I was asked last week to share my experiences of maternity leave with the Guardian as part of a larger feature they’re planning on this subject. I initially found it hard to put down on paper how much I treasured this time with my little girl. No words seemed to really capture it with enough love, colour and fondness. But then the words started to flow and writing about this time was a wonderfully nostalgic thing to do.
I thought I’d share a little excerpt here.
For me, there was never any question about returning to work after my baby’s arrival. The question mark was more around when. If I’m honest, I couldn’t contemplate writing an email let alone an article for the first few months of maternity leave because my whole world was consumed with spending every available moment with my baby girl. I cherished her every burp, poop and gurgle more than I could ever have predicted.
It was almost nine months after Baby J’s birth before I returned to work. If you’d asked me to predict how long I would take for maternity leave at eight months pregnant, I would have said three months, five months absolutely maximum, with a little too much confidence.
I loved every minute of my time off, from the chaotic early days to experiencing all kinds of baby classes to picnics in the park as we experimented with the weaning process in the later months. At times it was a tough learning process, but sharing this time with Baby J is something I will always treasure.
But I’m happy to be back at work now. I love my job and I’m relishing the challenge (most of the time anyway) of combining working three days per week with two mummy and Baby J days. Being a working mum is a tough balancing act but one that I’m determined to make work for us as a family. As the mother of a baby girl I’m very conscious of being a strong female role model to Baby J as she grows up. I’ll always be on hand for cuddles, I’ll mop up her snot and sniffles whenever she needs it and I’ll even attempt to bake cakes with her but I believe it’s equally important that she sees me as an ambitious and creative woman with a strong work ethic because that’s what I want her to become. Strangely, becoming a mummy has not left me yearning to hang up my keyboard, it’s actually given me even greater drive to work and achieve new goals.
Edit: Read the final article on the Guardian online.