Leeds, UK

Everybody I've spoken to has said that the transition back into work after maternity leave is so much easier than you'd actually expect; I didn't believe them at the time, but now I've completed my first month back at work, I couldn't agree more!

I decided to take a full year off from work to spend my maternity leave watching Amelia develop into the cheeky, charismatic & energetic little girl she has become. Even though it's been tough surviving on a maternity wage, I wanted to take as much time off as possible because you never know, I may never get the opportunity to again, so I've just got to go with it! Spending the year skint has been so worth it to experience this time with my first born baby.

That being said I think the longer time I've had off, the longer time I've had to stew over the fear of going back to work after maternity leave - In particular the last couple of weeks where the fear got really real! As someone who was always adamant about going back to work, I was suddenly questioning my decisions & if I'm honest, I felt quite anxious about returning.

I needn't have worried.

One of my main concerns was the morning rush & how well I'd cope getting both myself and Amelia out of the house for 7.10am!
The biggest thing to combat getting flustered on a morning is preparation - Dan usually does the evening routine with Amelia so I spend the time wisely getting as ready as possible for the day ahead. I make sure her breakfast & lunch is prepared as well as having her bottles out ready on the kitchen side table to make up the next morning.
It sounds boring!... And it is... But it makes so much sense, as you'll be surprised just how quickly time goes on a morning before work.

Dan & I have no family around us where we live, so investing in the best possible childcare option for us was paramount.
I quickly began to realise that nursery wasn't going to work for us & we'd have to go down the route of leaving Amelia with a childminder. This was because when it came to nursery's there was either a half day or a full day option with nothing in-between, and because I finish work at 2pm it just wasn't going to be cost effective.
I spent quite a bit of time researching different childminders in the local area & eventually found Sharon. We began doing settling in sessions three weeks before I started work, where I'd leave her for an hour, and then two, and then three, gradually building it up so both Amelia & Sharon could get to know one another.
And so far so good! It's so reassuring to know that she's having a good time & she's getting just as much out of being without me as I am without her.

One thing I thought was going to be inevitable before returning to work was that any routine we'd forged with Amelia was probably going to go well & truly out the window. And guess what... I was right!
If I'm totally honest, we still haven't nailed the 'mammy's at work now' routine & there's still days where I pick Amelia up from the childminders where I'm at a total loss for what to do with her. One of the most testing things I've found is getting Amelia back into a good napping routine - When I pick her up she's often so wired from being around other children & being so 'go go go' that she doesn't take her afternoon nap till around 5pm, which of course plays havoc for getting her to go to bed at a decent time.
I'm only a month in so far though, so we're both still learning - I'm hoping things will get better with time.

Mental health.
I've spoken before about the bittersweet isolation of motherhood & how it's had a negative effect on my mental health, but honestly going back to work has done me the world of good!
Although I was very anxious before returning, putting myself back into the adult work has been brilliant for my mental health. I love having a purpose other than being mama & I'm really enjoying having a bit of time to myself, albeit being at work.

Remembering my day job.
Remembering what to do in my job was another big worry for me!
I've joked on to many people over the last year, that taking time off work & immersing myself into the baby world has well & truly turned my brain to mush - I'm the first to say I'm not the brightest crayon in the pack, but my goodness, I thought I was going to return to work & be completely clueless.
I was wrong! Of course I was wrong!
Within an hour of walking through the door I was fully settled in again, and everything on my to do list had come flooding back to me... I could even feel myself getting annoyed at things that hadn't been done correctly while I was off - Not to toot my own horn or anything!

So here I am, a month into being a working mama & oh my goodness it's been tough, but it's also been the most rewarding four weeks! Although I know it's not for everyone, returning to work was a big thing for me! I've been so pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition's been & I'm looking forward to continuing this new avenue of life I've taken.

How have you found the work life / mum life balance?



  1. Claire, I'm so glad to hear that back to work has gone easier than anticipated for you. :)
    I've not had to go through it myself, so early on, but know many that have and I think we all worry a little too much than we should. Babies and children work off our moods, expressions and language, so as long as we try and stay positive (when inside we're crying), then they eventually realise that it's ok. :)


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