**A note about this post: I sometimes find these ‘letters’ a bit cheesy to read, but if I genuinely could have sent a letter from today to myself 12 months ago, I would have done – god knows I needed a bit of reassurance!
Unfortunately it must have got lost in the post as I never received it, but maybe just maybe, this post will help other Mummies in a similar situation. Mummies on the eve of returning to work…
Dear me 12 months ago,
It’s all going to be fine.
I’m writing this from the comfort of the sofa. The windows are open, Zachy is napping, it’s a beautiful day and we’re still in the same house…in Dubai.
As I recall, you’re currently in full-blown panic mode. You’re due to return to work in a matter of three short weeks and you don’t quite know where your months of lovely maternity leave went! To say time flies is a cruel understatement.
Cheeky chubby five-month-old version of Zachy is the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world, and you have no idea how you’re going to be able to leave him, let alone with who!
Indeed, you’re still debating nanny vs. nursery. Your mind seems to change every day. Every hour in fact. You’re driving your husband quite insane.
You’ve weighed up the pros and cons of just about every conceivable option, but you’re still not sure. The fact, which you do now know, is that every option would have probably been fine…it’s just the hardest thing in the world to leave your baby.
So I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s going to be a rough ride – but you already know that. But let me repeat this again to you – it’s all going to be fine! Trust me, I know you.
Some weeks will be hard, and even some months, but it’s not all bad. In fact you’ll be so much in the throes of things that you barely realise how ‘hard’ things are – it’s is only in hindsight from where you sit now that you realise the tricky times. The first two months are the hardest, but it gets easier as you work out your new routine.
Big, bruising 17 month-old version of Zachy is just awesome and you’ve got so many exciting things to come, but I won’t spoil them all here. Instead, let me just let you in on a few little facts as to how it all turns out – I hope it will help calm your worried mind…
You Choose A Nanny
You live abroad. Childcare boils down to nursery or nanny (or both, but you did the math’s and it’s bloody expensive!) When it comes to it, a nanny just really fits with everyone’s schedule. It’s tricky at first and you will question whether you did the right thing as Zachy does not take to her at all at first. It’s going to be awful hearing his protests – he only wants his Mummy. But don’t worry, it just takes time – you now know he is just a bit of a Mummy’s boy and will protest with everyone except your husband. Be strong, they will get along and become good friends in no time, you’ll see.
The Bond With Your Son Is Not Broken
Yes, ridiculous things are currently running through your mind. You’re worried you’re going to lose the closeness with your son. Worried he will resent you for leaving him. The guilt can still sometimes really get the better of you (especially since Zachy knows how to cuddle affectionately now before you leave – he’s found your weak spot!) but in many ways you’re closer than ever. You may not be as in touch with his day-to-day routines anymore, but he is your son – you know him better than anyone else in the whole world, and he loves you more than anything too. He doesn’t resent you for leaving, but he is most certainly overjoyed when you come back. It’s like Christmas everyday seeing his giant smile and little excited dance when he sees your face when you return home.
He Will Take To The Bottle
Five month old Zachy is exclusively breastfed and is refusing to take a bottle of expressed milk. You are freaking out he is going to go hungry all day! It won’t be the case. The best thing to do is to remove yourself from the area and let someone else take control of bottle feedings. Your mother-in-law (who comes to help) will crack this with him in two short days – and you will come to understand (though begrudgingly) that you need to loosen the reins a little and let others help out. You need them to!
You Will Enjoy Being Back At Work
Yes, your mind is always on Zachy – what he is doing, how he is feeling. But you know what? It’s healthy for you two to have some time apart. He is exploring his big little world, and you get to flex your brain a bit. It feels nice. You will enjoy it. You will find your feet again fast. Indeed you’ll sometimes feel like you’re having an identity crisis between your old and new life, but it’s nice to wear two hats and people admire you for it.
You’re Not As Completely Exhausted As You Think You’ll Be
Sleep can be a little hit and miss, but I guess you’re so used to it that you don’t always notice how tired you are. If fact, you will kind of come to treat work like a break (crazy, right!?). You’ll have a few baby-brain scenarios which you can totally blame on lack of sleep, but overall you feel and function fine…which leads me to my next point…
You Can Multi-Task Like Never Before
You know what you need to get done in the office, and you are focused doing it. You thought you were good at multi-tasking before? It’s nothing compared to when you throw a baby into the mix. And you know what? It pays off…but I won’t spoil the surprise.
You And Your Little Family Are Happy
So so happy you could burst ❤
So there you have it. We’re on a big adventure and who knows what 2016 will bring, but from my position right here, right now, everything is great, so try not to ruin your last month of maternity leave. Instead, spend it enjoying your son, not worrying about him.
He will be fine. You will be fine. It’s all going to be fine.
Abbey x (January 2016)
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