Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can I Ever Leave Him?

A strange panic has been stalking me for weeks...lurking in the back of my mind ready to lunge at me when I least expect it. 
I only have a couple of months maternity leave left....
It's not a case of being ready to go back to work or not...I simply don't know if I could go for even an hour without my baby. The more I contemplate it the worse I feel.
I absolutely adore the wee man, he is my bestest friend in the whole world and we're a team.  I can't spend every minute of every day with him and then just abandon him with strangers.  What if I missed his first words?  What if he missed me?
It's going to be a tough transition and one that I'm not looking forward to but I have to put it out of my mind or I'll waste away my days with worrying.

Do you regret going back / not going back to work?  What would you have done differently?


  1. Kerry,

    I could write an essay about this - and I think I just did!

    Here in Singapore it's normal for people to go back to work after just a few weeks, most people live with extended family and have in-laws or parents on hand to help.

    I'm not in that position but I do work for my Father so I managed to wangle an extra month of unpaid leave and still went back when Lotte was only 3.5 months.

    It has been horrible even though I have it relatively easy. I have home help so was already used to leaving Lotte for short periods with someone I trust, who's been there since day one. And, since I've been back I've only worked 6 hour days. Saying that it's still been a struggle, not only do I feel guilty about not spending this precious time with her, but I also crave some time to myself which a job and a baby just don't give me.

    In addition, babies sleep sometimes and don't sometimes and being a mummy you tend to try do it all yourself....so eventually you get worn out! Plus, I'm still breastfeeding so early nights aren't really effective. I've had a few problems with Lotte regards feeding and formula and it's not nice leaving her during these times, even if you trust the helper.

    I don't have time to miss her when I'm at work because I'm too busy but I rush back from work the minute I finish. I think it's good for me mentally to have a bit of time away, putting on a smart outfit and doing something completely different, but I wish that time away wouldn't be so manic - part time is never really part time, the same amount of work still lands on your desk.

    Anyway the thing I am struggling with is not the being away, but the length of time I'm away and tiredness of trying to be everything! Mother, wife, manager...and what about me???

    I have now cut my hours back at work even further and only go in for one full day. The rest is flexible, working from home etc.

    I guess I'm pretty lucky! I don't know how long this will last, eventually I'll be back full time, so I'm hoping no. 2 will come along next year sometime and then I plan to be a full time mummy for a while!

    So in answer to your question - I do regret going back to work and if I could do it over again I would quit my job! I feel especially bad because my husband earns a very good salary and I don't need to work. Major guilt trip!

    Everyone copes differently I guess!

    So that's my story, hope it helps!

    Pam x

  2. Thanks Pam, this reply has helped me a lot :)
    I guess there's no point in having regrets or feeling guilty about whatever we decide as parents because even the wrong choices teach us, and our children, valuable lessons.
    I want to have money to buy treats for my family but don't have that career instinct that drove me to do well at work. I want to be a mum. I utterly adore my son and we have such good fun during the day.
    Maybe I'm just being selfish as I know how much I'll miss him. Will I be denying him the vital social interactions he needs with other children if I keep things just the two of us?
    Who knows! I guess life will work out in the end as it usually does but it doesn't make these decisions any easier!

    Kerry xx

  3. Just want to send you a hug. I went back to work when they were 6 months. i think the 1st was harder cos by the second one i knew the nursery they went/go to very well and was happy and secure knowing that my children were looked after and loved in that setting. I did cut my hours (3 days a week when i first returned to work and now 4) which ment i still had some 'baby time'. I know what you mean about lack of drive.I have none still and would like nothing better than to spend my days hugging them! x

  4. Kerry,

    Just wanted to add - my Lotte doesn't seem to suffer at all with not having me around 24/7. It's appears to be good for her to be looked after by others, she's really easy and sociable. My mum takes her on Mondays and my helper looks after her in our home on other work days. But she is happy to be held by just about anyone as long as one of the 4 familiar people are around.

