When Maternity Leave Stops Being Fun

When maternity leave stops being fun - Mummy & Louis nose to nose shotI should have gone back to work last month. When you start daydreaming about being at work more than you do soft play you know you’ve got a problem. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved every minute of my maternity leave. Actually that would be a lie because there have been some moments when I’ve been close to tears because I’m so bored and exhausted I don’t know what to do with myself. No, what I mean is that I’ve loved all 12 months of it. Because let’s be real, being a stay at home mum is no walk in the park. Having experienced life as a working mum and life as a stay at home mum I can safely say that going to work, being in an office environment is a breeze in comparison. Between the CEO and the three year old, its my three year old that scares and frustrates me more. Real talk.

When the money runs out maternity leave isn’t so much fun..

But back to my point, being that after 12 months of maternity leave, I am SO ready to go back to work. Because lets face it, when the money runs out maternity leave isn’t so much fun. Most of the time I feel like I am just waiting for next month so that I can go back to work and that’s not how I want to feel about my maternity leave at all. Once you get to this stage it’s so bittersweet, because you know how much you will look back at this time and berate yourself for not making more of it, for not soaking up every single minute of freedom from work. Yet at the same time you are itching to get out of your mum run uniform and put on something that makes you feel more than just a mum. To have adult conversations that aren’t just with your significant other who nods like they are listening to the latest hilarious or disgusting thing the baby did when you know they aren’t really. To walk around without a child clinging to your leg like a wet limpet (this actually happens on a surprisingly regular basis) and yes, to drink a whole cup of hot tea (the ultimate stay at home mum goal).

I feel the worst mum guilt ever for choosing to go back to work..

Dont get me wrong, I am going to miss our two little ones more than anything, and yes, I feel the worst mum guilt ever for choosing to go back to work over staying at home with them. Especially following my recent redundancy, a potential opportunity to do something different or become a stay at home mum. I even had the opportunity to take a new role that offered me amazing flexibility, the kind that you wish for as a working parent. But, and I realise this is where I might start to sound a little like I’ve lost the plot, I chose to turn it down. For another amazing opportunity I was offered, one that has the potential to be amazing for my career, but doesn’t offer me such amazing flexibility. I must be mad, I thought as I actually declined the opportunity that on paper makes the most sense for our family. But for once I chose me. I realise that I may end up eating my words if it doesn’t work out, but I’d much rather have tried and failed than regret not taking the opportunity and never knowing if it could have worked.

Mum’s shouldnt be the ones to make all the career sacrifices and compromises

Because I think I’ve earned this opportunity and I think I deserve it, no less than my husband would. Because let’s be honest, if this was my husband, or in fact any other man in this situation it wouldn’t even be something to discuss, not really. I find it ridiculous that women have to think twice about the career opportunities they say yes and no to once they have a family in a way that I don’t think men have to. Of course I am generalising, but this is the experience and reality of myself and of people I know, and to be honest I don’t think its fair. I dont blame dads, I blame society.

Why are women the only ones having the awkward difficult conversations that no one wants to have, why aren’t men having them too?

Yes, in the main mums may be the main care givers during maternity leave but that doesn’t mean that they have to be the ones to make all the career sacrifices and compromises. When a woman prepares to return to work after maternity leave its the woman who typically asks for flexibility and adjustments with her employer, not men. Whilst they may share pick ups and drop offs as my husband does, I don’t see men speaking to their employers about flexibility in the same way. Why are women the only ones having the awkward difficult conversations that no one wants to have, why aren’t men having them too? Yes I know again I am generalising, but I think we are only going to really solve the flexible working debate once we have both men and women working flexibly to some degree and having THOSE conversations too.

So that was a very long way of me saying that I am looking forward to going back to work, and that although it isn’t quite the flexible, part time arrangement that I had been dreaming of for most of my maternity leave, I am up for the challenge and excited about the new chapter ahead. I know that if it all goes wrong I’ll only have myself to blame, but at least I’ll know I tried to have it all.

Can we have it all? Am I the only one that feels like this? Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!

