I can't believe that it's almost 12 months since I began my maternity leave, when Leila was still just an ever squirming ball in my tum. Ella I were looking back through photos only this week and came across one of me with my Leila belly exposed, her with her elbows resting on it and both of us looking wearily into the camera on a sweaty 30+ summer's day.
These days Leila is such an incredibly active baby that I don't have time to think too much at all on when she was small and helpless, she is so independent and determined it amazes me. She's only 9 1/2 months and can now stand on her own and wants to hold hands and walk everywhere. She looks too young to be striding out on her own, but gosh she's so completely chuffed with her progress.
Today I had an email from work discussing my return from maternity leave and I have to say that my emotions about it are completely mixed. My role is no longer available so they've been trying very hard to find something for me, although none is what I'd call a dream role. If you aren't a "career" person, but rather someone who has always worked well but not passionately, it's harder to become connected with a role/job - or at least that's what I find.
The balance I had of working two days a week is perfect for me - the extra into three that they would like me to do is the wrong balance for me - more time away from the girls in the working week than with them. The problem is that it's hard to get real satisfaction from reconcile a job that does allow you the balance of only being two days, starting at 8:30 and leave on the dot of 5:00 and that doesn't cause too much stress. The trade off is that the roles you are offered aren't generally that fulfilling, personally, they're just jobs. I should find the trade off of being paid, very well for what I do, and all that means to my family, enough, but somewhat greedily, I don't.
The other part of it is feeling anxious about a return to work, worrying about making a worthwhile contribution, because I've been so focussed on other things. It's the time in thinking about it that I find hard - I'm not a person who functions well with time to think, to stew, I need decisions made and actions begun close together. I do have a tendency to wind myself up somewhat.
I'm also worrying about the girls - Ella recoils in dread whenever I have mention the word work. She can be reasoned with though, in the way I think many mums do with their children, into understanding that my work gives us the extra money for the special things we love like holidays. Leila however, well I'm not sure how she'll go. She's quite clingey at the moment, very much a mum's girl - I have two of them. She's stronger, braver in some ways, but I am also her home base, she comes back regularly to check, however far she may stray. The positive is that they'll both be in the care of both sets of loving grandparents on each day, so it's not a negative that I'm away, and that continues to build on the gorgeous relationship that they have with them all.
It's hard, don't you think, trying to achieve the right balance. It's worth it for me though, personally I need the time away to focus me on really appreciating all it is that I have. I know I should be able to figure that out on my own, but a little bit of "me" time, albeit at work, is for me a healthy mix. Also, I then don't feel guilty about the materials I buy and things I covet!