Return to Work | Anxiety

Return to Work | Anxiety

As the days tick pass, my return to work is looming ever bigger on the horizon. My return to work will mark a new chapter for my little family. It therefore felt right that this new chapter should also have a few blog posts dedicated to it. To kick things off I thought it would be a great idea to write about my anxiety about returning to work as well as discuss nursery selection. The post about nursery selection will follow in the coming weeks. Today is all about my feelings around returning to work and mum guilt.

Stomach sinking

Being totally honest, my stomach sinks a little each time my return to work is mentioned. I know that the anticipation of something is often worse than the reality but this round of anticipation feels completely different. Becoming a mum changes your outlook on life.

My return to work anxieties cover all areas. I am anxious about finding a good/work life balance {I hate that phrase but can’t think of anything better to use}, I am anxious about Bump feeling lonely, I am anxious about not being the teacher I once was, I am anxious about my colleagues resenting me for rushing out of work to get to the nursery on time, I am anxious about the traffic on my commute and so the list goes on. The list has built up over the last ten months and now faced by the return to work it feels all rather overwhelming. At times I think how great it would be to run away with Bump and W and just avoid life. Clearly that isn’t an option.

Recently, I went into work to talk through some of my anxieties with the Head. I think a lot of mums, for a huge number of reasons, understandably

bottle up their work anxiety issues rather than talking to their employer to work through the issues.

The Head was lovely and put my mind at rest over an hour or so. Taking each of my main teaching anxieties in turn, I admitted, deep down, that I know that the teaching will come flooding back to me and that I will still be a good teacher. I mean, heck, I have only had a child, it doesn’t mean that I have become rubbish at my job overnight. It was really helpful to just discuss my teaching worries with someone who understands the profession and would just listen. The chance to talk was exactly what I needed.

My biggest anxiety

I have made the decision to return to work full-time. The reason is pretty much financial. I did not expect to be returning full-time but, being honest, it is just the right thing for me to do at this moment for my family.

Finding a good balance between work and home is my biggest anxiety. Like all mums out there, I want to be the best mum I can be for Bump. I also, however, want to be the best teacher I can possibly be. I dread people pitying my level of work because I have a young baby.

That work/life balance anxiety {god, I really hate the phrase!} is made up of lots of other little anxieties. Am I going to make it to work in time having dropped Bump at nursery? Can I leave school promptly enough to avoid the traffic on the way home to pick him up at a reasonable time and get some quality time with him? How will I get all the cooking done? The washing? Ironing? Cleaning? When will W and I ever see each other? When will I get a chance to blog?

W returning to work hasn’t helped my anxiety either. At least when he was around I had someone to distract me, every time I found myself being quiet because I was irrationally worrying about all of the above. Now I feel like my head might just explode.

And then I calm myself down and realise it won’t be as bad as I think. These are not really massive issues in the grand scheme of things. And I do have the advantage of long school holidays. I just need to keep ratonalising this all in my brain.

The elephant in all of this

And then there is the question about how I will cope leaving Bump behind each day. Friends and family have said leaving Bump at nursery will be harder for me and W than it is for him. That, I am sure, is true. They have also said that we will not regret it. I don’t doubt that. I think I find it much harder because my mum stayed at home to raise me and my siblings. There was no packing me off to nursery at nine months old.

This is where the mum guilt really kicks in. It is bloody hard isn’t it. I know it will all be for the best. We will work out a new routine, Bump will be happy and my colleagues will be supportive. I am not the first mother ever to return to work. Of course, all of that doesn’t stop all these anxieties creeping in.

My new mantra

All of these anxieties and feelings have made me think about what I can do to make myself feel more comfortable. I read online {here if you are interested} that mums returning to work shouldn’t try to be superheros. They should quite simply be kind to themselves. Every time I feel like it is all getting too much, and this sounds corny, I just tell myself how great I am. I am also going to keep thinking of Bump and remember that one day Bump will be proud of me.

I have a feeling that believing I am great and attempting to be relaxed about all of this is going to be even more important in the coming weeks.

So my lovelies, this is where the wonderful Birth of a Mummy community comes in! All of you lovely people who read my ramblings and like my pictures on Instagram. Please tell me your experiences of return to work. How did you deal with dropping your baby off at nursery? How did you stop the mum guilt? Do you have any tips to stop my anxieties? I’d love to hear from you below in the comments or over on my Instagram

Penny x

3 Comments

  1. Hannah
    29 March 2018 / 9:39 am

    You are not alone in feeling this way, thank you for sharing. I too feel SO emotional about returning to work full time, I can’t talk about it without crying at the moment. My baby will be 12 months old when I return to a full time pretty intense job. I’m struggling to accept the fact that a child minder will be with my baby for more hours than my husband / I. However, it’s essential for financial reasons for us, so I’m focussing on how by working I am making a better life for her xx

    • Penny
      3 April 2018 / 2:13 pm

      I feel the same, I well up every time that I start to think about it. I try and avoid conversations about returning to work and I shut down when there are conversations about it. I know that as the day draws nearer that I will get more emotional and I am dreading the day/night before I go back. All I keep telling myself is that I am sure that the anticipation is worse than the reality. I am more worried about all the logistics and actually getting to spend quality time with Bump because of my hours. I am truly thankful for the school holidays, I shall be treasuring them even more from now on. xx

    • Penny
      4 April 2018 / 5:05 pm

      Hi Hannah. Thanks for your comment. Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. I didn’t see your comment for some reason. It is a horrid feeling isn’t it. I am sure the anticipation of us returning to work will be a lot worse than the reality.

      No doubt your baby will love her time with the childminder. You are right that working will make a better life for your little girl….one day when she is old enough she will be really proud of what you did for her. Xx

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