Back to work blues
Susan juggles motherhood and work as best as she can. One day at a time...
I am back at work. Let me put it another way. I am back at work – the
horror the horror! After nearly five months of staring besottedly at
Finn I've been yanked away from his precious little face and thrown
into an office of organised grown ups who make intelligent
conversation, have opinions and don't really give a dam about what Finn
did or didn't do last night. I feel out of my depth. Mommyhood requires
being in touch with your tender side, having endless patience and a
slow approach to life. Career on the other hand demands an edginess,
quick action and a solid front. It's not going to serve anyone to get
all misted up in tears of empathy when your sales team don't deliver
Switching between these two modes in one day is a challenge. I
come home from the office in the late afternoon all fired up ready to
embrace my mommy role. 'Hello my precious!' I enthuse loudly at Finn.
'Let's play! Let's learn! Let's bond! Let us be mother and son!' But
all Finn wants to do is kind of sit slumped in his chair, put his fist
in his mouth and make odd gagging sounds.
So I've got to take a deep breath, sit down quietly and just be
there next to him for as long as he needs me to. In the mornings I take
a leisurely drive to work, smiling the tired but satisfied smile of
motherhood. I walk into the office and am smacked by a host of queries,
telephone calls and emails. Initially, it always feels like somewhat of
To be honest, it's not being back at work that's the problem. I enjoy
my job. I also appreciate the people I work with who are creative and
inspiring. In fact I hardly knew how much I loved either until I was
forced into solitary with an infant for five months.
What is so desperately difficult is leaving Finn. I had my first cry
about it a month before I was due back to work. 'It's not natural,' I
sobbed in Roxi's arms. 'Mommies need to be with their babies.' Although
there was little Roxi could do to console me, she did try. 'We should
lobby,' she announced. What we should lobby about was not entirely
evident. Although I presume it was to demand longer and better
maternity benefits that would mean one of us could remain home at least
for the first year of our child's life without having to downgrade to a
bachelor flat in Vanrhynsdorp.
During my final week of maternity leave, Thandi The Nanny officially
started her employment with us. On arrival, she picked Finn up and he
gave her a broad smile. I had to restrain myself from flying across the
room, wrestling him out of her arms and shouting "I'm The Mommy!". But
now it's week two and things feel less heart sore. I am certain that
what is easing my re-entery into the big wide world is that when Finn
wakes up at lunchtime, Thandi gives me a missed call so I can quickly
drive home and spend 45 minutes staring besottedly at him. Of course,
if this doesn't continue to work, I might just take Roxi up on her idea
and lobby – if I could only find the time.
Have you headed off to work this year leaving your precious little
one at home? Are you battling with seperation anxiety? Share your
stories in the comment box below.