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36 Comments

  1. May 14, 2017 / 9:49 am

    You have made such a difficult choice but it’ll be great for you. I’m with you on Maternity Leave not always being so fun. Well done lovely x

    • May 14, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      Thanks lovely, I really hope so! I’m equally excited and nervous 🙂

  2. May 14, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    Where has the year gone!? I feel as if it was only yesterday we were pregnant with these babies. Well done for being brave enough to choose you, mum guilt is so rife and the one thing Ive learnt recently is that sometimes you have to put yourself first to be a good Mama to your kids. Good luck lovely, hope all goes well for your first day back. Kaye xo

    • May 14, 2017 / 10:45 pm

      Thanks lovely, really hoping it goes well and I havent bitten off more than I can chew! Its crazy how quickly we’ve gone from being pregnant, to having newborns, to having almost one year olds! x

  3. May 15, 2017 / 7:13 am

    Good luck with your return to work – I completely agree going to work is a breeze compared to being a stay at home parent! I’ve done both and my days at work were my days off, if that makes sense?! I’ve just started my second round of maternity leave and there certainly wasn’t that excitement of the first time. Perhaps because I know what it’s like now, but also because I may not be returning to work at the end. That makes me scared beyond belief, yet also feel very lucky. Motherhood is one complicated emotional roller-coaster! #MarvMondays
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  4. May 15, 2017 / 8:00 am

    I was the opposite. I hated maternity leave at the started and really wanted to go back to work. Then ended up dreading work and only lasted a month when I did go back!

    Good luck! x #marvmondays
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  5. May 15, 2017 / 8:55 am

    Great post,
    I worked up to my eldest being one, I found it so exhausting that I haven’t been back since!
    Sometimes doing whats right for you is the only option!
    #marvmondays

  6. May 15, 2017 / 9:45 am

    I wish you luck with the new job and hope it brings only good things for you and your family. 🙂 You’re right though – if you were a chap, we wouldn’t even be discussing or agonizing over this … Why is it such a big deal the other way round?! I don’t get it either
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  7. May 15, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Love this Em and can so relate to this. Even though I am lucky to work from home, those 3 days of nursery are a godsend!! xx
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  8. May 15, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    Me and my other half both work for the same company but when I returned to work it was me who did all the negotiations. It never even crossed my mind that he should request flexibility too! Good luck with your new venture, sound very exciting #MarvMondays
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  9. May 15, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Good luck with the new job! I went back to work after 6 months, not because I didn’t enjoy maternity leave, but just thought that I needed to look after my own mental wellbeing. Saying that its been 1.5 years now and I feel like I want to go back to my maternity leave. #MarvMondays

  10. May 15, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    Maternity leave was hard work! I had twins and it was seriously like groundhog day. I took 15 months maternity leave, the maximum possible, but I was happy to go back to work part time. Nobody should feel guilty that they need more stimulation than nappy changing and weaning can provide! #MarvMondays
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  11. May 15, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    This was such an interesting read for me because I was not happy for my maternity leave to end!
    I was happy to have the option to go back to work, and I’m glad that I did…but I dreaded it so much.
    In a perfect world all women would be able to choose when we go back to work without judgment or financial pressure. It’s a very hard thing to deal with.
    I hope you enjoy the end of your leave and the transition back to work!
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  12. May 15, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Brilliant post and good on you for choosing with you in mind for once! I’m sure you’ll do fab! #MarvMondays

  13. May 15, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    I completely agree with you. I wrote a post recently about wanting to be in full time work rather than part time, and feeling like my (long forgotten) career is going to dwindle and die if I leave it too long. Mr C has just been given the go ahead to work (semi) flexible hours and from home in preparation for Amelia starting school. BUT it didn’t even occur to him to float this idea at work until I asked him to! That way, he can do the drop off and pick up and I can get back to some semblance of a career! I think that it didn’t occur to him that he could ask says a lot, but I’m also overjoyed that his company saw the benefit of the arrangement and were so accomadating and understanding. High five for doing YOU! #MarvMondays

