The everyday

The fear of returning to work

Ok, so maybe fear is too strong a word, at least in my case. Perhaps I would be better placed to describe myself as apprehensive or nervous. Either way I can’t deny that I’m quickly falling foul to overthinking going back to work.

If it’s not your first time here then you will more than likely already be aware that I have been on Maternity Leave since April 2019. I’m returning to work at the end of this month so that means it’s been almost a whole year that I’ve been off.

I don’t think it’s too cliched to say that it has flown by, if you are a parent yourself then you will be all too aware of how time just seems to disappear when you are caring for a baby/child.

time for change sign with led light
Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

However, when I worked my final shift I remember thinking, wow a whole year off this is going to be incredible! I’ve worked full-time (40 hours over 5 days) since the age of 18 and in my current role for what was 8 years at the time. I hadn’t taken more than two weeks off at one time so all those months stretched out seemed both lovely and long (in a good way). I don’t hate my job, far from it, but the thought of being paid (albeit not my full wage) without having to go to work was great!

With my daughter being overdue I had nearly 6 weeks before she was born but that soon disappeared, mainly with my non-stop cleaning. I thought I was obsessed with cleaning before I was pregnant but it was nothing compared to the last few weeks, for me at least the nesting was real, I was like a woman possessed!

So, before I knew it she was here. It wasn’t the most straightforward birth so the recovery period was longer and more difficult than I had anticipated. This coupled with the seemingly constant nappy changes, feeds, cuddles, and stream of visitors saw the first month or so disappear in a blur, a beautiful blur but a blur all the same. And then real life kicked in and everything settled down but remained busy. I laugh at myself for wondering what I would do with all my spare time whilst off work, now I find myself struggling to think what I used to do before I had a baby! It’s the best kind of busy looking after my daughter though!

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There were plenty of times over the year that I thought and said that I was looking forward to returning to work. I meant it as well. I still do…just not as strongly now that it is a reality, and a close reality at that. It’ll be nice to get back to work, to have an additional purpose besides being a mum and I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into the workplace banter again. That banter is what makes hospitality such a fun environment to work in, even if the pay and the shift patterns leave a lot to be desired. However, I realise now what I hadn’t fully appreciated before…how much I’m going to miss my daughter and how out of the loop I am with regards my job.

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Let’s start with the thought of missing my little one. I think every parent out there has moments where they need a break, some ‘me time’, an adult conversation. I certainly have had those moments, and yet there is a difference between a few moments here and there and 8 hours a day out at work. I’m returning to work 32 hours a week over 4 days and whilst this is less than I was working before it’s scary to think about. Why? Because I’m worried about if I’ll miss anything with her, worried that she’ll have moments where she’s missing me and I wont be there to comfort her…the list goes on.

As time has gone on and I’ve been asked how I feel I have said simply that it will be an adjustment but that we will figure it out. And we will, I just wish I could skip the part where we are figuring it out, it’s pretty daunting!

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A new worry, one that I hadn’t anticipated during my time off is the feeling of nervousness that I now have about doing my job again. As I said I have done the same job role for 8 years, 40+ hours a week, I’m not being arrogant when I say I knew my job inside and out because I did. Notice how I used the words ‘knew’ and ‘did’? That’s because I don’t feel like I know my job anymore. I feel like I’ve been out of the loop for such a long time that I’m going to struggle to get going again. I hope I’m wrong. I hope that I go back on that first day and it’s as if I worked a shift the week before. That was what I thought it would be but I will admit now that my confidence is not as high as it was. I’m certainly nervous and dare I say it a little scared about returning to work. I worry that I will be expected to perform just as I did before Maternity Leave, I worry that I will make mistakes, and I worry that I will be too critical of myself.

flowers grass meadow time
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There isn’t long left to worry though, it’s a matter of days now until I go back, so wish me luck! I’m really hoping I can write another post soon where I tell you that I don’t know why I was so worried because everything was fine. I’ll soon see.

Have you had a prolonged period of time away from your job, or from work in general? How did you adjust to this when you returned to work? I’m interested to hear your thoughts and any advice that you may have!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x

10 thoughts on “The fear of returning to work

  1. I’m returning to work in 2 weeks after having my little one in June so I know how you are feeling x will be great to get some adult company but I’m still devastated about leaving my little one x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I feel your pain! The thought of leaving the little one is so horrible! I’ve done the first shift now though and it was easier than I thought it was going to be so I really hope the same happens for you 😊 congratulations on your baby 😁 x

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  2. I was very anxious about returning to work. In my case, I actually left my job while still on maternity leave (I timed it all very accurately so I’d still be paid etc), then had another baby, then returned to work 5 months after that but to a part time job. It’s really odd to be back at work but also nice to be able to use your brain (if you know what I mean!) and talk to adults.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s comforting to know the nerves and anxiety are totally normal 🙂 yes the adult conversation is something I’m looking forward to 😁 I’m glad that you’ve had some positive elements to being back at work, it helps soften the blow doesn’t it. Thanks for sharing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel for you Jess and I dare say, it won’t be easy being away from your little one for long periods of time. I’ve no doubt it will take a little getting used and I have no tips to offer, I’m afraid. I was a stay at home mum until the boys went to school. However, returning to work after five years away was almost like never being away.

    And honestly, it sounds like you were good at your job – no one is going to expect you to jump in and pick up right where you left off. I understand you will be slightly anxious but I’m sure your team will be delighted to have you back and will let you settle in. You’ve still got the ‘baby brain’ excuse 😉

    Looking forward to hearing how it all goes Jess. Caz x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, you’ve helped put my mind at ease 😊 it will certainly take some getting used to! I’m glad your time away didn’t impact too much when you did return, that also gives me more hope 😊

      Ah baby brain…what a brilliant excuse 😂 I’ll be sure to use that one for as long as I possibly can!

      Here’s hoping I can update soon to say I was having a panic for no reason 😊 x

      Liked by 2 people

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