Going back to work when you have a baby is tough. I'm only working part time and Poppy is already 6 months old, but it's HARD.
Practically, going back to work for me has meant that I need to be way more organised than I usually am. Carefully managing my patient case load, doing my admin efficiently (usually after she is in bed at night) and making sure that I'm on top of grown up things like doing my online grocery order every week have been essential in surviving.
We have also had to work on getting Poppy into more of a set routine during the day, especially with trying to conquer her refusal to fall asleep at home without being breast fed. (We are finally slowly winning with this!) Now that she eats solids, navigating life around her and her 3 meals a day, and not only just breastfeeding on demand in whatever coffee shop or friends house that we happen to be at, has been an adjustment too. I am also still exclusively breastfeeding, so ensuring that I always have enough expressed milk and that I'm not going to feel like my breasts are going to explode halfway through a busy day of patients takes some forward thinking and planning too.
(Thank goodness for breast pumps!)
But by far the biggest adjustment for me, has been the guilt factor.
In the UK, most women take around a year off, and so I've had a lot of "wow, you are going back to work SO early" comments which doesn't help the guilt factor at ALL.
In South Africa, lots of ladies go back to work full time at 3 or 4 months, so I do know that I am very lucky to be only doing part time currently.
We have also been SO fortunate to have found the most wonderful nanny, and I seriously don't know how I would've survived the past month without her.
The complex emotions that arise from trying to work and Mother at the same time are immense. A minefield of self doubt and conflicting feelings that prior to having her I couldn't even fathom were inside of me.
Guilty that I'm leaving her with someone else.
Guilty if she cries as I'm leaving the house.
Guilty if she doesn't cry when I leave the house, does it mean that she doesn't need me as much now that I leave her with her nanny??
Guilty that while she is in someone else's care I'm treating and caring for other babies and children.
Guilty that we live so far away from her Grandparents and aunties and uncles who would love to see her more.
Guilty that I do so enjoy my job.
Guilty when I feel frustrated with my job, would I not be better off just being with her?
Guilty for feeling guilty when I actually have the 'perfect' set up job wise, I know so many Mothers who would love to be in my position, as I can work part time and I am completely my own boss.
Guilty, that I feel I want to have it all.
I want to be a Mother and continue with my career and business that I have worked so hard to setup. I also want to exercise regularly, catch up with friends, be creative, do fun things with Pete, travel, read and meditate. I want to do all the physio courses that I can and treat as many interesting patients as I can. I also want to have my house clean and tidy, catch up regularly with my Mummy friends and have people over for dinner. I also want to have days where Pops and I just lie on the floor in the living room and sing songs as she knocks over the stacking cup tower that I have just built for the 100th time. I want us to spend ages pulling silly faces in the mirror and tipping her upside down and smothering her with kisses until she squeals in delight.
But it's hard. Hard juggling all the above.
And the fact that MOST of all, I want to be the best Mother that I can be, and she is a million times over my number one priority.
I also recently had my follow up with my Oncologist and surgeon, and had to have another mole removed. She was pretty confident it wasn't a melanoma, but pretty certain it was a squamous cell carcinoma (still skin cancer, but not at all hardcore like the melanomas I have had in the past). Unsurprisingly the 4 day wait between the appointment and the results coming back was pretty stressful.
THANKFULLY she was both right and wrong, and the lab results came back all clear!
Thank you Lord.
So far, the past three weeks have been both easier and harder than I expected them to be. From next week I will be seeing fewer patients than I have been, as my friend Stef who I have been covering for gets back and he will take back some of his regular clients. So maybe that will make it easier? Or harder? Or maybe it will feel the same?
I know that a lot of what I've written here is totally nonsensical, but such are the thoughts constantly racing through my mind...
Usually writing things down and reflecting like this helps me to make sense of things. But as I finish typing this I'm not sure that it has.
Oh my goodness, please say that it gets easier with time?