I’ve been back from maternity leave for nearly 6 months now, working part time, 3 days a week on a job share with an amazing Mum who likes food and a giggle as much as I do. I totally lucked out there! (probably should stop telling people I ‘just’ had a baby though..ha!)
If I was to describe what I was like at work prior to having a baby I’d say I was confident, straight talking, a chatterbox and very ambitious. I worked hard to get to my position and was always looking for the next opportunity to sink my teeth into. I loved my job and even when we started fertility treatment it was always nice to get back to some normality in the office and crack on with my head down.
Since coming back after a year off I’m not just a new woman in terms of being a Mum but I feel so much more sensitive to things that previously I probably wouldn’t have even noticed or would have been water off a ducks back for me. Where as before I’d happily challenge, debate, even argue my point where I thought it needed saying I’m so much more aware of how I come across to others.
If I’m busy I second guess whether it’s coming across as not handling things, if I challenge I wonder if it’s unjustified because I only work 3 days a week and when I would normally speak my mind without hesitation (mostly when i was sure I was right) I now hold back because I remember how lucky I am to have been able to keep my job by working flexibly.
I feel so much more vulnerable, like people can see straight through me now, when im tired or stressed, I’m feel like I’m more open to people’s potential criticism and more under pressure to keep on top of things. Especially on a Thursday when I wave goodbye to my colleagues at 4pm wishing them a good weekend when they all have another day and an hour to go.
It’s not all coffee breaks, nice lunches and lazy mornings working part time, especially when my work days are long and I come straight back home to start the evening routine with the babe. Again, I’m not complaining but I feel so much more on show now, like my performance is being more closely monitored and that there’s no room and especially no time for mistakes.
I wish I had some more of my old sass, my unwavering confidence (fake it till you make it was my go to style) and where I’ve got buckets more confidence as a Mum I feel I’ve lost some of it at work and I hate it.
A lot of these worries are constructed myseld, I know that, but I think your priorities change as well as your options and that means most days you get the job done and nothing more. And that should be enough. But I don’t think it is for me and I want to feel like I’m moving forward when I’m at work and whether it’s training, volunteering for some new projects or just pitching a new idea I need to get my vibe back and accept that that will take some time.