I’m sure you’re probably aware but today marks the end of my first week back at work after nearly fifteenth months of maternity leave. It’s something which I knew would inevitably happen yet I had delayed as long as possible. As much as I would have loved to have been a stay at home mum, it just wasn’t an option. So just how do you manage to abandon your child and not feel guilty?
I struggled at the beginning of my maternity leave. It was a big transition and I wasn’t ready to hand myself over to the stay at home mom lifestyle. I didn’t want to just become someone’s mommy. I still wanted to retain a small part of my social life while listening to house music a little too loud. It wasn’t until about four months in that I accepted I had changed. My social life existed only within M&S cafe and I had even started to roll my eyes at the volume of the music in ASDA. To my babyless friends I may have appeared unbalanced but I was just getting to grips with my new life.
I’ve always known that I would return to work full time. We’ve made it no secret that Rory was a surprise baby. Ryan and I had only been together a short time when we discovered our double act would soon become a trio! Instead of saving money for a mortgage we were out buying nappies and baby clothes. It may not be ideal but returning to work gives us the opportunity to put more money aside and hopefully get ourselves on the property ladder sooner rather than later.
Owning our own home is a big deal for me. I’ve always rented and I’d love a place that we can put our own stamp on. I want Rory to grow up in a home where he can decorate his own room. A home where we can mark his height on the door frame, where there’s room for our family to grow (if we decide to) and make memories. It feels a million miles away right now but I’m hopeful we’ll get there one day.
As hard as it was to leave Rory on Monday morning I knew it was for the best. The past year or so has been amazing. I’ve loved been a stay at home mum but it’s been hard on the relationship I have with Ryan. We don’t argue about money but with only one wage coming in we’ve had to make sacrifices. I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t felt the strain. At times it’s been difficult to accept we have no free cash for date nights. Having to spend family time at the park instead of the zoo. Not been able to go on holiday or treat ourselves to new clothes. You try your best but when every penny counts arguments can start easily.
Money aside another positive of returning to work is actually spending more time with Ryan. While working in the same office can be challenging, the majority of the time it’s great to know he’s always there. It’s something which I didn’t appreciate before Rory was born. I know it sounds silly but seeing Ryan as Ryan gives me butterflies. It takes me right back to those early days when everything was exciting and new. The days when you savour every kiss and “I love you” hangs on the tip of your tongue. The love has always been there it’s just got a new lease of life!
Leaving Rory has been difficult but returning to work wasn’t as bad as I initially though. Until you’ve spent a year with a small child you don’t understand the importance of adult conversation. I may be a little out of the loop but it’s been fantastic to see some friendly faces.
Yes it’s emotional, heartbreaking and tiring but I’m doing it with our families best interests in mind. I hope that in the near distant future we can buy our first family home, pay off our credit card and enjoy a little more disposable income. But I know that wouldn’t be possible on just one wage. Going forward I’ll be valuing the time I spend with my family that little bit more. I hope that as Rory grows he understands why both his Mommy and Daddy work. I hope he appreciates everything we’ve worked so hard for and knows that we only do it because we love him so much.
So how do I manage to abandon my child and not feel guilty?
I don’t. Everyday that I walk away and leave I feel guilty. All I want to do is cry but I’m providing for my family. I’m giving my son the life he deserves and supporting the man I love. Happiness doesn’t always come easy but that’s why it’s worth so much.
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