It’s all about a mug of hot tea.
“It will be so nice to drink a cup of tea all the way to the bottom,” you say. “I haven’t had more than three hot sips in a year.”
You hate cold tea.
It might be nice, too, to be walking down the street without being tethered to a pram. Literally. That looped strap around your wrist. Always looking for the curve of the curb to cross the road. Waiting for lifts. Avoiding the stairs.
Imagine that, the freedom to walk where you want.
And then there are the clothes. If you are very careful, and pull them on only at the very last moment before you leave the house in the morning, you might get to wear something that hasn’t been splattered in drool, and milk and vomit and worse. Something maybe (whisper it) that’s not stretch-fit Lycra, denim or trackies. Shoes, not trainers, heels not uggs.
You’re going back to work after you’ve had a baby. Heading back into the wild after a months in captivity. It’s been a glorious, muddled-up, foggy, stressful, delicious, anxious, dreamy time. You have learned things you never knew you had to.
Like how to make a cup of tea one-handed. How to differentiate between an ‘I’m hungry’ cry, an ‘I’m tired’ cry and a ‘Just come and fricking pick me up right away’ cry. How to scrape dried pumpkin off the wall. How to make small talk with people with whom all you have in common is an arbitary two-week period when you all expelled a human from your bodies.
How to be shamed for however it was you did that. How to survive on no more than two-hours sleep at a time. How to love someone who does nothing but take from you. How it feels to truly care more about someone else than yourself. How to be a parent.
And now, you have to relearn what it was your did before you learned all that.
LISTEN: This Glorious Mess help listener Chris with her back-to-work situation (post continues after audio…)
So there’s hot tea, and walking in the world by yourself, nice clothes and maybe even a sneaky lunchtime shop. But there’s also the stuff that no-one told you about.
These first days, weeks and months, you’re going to feel some things. Just when you got used to all the new feelings that parenthood pulled up alongside itself, you now need to make peace with some other emotions.
What if that person who they hired to do your job while you were away was better than you? What if they’re all secretly wishing you weren’t coming back at all?
You have no idea what you’re doing. How did you ever understand all this shit they’re talking about in these interminable meetings? Why does the boss keep looking at you and rolling her eyes? You could have sworn that she looked at you and rolled her eyes. She’s thinking, ‘Mum brain!’.