Mamma Mia, here we go again…

  • November 8, 2022
  • Reading time: 3 min

I don’t know about you, but after a two week holiday it’s sometimes tough to get your head back in the game. The memory of your holiday fading as quickly as your tan while you wade through an inbox that’s overflowing, all the while daydreaming of being back on the beach with a pina colada in hand.

Well, imagine what it must feel like after taking a whole year out. After not even looking at your laptop for 12 months. 

This is my second experience of returning to work following the life altering miracle of becoming a mother. 

After baby number one I felt a whole host of emotions that would have made it impossible for me to even think about writing this. The very real and raw feeling of desperately wanting to stay in my bubble with my baby; to be the one who keeps her safe and cares for her but instead having to trust a stranger in a setting that feels nothing like home to cuddle her when she cries. Going from knowing what she did every minute of every day – how she felt, what she ate – to feeling a distance so profound you’re scared that your bond might break. And then there’s the imposter syndrome, so acutely felt I was scared and felt physically unwell every time I ventured to work, had to speak to clients or even communicate with colleagues. I cried every day. Felt like I was failing every day. And then COVID came along with a whole host of new challenges (which is another post entirely) but at least I was with my baby full time again.

It has to be noted that during this time I did have the support of my colleagues here at OG. Although I don’t think anyone knew quite how badly I was struggling, I felt their kindness throughout this experience, which offered some comfort, but really wasn’t enough to pull me out of the very deep and lonely black hole I fell into and remained until I embarked on mat leave number two. I was trying to be all things to all people, I didn’t know what to do and I had nothing left in the tank.

Second time round, I’m fortunate enough to become a mother again, this time to a beautiful boy, and things feel…different. Not only have I once again experienced the euphoria of becoming a mother and fallen deeply in love with another new, tiny human. In the last 12 months I’ve also grieved for my grandmother, become a wife, and moved house. It’s been a lot! And I really wasn’t sure how returning to work again would feel. But this time, as I journeyed back to work, yes, I felt nervous, yes, I remained doubtful of my abilities (I’m working hard every day on sticking two fingers up at that imposter syndrome), but I was also excited, something I genuinely never expected to feel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dealing with the emotions of no longer looking after my son every day. But I’m finding myself also very much looking forward to going to work, wearing nice clothes, and taking on a new challenge in a new role. 

I’m someone who loves a challenge, clearly, but what’s interesting is I’ve somehow found a morsel of confidence to believe that I *can* take it on and be a good mother. That in doing so I’m not letting my children down. Quite the opposite in fact. And that my daughter can see that her mummy does have a job (she genuinely had no idea, and I can’t wait to share more with her about it as her inquisitive young mind fills with questions).

This change in mindset is a bigger shock to me than anyone. I was ready to be a stay-at-home mum a year ago. I did not experience any form of losing myself when I became a mother, quite the opposite in fact. I didn’t miss the ‘old me’ because this new version was all I wanted. And I’ve been trying to work out why this time around returning to work feels so much more positive. Maybe it’s because I’ve done it before. Maybe it’s because I’ve had more open and honest conversations with OG about my needs now I’m a mother of two. Maybe it’s because I have a new role with a new set of responsibilities and opportunities to explore. Either way I’m grateful to feel like I am going to be able to add value at work while continuing to be completely present in my children’s lives. It’s very early days, but I’m hopeful. 

For anyone experiencing anything like some of the emotions or issues I’ve mentioned, my advice is, firstly, to be kind to yourself. To talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about it. When self-doubt creeps in, sure, take note but then remind yourself of everything you bring to the party. And remember, the world has changed immeasurably in the last three years, flexibility on all fronts is both possible and a necessity.

I’m ready to run at life, as busy at it is, with genuine excitement for this new chapter. So, watch this space! 

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