parents

5 things that changed when I went back to work after maternity leave.

back to work after maternity leave

By NICKY CHAMP

You know those hectic weekday mornings when you sleep in, make a mad dash for the bus, miss it and have to wait eight whole minutes for the next one?

And by the time you arrive at the office, you’re late, sweaty, flustered and telling anyone who will listen, “I’ve had the worst morning ever?”

Well, multiple that by 1000 and that’s getting close to what it’s like when you try to get to work on time when you have a small child.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by the The Style Network. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

But it’s not only your commute that changes when you return back to work after maternity leave, no, no, no, here’s what changed for me when I went back to work.

1. Stains are the new black.

I like to think that I had fairly high standards of personal hygiene pre-baby, I mean, I definitely wouldn’t have left the house in stained clothing. In fact I probably didn’t even own any clothes with unidentified stains on them prior to having a baby. Oh how life changes.

One particularly bad morning saw me cop a musical instrument to the head, have Weetbix smeared onto my t-shirt and yogurt handprints pressed onto my black pants. By the time I left my place I’d had three wardrobes changes, dressed and re-dressed the baby twice and had the pleasure of changing not one but two pooey nappies. And this was all before 7:15am.

I remember this morning well because several colleagues went out of their way to tell me that they liked my outfit. I was gobsmacked, having had the morning from hell, I’d thrown on whatever was on top of the clean (debatable) washing pile.

That was until, someone pointed out I had a stain on my white top, I countered with: “ah well, it’s only one stain.” Six words I would never had ever even thought about uttering had I not been with child. I also held back from saying what I was really thinking: “At least it’s not poo!” (because to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure).

So there you have it, some days getting to the office on time may mean you end up leaving the house with baby poo (or Weetbix) on your clothes. It’s best to invest in some scarves you can strategically drape over anything that looks a bit dodgy.

ADVERTISEMENT

2. Being “under the pump” at work has a whole new meaning.

At Mamamia HQ we have an open plan style office with many glass doors, which is great for production but not so much for privacy. Unless I wanted to expose my breasts and the mystery of breast-pumping to all my colleagues my best option was to take my bovine-milking equipment to the kitchen – which was the only room other than the toilet which had a (non-glass) door, um, not that the toilet has a glass door.

To prevent any awkward interruptions Mia made a “pumping in progress” sign for each time I needed to occupy the area – not that you couldn’t hear the pump’s awfully loud mechanical, “mmrroo” “mmrrroo” sound from several kilometres away.

My bosses and colleagues did their best to accommodate my needs but it led to some fairly awkward conversations like, “Nic, can I make my lunch now or do you need to pump?” With workmates planning their sandwich-making and soup-heating around my need to drain my breasts, talking about my boobs with male colleagues no longer constituted sexual harassment.

3. You will have the mental agility of a sheep.back to work after maternity leave

When you first return to work your brain will feel like it’s operating in mud, or more accurately quicksand.

Your days were previously segmented into short bursts of feeding, resting and playing and now you have eight plus hours of concentrating squarely on one thing, working. Your brain will wish that one thing was napping.

And since your colleagues have had the benefit of eight luxurious hours of sleep while you’ve possibly been up three or four times and ended up with a toddler sleeping on your head or kicking you in the ribs all night it’s fair to say they’ll be a touch sharper than you.

I’ve found it’s best to take an agenda to any meetings you have to avoid that awkward deer in headlights moment when you lose your train of thought mid-sentence. That or a cat video on-pause that you can pretend was the reason for your brain fart.

4. You will be so happy to converse with adults, you may overplay it a little.

Don’t be surprised if you yell, “Hola, soy Dora!” to a bunch of blank faces on a Monday morning or start referring to your colleagues as “Amigos” – a common side effect of watching too much Dora the Explorer.

ADVERTISEMENT

Your only salvation here is hope there is a former nanny or fellow mum among the mix who will understand your new-found Spanish language skills are from Dora and that you haven’t actually lost your mind.

Also be prepared for awkward “How was your weekend conversations?” when everyone has been to the latest clubs and seen The Great Gatsby while you’ve begun referring to Peppa Pig, Giggle and Hoot and Iggle Piggle as if they’re real people.

5. You may be so immersed in your work you forget you have a child.

Which is all great for production, but not so great at 5:30pm when it’s your turn to do the daycare run. I did this once, and have still not lived it down.  The upside is now workmates tend to remind me I’m still at work even it’s two minutes after I’m due to leave.

If you’ve gone back to work after maternity leave (or are thinking about it)  whether it be for financial or emotional reasons, you may as well make it as enjoyable as possible. That’s why it’s best to shelve the guilt early; no one calls dads ‘working fathers,’ and just do the best you can. Besides, there’s not a lot that a large latte and a big tube of YSL’s Touche Eclat won’t fix.

back to work after maternity leaveA brand new season of Giuliana & Bill premieres Mondays @ 8:30pm from July 22, only on The Style Network available on Foxtel.

The season kicks off with the couple enjoying life as they experience the world through new eyes – that of their newborn son, Duke.

Although, being new parents is not without its challenges, the enterprising couple continues to find success in their careers, especially with their restaurant in Chicago where they look to expand to a second location.

Now that they are getting into a routine, Giuliana wonders if they should have another child; however, Bill is adamant about living in Chicago.

Comments on this post are for this post only. If you have questions or comments about this product or about sponsored posts in general please email [email protected] or visit our frequently asked questions page here.

Have you ever had extended time off work and found it hard to dive back in?

00:00 / ???