As I approach my final week of work before maternity leave (for the second time) a bitter sweet symphony plays in my head.
Experiencing conflicting feelings and emotions about career and family is an unavoidable part of being an undercover mum.
For the foreseeable future I won’t be an undercover mum at work; I will temporarily be a full time stay at home mum. I’m partly relieved to temporarily give up my undercover mum identity and take a break from work, and partly sad to temporarily farewell the identity I have come to know and love.
Parts of me are looking forward to meeting my baby and becoming immersed in the newborn bubble of feeding and cuddles, while other parts of me will miss getting out of the house, dressing up for work and enjoying all that I love about being a working mum.
Part of me relishes the challenge of adjusting to two children and looks forward to the memories and fun times ahead together. Another part of me will miss the routine of work and life with one child.
A part of me is excited about expanding our family, while another part silently grieves that once this baby arrives it will never be just the three of us again. We’ve had so many special moments in the past three years and I don’t want a new baby to erase any of it. I’m sure our little family dynamic will change and can only hope it will be for the better.
Part of me is disappointed that I didn’t achieve my career goals between pregnancies. Sure I increased my experience and skills but I didn’t secure a promotion or my next ideal job. Another part of me reassures me that there is still plenty of time for that later and that I will be glad I have a long term familiar part time job to return to when I’m ready to be an undercover working mum of two. The uncertainty of not knowing when I will want to / be able to / need to return to work doesn’t sit well with me. All in good time.
Part of me is excited about the time between finishing work and baby arriving. Instead of working three days a week I can spend those days that my son is in daycare having some serious me time. Lunch with friends, movies, reading books, naps, swimming, whatever takes my fancy! Who knows when I will have the opportunity to behave like that again. Another part of me worries that I will become bored with so much me time (I did last time after 3 weeks but that was five days a week to myself) or that baby will arrive early and steal my me time.
I have extra pre baby worries this time. Like whether there will be enough time between going into labour and someone being able to take care of my son. I don’t have the luxury of just worrying about myself this time and keeping labour a secret from everyone.
I feel surprisingly emotional about having to leave my son for a few days while I’m in hospital with a baby (I’ve just finished writing detailed notes about my son’s daily routines for his grandparents which has eased my mind a lot). I worry that my son will find the adjustment of a new sibling difficult and make all our lives difficult. Hopefully if this is the case it is a very short phase.
While I’m on maternity leave I’ll still post from time to time about my experiences as a working mum and I’ll be looking for guest bloggers to keep my readers engaged. If you’re interested in writing a guest blog post send your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org