To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

I am halfway through my maternity leave and the time has come to decide what I want to do at the end of my leave.

I really am torn. I love my job and the small amount of independence it gives me but I am missing so much of my beautiful children’s first few years.

My job is quite complicated. I have been at the same company for a long time yet, as it is entirely male dominated (engineering), I have failed to progress. I’m sure the fact that I have a family has not helped matters either. I really love what I do. I just don’t enjoy the company! I have worked hard and racked up an awful lot of debt to get my job and feel incredibly proud that I have a career job.

At the end of my first maternity leave, I was devastated about going back to work. I’d spent every waking minute of the last 9 months with my little man and the thought of suddenly not having him was awful. I only went back to work part-time but I cried for the first few days as it felt like a piece of me was missing. After the first few days, I realised this wasn’t so bad. I suddenly had a new found sense of freedom. I could turn my music in the car up really loud, I could go to the toilet without being followed and I managed to drink hot cups of tea. My little man was also having a fantastic time with Nanna and Grandad doing things he wouldn’t normally do with me and being spoilt rotten!

The drawback to my return to work was that I missed my first born taking his first unaided steps. I was absolutely heartbroken and wish my parents hadn’t said anything but I can’t change that now.

I’m wondering if now is the time for a career break and change. I would get to see my children grow up through their baby years and be able to go and qualify in something I have always wanted to do.

When I left university, I had accepted a place on a teacher training course. When I went for my interview, I left feeling really worried that I wasn’t ready ‘life experience’ wise. I was at least 10 years younger than everybody else there and it frightened me. I turned down my place a week before term began and took my job instead. I think I credit this as one of my biggest mistakes in life.

Over the last 8 years, I have mentioned non-stop about going to do my teacher training and keep searching for courses but we have never been in the financial situation for me to be able to leave my job. I have channelled my inner frustrated teacher by volunteering with the Brownies and educating my children.

My Mum always stayed at home while we were young and I always felt so privileged that I got to stay home all the time with her and not sent off to a childminder like my friends. I loved my time with my Mum and it became even more special once I started school. She was always there for all our special assemblies and concerts throughout school. My return to work would mean I would miss a lot of these important events.

It’s such a massive decision to make and one I’m nervous about making. I’m worried I will lose a part of me and just be seen as a Mummy and nothing else. I’m worried about not having any time away from my children. I love them to pieces but I’ll admit that it can be suffocating at times. I’m also worried that if I go back to work, my children will grow up so quickly and I’ll miss it all. I just don’t know what to do for the best.


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