And so the time has come. It’s back to work for me.
12 months out of the real world, the rat race, and I’m feeling distinctly unsteady, like the ground’s shifted and the world’s moved on without me.
While each day has seen me grow more comfortable and confident in caring for Harriet, it feels each day has also seen me lose several more brain cells to the point where I’m not even sure I’ll be able to speak in coherent sentences, never mind devise a communications strategy on a complex issue. ‘Baby brain’ is not a myth; it’s very real.
I’ll miss Harriet. That goes without saying. In fact my heart is actually aching and my emotions are all over the place. I’m trying to focus on the practicalities to stop myself going to mush. (If emotions are what you’re after there are bucket loads in my last post -2 November 2018).
My work clothes seem like strangers, not old friends. It’s been more than 18 months, pre-bump, that they were last on the commute and sitting through meetings. I’ve avoided even trying them on, a head in the sand attitude that they’ll accomodate my new mum tum. Surely??
I’ve found my work shoes that were unceremoniously flung in the downstairs cupboard on 13 October 2017, never to see light of day until now. I’m so out of practice with heels that I’m convinced I look like Bambi trying to stay on his feet on that frozen lake.
The work bag that I meant to clear out before Harriet came along has been dug out of the wardrobe full of work papers and now incoherent, redundant notes but a reminder that I could write and think. Once.
I used to get up at 6am for work pre-baby, so what the hell does that mean for me now? My brain fizzes at the night before prep and the military operation I’m going to have to introduce to ensure a time with a ‘5’ in it doesn’t become the new norm.
I’m anxious at what any lack of sleep will do to my already poor performing brain. Three of the last four nights have seen a poor little Harriet coughing her guts up and a mum experiencing every cough with her. Then the fourth night, the night before work, saw the next bout of teething kick in. I returned to work with a serious case of red eye and a desperate need for caffine, rather than being anything close to fresh-faced or with a spring in my step.
I never thought this time would arrive. When you’re holding a newborn baby, consumed with satisfying its primal needs, the outside world, and time, don’t really exist. The thought that in 365 days that baby will be a proper little person is something you just can’t imagine, and that the time will come for you to be something other than purely a mummy is beyond comprehension.
As I venture out, work shoes clicking and work bag swinging, I know I’m a different version of myself to the Liz that sat at her desk a year ago, but what that actually means for this next chapter, I’m yet to find out.
No choice but to take a deep breath, smile and go for it…