whoever you want to be…

Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s back to work I go…

Back when I was first pregnant, I thought I might not have to go back to work once my maternity leave was over. I had a book deal on the horizon, and plenty of time off looming to spend writing (ah ha ha ha ha), so it seemed reasonable to assume I’d be able to kiss my day job goodbye in 2012 and combine baby wrangling with writing full-time.

Fast forward a few months and the ‘dead-certain’ book deal didn’t materialise (nixed by the Acquisitions team, who I sometimes think of as the Dementors of the publishing world). I also found that I’d contracted Baby Brain, and couldn’t concentrate on writing. Then I had a data stick related accident and lost what little writing I had been able to do (half a book, in case anyone wants to make sympathetic noises). Even so, by the time Tweetie Junior (as the baby is publicly known) arrived, I was still clinging on to the hope that I’d never have to face my colleagues across the desk again. Huh.

So it was with a heavy heart in June that I enrolled Tweetie Junior part time into a nursery and dug out my dull work clothes, because I couldn’t very well go into the office wearing my dressing gown. The night before my first morning back, I blended and puréed as though my life depended on it, to ensure that the baby had fresh food to eat during his incarceration. I packed his bag with every eventuality in mind, although the inclusion of sun cream was wildly optimistic. And in the morning, I left home with tears in my eyes to face the misery of earning a proper wage, like the rest of the working population.

By midday, I was ready to slit my wrists with a sharpened paperclip. I’d forgotten how to log in, how to use the phone system and pretty much what my job even was. Since I was still breastfeeding, it felt like my boobs were ready to explode. And I was pretty sure Tweetie Junior would hate his afternoon at nursery (despite the fact that he’d loved his induction visits). All in all, I was counting the seconds until I could escape back to my baby cocoon.

When the end of the day finally came around, I shot out the door and spent the journey home fretfully imagining the baby screaming inconsolably for his mummy. The reality was a bit different; bouncing in the Jumperoo (note for non-parents: this is a life-saving contraption which buys you enough time to drink a cup of lukewarm tea) when I arrived, he flashed a cheerful grin my way and carried on with the business of bouncing. His key worker told me he’d been relentlessly happy all afternoon. Which was a great relief, if not quite what my battered mummy ego needed to hear. The evening was spent catching up on cuddles, cooking for the next day and trying to suppress a sinking feeling, before I fell into an exhausted coma at 9.30pm.

It’s now three weeks since I went back and, while I can’t say I enjoy work, I’ve settled in more now that I know Tweetie Junior is happy enough without me for a few hours. I’m never going to love being there and am still dreaming of that new book deal (or lottery win) but I’m surviving. Knowing that Wednesday is the new Friday helps, although my colleagues look  positively murderous when I mention it. Just don’t expect me to win Employee of the Year; because my heart simply isn’t in my job. How could it be, when I leave it with my baby each morning?

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About Tamsyn Murray

I live in Hertfordshire and make things up for a living. I write books for children, adults and educated animals. I own one cat, one dog and five rabbits, plus assorted humans.

8 comments on “Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s back to work I go…

  1. DJ Kirkby
    July 22, 2012

    This post made me laugh and go teary eyed. been there (a long time ago) and just want to give you a big hug.

    • Tamsyn Murray
      July 22, 2012

      Thanks, DJ. I’ll redeem that hug tomorrow, if that’s OK?

  2. Cally Taylor
    July 22, 2012

    Awwww, lovely last line. That’ll be me in September. Dear Universe, please bring me and Tam humongous book deals so we can be with our babies x

    • Tamsyn Murray
      July 22, 2012

      Yes, please, Universe!

      There is an upside to being back at work – I have drunk a hot cup of tea from start to finish for the first time in months. But I’d happily forego that, obviously!

  3. catherinegracehughes
    July 22, 2012

    Ah, yes, such familiar territory!

    If you are keen top continue breastfeeding (makes life so much easier) ask the nursery to use a sippy cup to feed your baby his drinks. Most babies come to reject the breast in favour of the easier-to-get-at flow of bottle teats. All three of my girls did exactly that, leaving me heartbroken and struggling to get up in the middle of the night to heat bottles for them when I had to work the next day.

    Some babies will effortlessly combine the two. Rare, though, I believe.

    Good luck!!

    • Tamsyn Murray
      July 22, 2012

      Thanks, Catherine! I’ve stopped breastfeeding now, reluctantly. A few cases of mistaken identity involving teeth helped to persuade me it was time – ouch!

  4. Diane
    July 23, 2012

    Ugh, doing work you don’t enjoy is bad enough, leaving your baby as well must be even worse. Here’s hoping another book deal comes your way soon, for real this time!

    • Tamsyn Murray
      July 23, 2012

      I didn’t always hate it, Diane. But yes, an actual real proper book deal would be good!

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This entry was posted on July 22, 2012 by in Bea Family and tagged , .
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