. Not one part of it is easy. Childcare also becomes a major issue! When my mum was still alive she always would say that she would come to me to look after my child in my home so I could return to my job as and when I wanted. She had trained as a childcare practitioner and worked with little ones since she was 16 years old. I had no worries that she would be there to help us out once we had children. And of course she was my mum so the idea just didn't worry me at all. Obviously since losing my mum my anxiety over everything is heightened anyway, and I barely leave Emelia with anyone I just worry and dont enjoy myself. Its got absolutely nothing to do with not trusting people Its just that protective mama lion instinct coming out I guess. Something any mum will feel when they leave there child with anyone for work or social.
I guess its all about balance and just finding something that fits in with the new normal. I understand for some people, there really is no choice and returning to work is a must and unfortunately a decision already made. So in a way we have had a little bit more flexibility when it has come to deciding wether to return at all. Yes life has majorly changed for Reggie because he has become a father, and also the main income for our family. But I do in a way feel like the juggling and return to work stress mainly falls onto me. This isn't to say this is his fault, there isn't actually anything he can do to alleviate the "problem" so to speak Its just that I am Emelias childcare (obviously!) and so its down to me to juggle and fit in returning to work if he is to remain the main earner. It would be the other way round if he was at home with Emelia and I worked full time, its just one of them things.
So I have thought long and hard about what I want to do and whats going to be best for our little family. I am happy to say I think I have come to a conclusion! I am so so happy with my decision, I am going to go back. All be it very very small hours to begin with and my lovely sister is going to stay with us and look after Emelia for us whilst we work. I couldn't be more grateful for the help from her. I trust her completely with Emelia and they have such a lovely relationship. It kind of reminds me of when I was younger and she was a baby ! We both want more children so I know this will completely change the work dynamics again but for now I think this will work well for us. I am actually looking forward to going back (I say that now!) but as I said before I really do enjoy my job. I will of course worry no end but Emelia will be approaching 1 by the time I do go back so that little bit older. It will be a case of doing the most minimal hours and therefore a trial as to how I get on but I really think working the few days a month I will do me good. I will have my little bit of independence and be able to continue doing what I love.
I really would love to hear how everyone else has found juggling that work life balance and wether the decision has been as tricky for you guys as it has been for me. Speak soon.