    Lotte is a really happy, curious baby and just loves attention, doesn't matter who she gets it from. As long as your baby is well looked after I don't think it matters by who when they are really wee.
    I'm lucky that both my mum and my helper respect the way I want Lotte to be raised and I'm confident that when I'm not around they do the job the way I would. My concern would be if I felt someone was making different decisions for my child.

    My biggest struggle is my own desire to be a mother and my new found lack of ambition! And I do believe that it is important to be available during the early school years to give them confidence and assistance.

    Have you arranged your daycare yet? Are you happy with who is going to care for Jamie?

    Pam x

  5. T.U.S - It must help a lot once you know a lot more about the people your children will be looked after by.
    I'm hoping my work might be able to offer me more flexible hours. I run an aerospace lab though and it's very, VERY high stress...you need balls of steel to get the job done and I think my balls came off during labour!!

    Pam - Not looked into any form of daycare yet, I guess I'm hoping that a Plan B will pop up and I won't have to worry about it all!! I've barely left Jamie with anyone....not on purpose, it's just that my family are hundreds of miles away in Scotland and my partner is at work all day. He feeds and plays with him in the evenings but I don't know how he'd cope on his own for any length of time!
    I'm 34 this year and wanted a baby my entire adult life. Now that I finally have him here I simply don't want to miss a second of watching him grow and develop.
    I miss him when he's sleeping!! Sad, but true :)

    Kerry x

  6. Hi Kerry Mac, it's Jenny (Paul's wee sis). Just read your blog and wanted to add in my tupence worth. You really shouldn't worry too much :-) I know that's easy for me to say as I’m not in your shoes right now. Anyway, I went back to work when Katy was eight months. She should have been ten months but, because she was nearly two weeks late and I had time off before she was born this ate into my maternity leave.

    I am lucky enough to have my Mum around to look after Katy the two days that I go to work but at the time this didn't make it any easier. Sure I felt more relaxed that she was with my Mum but, I had the whole dilemma of whether or not she was missing out on the interaction with other kiddies. (I felt guilty that it was always just Katy and I but there’s plenty time for playing with other children). And that was my breast feeding out the window as it was not very pleasant sitting in a toilet cubicle with my breast pump (as opposed to walking back along the corridor from the sick bay carrying a bottle of warm breast milk and storing it in the fridge with colleagues lunches to their disgust)!

    Katy's almost two now and I’m still only doing two days. I rarely phone to check up on her now as I did at least once a day when I first went back. The novelty of being back at work has long gone but, I do feel that the independence and not to mention the adult stimulation definitely does you good! It was nice to get a break from all the goo goo gagas at times. I rush home after work to see her wee smiling face when I walk through the door and get a kiss and a cuddle. I totally understand your fear of missing hearing that first word or first steps. Katy may be running around now but, I’m STILL waiting on her talking. Yes, we get do get her babbles in her own wee language, animal noises and trying to sing along to Balamory but nothing quite crystal clear yet.

    I probably could have not gone back to work but, like you said you want all the little treats for your family and they don't come free!

    Whatever you decide to do is the right thing because it's right for you. You may have lost ambition and drive as I definitely have but always remember you are still Kerry as well as being Mummy Kerry.

    All will fall into place.

    Jenny x

  7. Thanks Jenny,
    I'm so glad I wrote this post now, the responses have been so encouraging.
    Katy is so beautiful. I've heard that kids are at their easiest when they're little like Jamie. Give it a couple more months and I might be begging to go back to work!!


  8. Kerry, Many moons ago now but when Dan was wee, I took him to work with me. This, even though I was with him, didnt really make it easier as he was generally bored and I was generally stressed. When I did start leaving the 2 off them, my lasting memory is the guilt I felt, not at leaving them....but if I caught myself not thinking about them for any length of time. We are pre-programmed to feel guilt, no matter what we do, but with (20 years) hindsight, my kids are none the worse (nor better) for my erratic career. And once Jamie starts talking, you'll feel a bit better...
    'Going to work for a rest' is a phrase I commonly used when mine were toddlers...xx