I have 6 weeks left of maternity leave before I’m due back at work. This is not how I expected to be spending it and honestly, that’s hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful that we’re all safe, and that I’m not having to try to work and look after the children at the same time. I’m grateful that I have a job to go back to and that I had already enjoyed 6 months of mat leave before all this happened.
It’s not what I had hoped it would be.
My son has just turned 8 months and our families are missing so many little milestones He’s at such a lovely age now and I’d love to be taking him to all the places I got to take his sister so he gets to experience the things she did. With nurseries closed I’m really missing my two days a week of one-on-one time with him too. Finding activities that are suitable for both of them is really hard and often he gets left to play with a toy while I concentrate on helping his sister with a more complicated activity. The mum guilt is strong!
I’ll admit it’s been harder than I thought parenting them on my own all day every day while my partner works. I’ve missed our family support system. And we all know that on their most challenging days, getting out of the house for a change of scene and to be with other people is often the thing you need the most. We’ve still had lots of fun times and I know my daughter has enjoyed the time together but we’re all missing the places and people and normality.
I’m lucky that in a few weeks my partner finishes work and starts shared parental leave. We have 5 weeks off together while I’m on annual leave which we’d planned to spend enjoying family days out and going on holiday. None of that can happen now. We’ll still have the time together which I know will be good but this may well be our last baby which makes it even more difficult that we can’t spend the time how we’d hoped.
Then in less than 2 months I’ll be back to work full time. Returning to work after maternity leave is a hard transition at the best of times let alone in the middle of a crisis. My job means I can’t work from home all the time so I’ll be travelling to central London to work which makes me a bit nervous. I had hoped there’d be a transition process to ease me back but that’s looking unlikely under current circumstances too. The hours have changed, the work will be challenging and I know it will probably be isolating.
The hardest thing for all of us is not knowing when any sort of normality will return. But hopefully with all the effort most people have been making to follow the guidelines, it will be sooner rather than later so that at least all of you still on maternity leave can get out and enjoy it again.