Well it’s 2011 and I’m back out in the workforce. London rent prices combined with being at the height of my career when getting pregnant, has always meant I’d be going back to work at around 6 months. When Phoenix was first born I didn’t think I’d ever want to work again. I had my apron pressed, my cupcake recipes printed up and my own ‘zone’ plotted out at playgroup (next to the cakes, obvs). But, and I feel so guilty for saying this I really did want to go back to work after a few months. Is that wrong? Am I terrible mother? It’s not that I want to get away from Phoenix, but when I did leave him for a few hours, I spent all the time reflecting on how amazing life is with him in it, I was always really excited to get back to him and appreciated him all the more after having some time apart. I’m also fortunate to have a job I really enjoy and am an ambitious little sausage at heart so couldn’t resist the urge to back involved.
Dealing with having to use my brain again was fine, although I was slightly concerned about my first presentation. After a 6 month break, I had to stand up in front of a reasonably sized audience and talk for two hours without mentioning milk, boobs or poo. Tough one. However, coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to find some childcare and leave the most precious thing to me with a stranger, was not quite so fine. Generally I’m quite organised about life stuff so the way I went about finding childcare was quite out of character. I hated the thought so much that I put it off until the very last minute and then struggled with limited options. My original plan was for him to go to the same childminder as my friends’ kids at playgroup as they were all really happy there, but there were zero spaces available and a long waiting list loomed. I started to interview other childminders that people recommended to me and ones I’d found through the council’s website. This was a bizarre process which basically involved going into strangers homes, handing them my child, asking some random questions, frowning at their house, smiling at some children triple the size of Phoenix and then leaving very confused. Everyone told me ‘you’ll just know when you find the right one‘ but I didn’t feel anything, I just felt numb about them all. They were all ‘ok’, I wouldn’t feel worried leaving Phoenix with any of the cares I met, but I didn’t feel great about it either. I wondered if nothing would ever be good enough and I didn’t know how to identify when I’d found a good one or not. I think it was being in the strange houses as well that freaked me out, all the ornaments looking at me and the family portraits felt creepy! I wanted to see bright bold painted walls, toys everywhere, I dunno but I just wasn’t feeling it.
I then started looking into nurseries which I’d always been vehemently against. On closer inspection they were a lot more modern then I expected and not a bunch of cots lined up in dark room (jeeze where am I from the Victorian times?!) and I think I’ll be really happy to send him to a nursery when he’s older and can socialise, but while he’s still tiny I still wasn’t convinced about this either. So my neighbour ‘leant’ me her nanny to try out for for January to see how it went. And it’s been great. Having someone come to the house and give him one on one attention is much easier for me to get my head around. Oh and doing the housework wasn’t a bad bonus either!
The first time she came I forced myself to leave the house and went to the gym. It was very scary and I felt really guilty and spent an hour in an exercise class stressing that he was crying his eyes out. When I got back he was having his lunch and seemed perfectly happy. She told me he’d woken up and been a bit scared that I wasn’t there but she’d been able to calm him down with a talking bear (he’s easily pleased my boy). Secretly I can confess that if he hadn’t cried at least once I’d have been a bit gutted! Yes I want him to be happy, but come on, I’ve put in 6 months of bonding and leg work here, you will miss me!! For the rest of the day I just worked upstairs so I could eavesdrop. She was in his room with him most the time but didn’t realise the baby monitor was on and I could hear everything, mu ha, ha! Is that awful?! Oh well, I am now perfectly reassured he will be fine net week when I’ll be out all day.
So here we go, straight into 2011 with a new routine and a new lifestyle. I’m only working three days a week so am really looking forward to making my mondays and fridays extra special with him.