Next week, I start my transition back to full time work after having a luxurious 12 months of leave from my job as a I adjust to motherhood. I acknowledge that I am ridiculously lucky to be able to have this time off. To be fair I have also worked extremely hard for it and during this time too. For anyone who thinks that maternity leave is a holiday, they are exceptionally delusional. Although comparing to the world of academia, some days I would prefer dealing with the clingy child who refuses to sleep, is extremely cranky and throws food everywhere.
In the beginning, I was excited to be able to catch up on my blog writing during maternity leave. Certainly I was able to do that when Miss N slept a whole lot and I was just running on adrenaline. However, you’ve probably noticed that there hasn’t been any updates since June; a reflection of the craziness that accompanies a growing baby who is becoming more mobile.
The days filled up with the constant watching and cleaning up after Miss N. I was crazy enough to still be involved with a few projects, which meant I had meetings from time to time. My colleagues have certainly watched Miss N grow up over the year! I have certainly appreciated their patience with me and their graciousness at having Miss N be at each meeting. Although I’m sure it was pretty entertaining for them at times.
Online meetings have probably been one of the benefits of lockdown and everyone working from home. I didn’t have to completely step away from projects. Being an Early Career Researcher, I definitely felt the pressure of not trying to let this “gap year” impact my research outputs. I admit that I worked way more than I should have. The times that I should be resting or going to bed early or spending time with my husband after Miss N has gone to bed were spent trying to catch up on emails and work. I felt guilty, horrible and stupid for it some times but I also enjoyed being able to use my brain on more than just meal planning and activities to fill the day up. It was a time where I felt like myself.
Still, I know it’s stupid to expect that life will be as before I had Miss N now that she’s at childcare. I miss her so freaking much and I’m constantly updating the childcare app to see if there have been any updates or photos of how she’s doing. This is by far the longest I’ve been away from her. I know this is a good step for both of us, but there are so many emotions to navigate through and live with! At the end of the day, I am excited to be getting back into the swing of things and having some “me time” again.