This is what it feels like to be going back to work after maternity leave.

Sarah with her eldest son




So the countdown has begun. Shortly I will be heading back to the daily grind of full time office life as my second, and likely last, stint of maternity leave comes to an end.   No doubt about it, I’m pumped to be going back to my work family and giving my career a bit of focus for a while. But there will be plenty of things that I will really miss.

As the last few weeks tick by, I’m consciously trying to note and appreciate these things, knowing they will soon be mere memories that I fondly cast my mind back to when I’m sitting in long meetings, waiting impatiently for taxis and cursing printer paper jams.I will miss the nameless people from my day-time world.

The crazy (but harmless) old man that garbles some completely intelligible thing my way every morning as we walk to the cafe, and tips his hat to my eldest son. The upbeat crew at the café.  The perky lady that runs story-time at the library, the weirdly tall lollipop man on the corner, the endless parade of other mums and the various dog walkers and their dogs.

I will miss the sun-dappled light. Everything appears less worse when cast in sun-dappled light. Toddler tantrums, screaming babies, dropped ice-creams and misjudged jumps over dog-poo. Many a day I’ve pulled myself back from the brink of unnecessary fury by casting a look to the heavens and being struck by the transformative powers of sun-dappled light.  Even an overcast day wins over office fluros.

I will miss Jimmy Giggle.

I will miss the unique daily commentary from my eldest son. Generally focused on my errors – ‘Mummy you went the wrong way,’ ‘Mummy your skirt is on backwards,’ ‘Mummy did you lock us out again?’ – he is really rather perceptive. No doubt I will stuff things up at work too but I’m guessing my colleagues will be less likely to point it out to everyone in the vicinity at full volume.

“I will miss Jimmy Giggle.”

I will miss not wearing a watch. And not always blow-drying my hair. And my more relaxed, comfortable, sticky-finger friendly wardrobe. And especially my comfortable shoes. Or more often than not, no shoes.

I will miss spending time in the park. All of them, seeing as I’m pretty sure I’ve now visited every park in Melbourne, possibly Victoria.

I will miss playing with Lego. I’ve shamelessly gotten into it and my Lego enthusiasm has given me hard to attain kudos with my eldest. It’s possible that I have occasionally continued playing with it as my sons have a nap so that I can reveal my  Grand Designs to them when they wake up. Plus when they are asleep I can use whatever pieces I like.

I will miss planning our dinner whilst eating breakfast. It’s rather nice to have the morning to look up great meal ideas and then actually go and buy ALL the ingredients required as opposed to my husband and I scrambling around at 7:30pm in Masterchef Mystery Box mode trying to see what can be done with a red onion, canned tuna and milk.

And of course, above all, I will miss spending time with my kids.  Not that I won’t still see them every day, but I’m acutely aware there is a difference between the time spent rushing to clothe, feed and pile everyone into the car of a morning compared with the precious clock-less hours I have recently shared with my two sons examining ants, watching flowers grow and explaining why there are two buttons on the toilet.  I will miss the hugs, the laughing, the reality checks, the impromptu dancing and the occasional group nap on the couch.

Of course there’s a whole lot of things that I won’t miss so much but in the interest of keeping this sun-dappled I’ll wrap it up right there.

Do you miss your maternity leave? What do you miss the most?

Sarah lives in Melbourne and works in Adland. She has one husband, one cat, two small humans and has been meaning to exercise for about four years. Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahbailey1982