Nursery times 2

Today I went back to work after 18 months of maternity leave (well, the cold, hard fact is, I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave, but let’s ignore that). 

As I walked home (that’s right, no dodgy commute, just a meander through leafy Hove), I felt so incredibly emotional. I’m a cry baby anyway (I’m sure I’ve mentioned my tearful John Lewis advert moments/sniffles at people dying on Neighbours/sobbing to La La Land?), but this felt like such a mix of feelings. Rex spent an entire day cared for by nursery staff! – You see he’s only spent time with friends and family before, this was a big deal. 

Audrey is a nursery pro – she started at 10 months and save a few tears at pick up (when she realised we left her!), she’s always been an easy-going sort; she took to it like a rubber ducky to kids’ bath time and we never looked back.

Rex has been a bit more clingy in general and at 16 months he’s at a trickier age than she was, but, nursery settling sessions went well. So I wasn’t crazy-nervous about him starting and to be honest second time around you’re much more willing for your kids to fly or fall. But when lunchtime arrived I realised I was keen to check in and hear from nursery that he was having a good time (which he was).

Once the day came to an end I was excited to get home to see my family. It was a good feeling because it is so rare that I get to miss Rex. Audrey has been going to nursery twice a week and on those days I get very excited for her to come home… clearly every day I cannot wait for my husband to get home, but for Rex… well we just don’t get very long breaks from one another to miss each other. What a novelty. I missed him. Amazing.

In many ways I’m one of those mums that complains about how I’m always with my kids and that I have no time for me, but then doesn’t let others look after them. I fear leaving them, it’s a control thing and I’m working on it. Walking down the street alone on a mild summer evening was pretty awesome. I started daydreaming about dates with Ted, maybe going for a run; just time without kids that I haven’t “allowed” myself before.

Getting home (5 minutes before my crew), I really got the “sight for sore eyes” phrase. Wow. My beautiful children arrived home with their Daddy, full of smiles and lots of shouting “Mummy!!”, it was wonderful. Rex was very clingy, but in such a lovely way and I got lots of cuddles and kisses.

For anyone wondering if working (and this is only part time to be clear) after having children is a good idea… thinking; will you feel guilty? Will it be difficult to do something other than wipe bums and faces? Will my children suffer? Well, in my experience, working or just having a regular activity away from your children is a great idea (insert thumbs up emoji here). I just feel like I’ve had a boost and that both my children seemed lovelier because I didn’t spend the day with them! Ha. 

Check them out in pics below – Rexy got for a balloon on his first day and he loves balloons!

Work vs work

I used to think the stay at home mum option was the easy/lazy choice… My mother didn’t work until I was around 8 years old and even then she just did some part time work, which meant she was still around for the school run.

My sister got pregnant at 19 and decided to quit work and be a stay-at-home single mother. I honestly thought she spent most of her days in bed!

Now of course I know that motherhood isn’t one long nap or even one long playtime. Babies are exhausting and they require a lot of looking after. Yes, you might get a chance to nap when they nap… But they might only nap indoors in your arms for 6 months (thanks Audrey), so you can’t nap… Or they might prefer afternoon buggy naps (again, Audrey!), so you need to pace around when you’d rather have your feet up with a cuppa.

It’s all challenging and rewarding, up and down… I salute you if you devote your time to raising your children full-time. There’s a lot of walking in parks, but it’s not a walk in the park.

Despite motherhood not being quite the meander down easy-street I imagined, I still dreaded going back to work. I thought it would be such a shock to my system and I worried I would struggle with someone else looking after Audrey. As it turns out, it was a blessed relief! Work turned out to be easier than looking after my own child!

Since drafting this post a few weeks ago, where I basically just wanted to ramble on about the beauty of work/baby balance; I have lost my job.

I did know it was likely to happen (the company was clearly in trouble), but it was still a shock – we were all out of jobs so quickly. When a company goes into administration it can bring everything to a pretty abrupt end.

And so… a job-hunting I must go. This is where I realise that having a baby complicates things on that front. Can I get a quick-fix temp job in a shop? Not really… Unless they can give me 3 days a week that guarantee I can get across town for nursery pick up by 6. And will the wage justify the child care?

I started to contemplate full-time work (since there are 100s more full-time jobs than part-time ones) and realised how much I do value my time with Audrey. It’s not about an ‘easy’ day or even about me having the control, it’s about our relationship and the fact that; time together = bonding.

Right now I’m riding high as Audrey’s number 1. She reaches for me when someone else is holding her, she moans when she thinks I’m leaving her and gazes at me with such love… What if her keyworker at nursery became that number 1?!

And so I shall continue my quest for part-time work, to keep that work/baby balance, but in the meantime I can work extra hard to maintain my place at the top of Audrey’s tree…