And now that I am getting ready to cross back over the bridge, from full time motherhood, to working 80% I ask myself - "How do I feel now?"
I have very mixed feelings on going back to work. I guers that's no biggie :-)
On the one hand: I want to go back to work, it's part of my long term plan. I like working, I like my job. When I left to go on materity leave I was worried about what would happen to my projects and my future. Alan and I have discussed our plans a lot and we feel that we are both working to finance our future, to buy a family home here. We both need to work, not only financially, but as part of our identities. And we are both really happy with the nursery and know that this is a positive experience for him. Alan particularly feels it's important that our child/children in the future see and understand that both parents work.
And yet on the other hand: I had no idea the of what I would feel as a mother. The depth of my feelings has suprised me. Plus, I just feel that I am beginning to get the hang of looking after Markus, that he is now getting to an exciting age. There is a part of me that feels very guilty, that I would want to leave Markus at all and go back to work. And another deeper part of me that feels guilty because I know that I also do need to work and that I enjoy work. I have enjoyed being at home, being a full time mum, looking after our house. And I feel a little bit scared about returning to work after 6 months. How will I cope with this new routine?
And finally on the third hand!: I know that if someone offered me 2 more months maternity leave, I would jump at it. And yet, leaving Markus in 2 more months wouldn't be any easier (and would probably be harder) than leaving him now. I have had such a special 6 months, probably because I knew this time was precious and limited. And even if we had more children, the maternity leave for number 2 wouldn't be the same as for number 1. These first months of being a family have been so unique, so difficult and so rewarding. And I absolutely loved them, am so grateful and lucky that I could take this time.
February has been a time of transition for me. Of getting used to Markus going to nursery, helping him to adapt to his new "family" (who are just great by the way). And having time to myself a little, which i have enjoyed. And now I need to get back to work. I am done worrying and fretting. I need to begin, to see how it is. This decision is not set in store, is not the final decision for all time.
I know me. Within a few days it will feel as though I have never been away. And that will be the saddest thing of all. I need to find a new way of working, of jugging Markus's needs, my needs, our family's needs. I am excited by this... And the knowledge that I get to pick up Markus at the end of each day will spur me on at work and help me to prioritise!
Again I stand on the bridge, watching the water beneath me flow past, taking my worries with me. Waiting to walk back across towards my work life.