  14. May 15, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    You make a lot of good points. I think I only know one guy who changed his working hours when his other half returned to work after maternity leave. I think employers are still more open to requests for flexibility or less hours from female employees. I’m lucky to work for an employer who is very equal, but that is not the case for many other people I know. I know things are changing, but not fast enough.
    Good luck with returning to work!
    #MarvMondays
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  15. May 15, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    This is so honest and I’m sure that so many feel the same way. I didn’t go back to work after the children, we just couldn’t afford the childcare, but I did feel that I needed something more than just being at home with the children each day. Luckily that’s where my blog came in handy! #MarvMondays
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  16. May 16, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    Oh I’m so excited for you lovely! I went back when Emma was 16 months and I’m so glad I did. It’s just like you say, the money starts to run out so you can’t really do the things you’d like to and also I just felt like I needed to use my mind more. Looking forward to reading about your back to work experience 🙂 Thanks for hosting #marvmondays xx

  17. May 16, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    This is so true. I’m at the other end of the spectrum right now – slap bang in the middle of maternity leave and really not wanting to go back! However, I think it’s more my job than work that I’m resisting – I started this blog because I needed to do something other than watch Netflix! All the best, and if you could send some opportunities my way, that’d be great #marvmondays
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  18. May 17, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Honestly I don’t think there is a one rule fits all. Don’t feel guilty though for choosing to go back to work. Being a SAHM and being a Working mum both come with rewards and pitfalls. Go for it and tweek things along the way as necessary. We are still women as much as we are mums x
    #MarvMondays

  19. May 17, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Good luck with the new role. Great to have some flexible options. I feel a little like you, I’ve had the opportunity to be a SAHM because my husband got a job abroad. We’re heading back soon and weighing up my options. It’s good to have had these choices. #MarvMondays
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  20. May 17, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    This is such good timing that you wrote this – I’ve literally just handed my notice in so I won’t be going back after maternity leave – and you are so right, it is NOT fun when the money runs out! I’m learning to save and spend less day to day, and it’s been an interesting experience so far! So come on, dish, what’s the new job?? We’re all dying to hear about it!! xx

    #MarvMondays
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  21. May 18, 2017 / 9:56 am

    It’s so funny how different people feel about things like this. I don’t think I was ready to go back to work when I did, even though I had 13 months off, I could have easily had another 13 months off!!! And it has taken me a while to settle back into my job and finding that work/life balance. However I completely agree with you about mums having to make more career sacrifices than dads do. I’m so glad you took the opportunity that you wanted, and I’m sure that you will make it work for you and your family. You know what will make you happy, and a good job that you love going to is going to be way more beneficial than an ok job that has more flex but that you don’t enjoy! Enjoy your last few moments of maternity leave and good luck in your new role! #Marvmondays
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  22. May 19, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    I don’t think we can have it all & wrote a post on the subject a month or so ago…I’m due to go back to work next month but really don’t want to – I wish I could be off for longer but we just can’t afford it… #marvmondays
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  23. May 20, 2017 / 12:55 am

    As the working mom in this two momma house, I have envy for my SAHM partner, the Mrs. I even wrote a post about how I am so insanely jealous… That being said, society does need to change. We, women, make the majority of sacrifice in the workplace and that is simply unfair. Good luck on your back to work endeavors! And enjoy those blissful moments with littles. #marvmondays
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  24. May 21, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Great post. I am currently on mat leave with my third baby. I am due to go back in September and the thought fills me with dread. However I only work a couple of days I know I need it. I need the break from my lovely children, I need to go back and feel like Natalie just for a couple of days a week. #marvmondays
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  25. May 22, 2017 / 12:08 am

    Good luck with your new opportunity! I think you’re right – the best choice is the one that’s right for you. #MarvMondays

  26. June 7, 2017 / 12:30 am

    Such a hard choice to make but you have to do what you have to do. It’s hard and most of us who have jobs as moms go through it. Don’t feel too badly.

  27. June 8, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Mum guilt is always there. My youngest is now two and only at nursery for 10 hours which I felt guilty for at first especially as I’m at home. I work full time, but from home so in the evenings and when I can in the day. I feel super jealous of my husband who gets 40 hours away from the kids at work in the day times! And then I feel guilty for feeling jealous of him and not enjoying all my time at home with the children…

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