My baby is napping, giving me one last chance to write this post which I’ve been thinking about for so long. Of course, it won’t be the last nap he ever takes, but it is the last he’ll take while I’m on maternity leave. Tomorrow I start life as a (part time) working mum.
While the wee one has been merrily smashing through his own milestones – first teeth, first steps, first torturous-yet-liberating morning at nursery – my first day back at work is probably my most important milestone as his mum. For a start, I’m different to the capable(ish) woman who left my job. My priorities have changed. I’m tired and my brain is already full of baby-related minutiae, a ‘to do’ list as long as this post and snippets of doom-laden headlines. Now there’s a 9-5.30 job and double nursery run to chuck into the mix? Good luck, tomorrow’s me!
Motherhood is all about firsts, even with a second baby. Firsts mark both baby’s development (‘Hey look, a tooth!’) and the passage of time (remember that first, desperately longed-for night out, when you constantly checked your phone ‘just in case’, drank two G&Ts and woke up with a thumping headache in the night?). Yet, while the first day back at work marks the beginning of a new phase of family life, it’s emotionally charged because it also marks an ending. My baby and I have reached the time limit the government considers long enough for a working mum to be responsible solely for her child/ren. The baby bubble era – when I watched him learn to roll, when I got up to feed through the night, every night – is over forever. Now begins the juggling act.
If there’s an upside to this most bittersweet of days, it’s surely the teas and the wees – a cliche because it’s true! And when that peaceful toilet moment comes, I’ll use it to reflect on me and my baby’s amazing time together so far and all the milestones we’ve got to look forward to.