When I first went back to work after maternity leave it wasnt so bad, Max was still too young to fully comprehend I was leaving him for hours and hadn’t started to pull on my heart strings. It also helps that I don’t do any of the nursery drop offs or pick ups due to my working hours, so I miss that moment of crying at the door or upset as he has to say goodbye for the day.
Because I had accrued a number of weeks holiday I have been fortunate to get 1 week per month off work for the last 5 months so returning to work has been a nice easy transition. I’ve been able to see my baby and know that it’s only another few weeks until I get another break.
It’s safe to say I’ve been dreading January. Our new year starts, a new year of annual leave, a whole year of working. Only 25 days to spread over the year. More time at work. Less time with my boy.
This Christmas has been a lovely break, 10 days off as a family. We really socialised and spent quality time together. Safe to say I was dreading going back to work. The first day back was made special by the fact that he greeted me at the door by walking unaided to me for a cuddle!! The best feeling ever.
Second day back – was even more of a strain. After leaving Home at 6:45am and missing breakfast, missing teeth brushing and dress time not to mention missing the nursery run – I got to work for a reasonable time. In fact the first person there! Not bad really for a mum who commutes a distance!
I couldn’t wait to get home and see my boy before bedtime, to at least renew the fact that I’d missed so much of his routine. I never cook his dinner, I never read him a story and I never get him into his pjs. That’s when I got a text from a colleague at 5pm to say the motorway was hell and to avoid it like the plague! Great! So what should be a 45-60 minute journey could possibly take 90 minutes.
I set off and headed off the beaten track on my plan B route home. A route taken many a time before when I was child free and hometime wasn’t such of importance. All was going well I was 75 minutes in and that’s when I struck the queues of cars trying to avoid the lorry fire which had closed the M5! 80 minutes after departing the office my legs ache from stop start driving and my mum bladder is about to explode under pressure. I call hubby to ask him to keep dinner warm and try and keep Max awake so I can selfishly get snuggles.
90 minutes later …. still stuck.
100 minutes later …. still stuck
110 minutes later – nearly there
120 minutes after departing the office I finally pull onto the driveway at home and run into the house to find Max upstairs just on his way to bed. He immediately holds open his arms to me and snuggles into me, his eyes closing through tiredness.
That’s it – I couldn’t hold back – I burst into tears as all the stress of the commute pour out of me. I’ve missed everything again. No story, no teeth brushing, no pjs, no playtime, I haven’t cooked his dinner. His hair smelt fresh from his bath, which I had also missed. Within 1 minute I was placing him down in his cot and closing the door behind me.
I walked into our bedroom and sobbed. Guilt, tiredness, hormones…. just felt so crappy. Crappy that traffic, being a worker mum forced a wedge between me and my ability to be a mum.
I turned to my husband and just apologised for being shit. For putting all the pressure on him. For not being there.