Reflections on work and starting maternity leave

This is now my final week at work until I start my maternity leave. I’ll only be 32 weeks pregnant and this is the earliest stage at which I have left work during pregnancy. My main reason for leaving earlier is the fact I am struggling a lot more this time and have it’s not as smooth sailing as with the boys. I’m more tired, my bump is feeling pretty huge, I’m a little anaemic and of course I’m older this time.

On one hand I have had people saying that I’m looking full term and am I expecting twins and then on the other hand genuine surprise that I am leaving work a whole two months early. Someone even asked me what I would be doing at home for two months?! I’ll tell you what I’ll be doing at home…I’ll be doing everything I normally do at home but spread out more evenly throughout the week and generally keeping busy with life, without the inconvenience of work. I find it somewhat odd when people don’t know what to do when they aren’t working, even if I don’t leave the house, I always have things I can be doing.

Gone are the days of searching for the ideal job it would seem. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what would make me happy and gain the balance that I so want. No one wants to be unhappy with where the work but work is simply a chore to me now, it pays the bills – or not so much these days. Now I have a family and little people to think about I find work an inconvenience. Rare are the days that I come home having some sense of achievement and that I’ve had a great day. I do essentially like my job as it’s familiar and I’m comfortable in my role and it does do me good to get involved with the banter with people at work and sometimes just getting away for some ‘peace’. However, if I’m honest, it’s not really where I want to be and I suppose I’ve outgrown it. I’m very much an itchy feet type of person so to stay in a job for so many years is quite an accomplishment for me. I don’t feel fulfilled or challenged anymore and I’m definitely coasting along as I know the job so well and it has adapted around my life over the years. I really don’t think I would have it so cushy elsewhere and that keeps me grounded there.

A whole year out of work (again) is music to my ears and I know that I need to cherish this one last maternity leave that I will be indulging in. I remember my first maternity leave where I naively assumed I would return to work at a sooner date because of money, not really grasping the gut wrenching fear I  would feel about leaving my precious little boy with other people. In the end my husband saved up some money which enabled me to be able to take a whole year off and the relief was immense, just knowing my baby would be that little bit older and me that little bit more prepared helped so much. I have a colleague who has a baby less than six months old and she has been chomping at the bit to return to work for some time.  I know we aren’t all the same but it serves as a stark reminder that we are all different and have outlooks on our lives. Don’t get me wrong, my kids do drive me up the wall on a regular basis but I’d rather be with them than not.

As mentioned earlier, my job is not challenging enough in the sense that it can be quite monotonous and have prolonged periods of waiting. I hate waiting and I hate waiting when I have a million and one things buzzing around in my head, that I could be doing whilst not trapped doing a shift.  As it’s busy running a home and being a Mum, I really do quite frankly resent having to clean areas practically from top to bottom at work just because we’re ‘quiet’. Some really do take it extremely seriously and I realise even more that perhaps I should be doing something I feel a little more passionate about. Yes, I’d rather be cleaning at home!

Perhaps this is just a stage that I’m going through in my life while my children are still fairly small. I have some friends who are incredibly career orientated and have managed courses and dissertations while at the same time looking after their families. That is not something I feel I could ever entertain at the moment but yet I’m aware they are paving the way for their future when their kids are older and less dependent. I’m very much about living in the now though and being around for when my children need me. They aren’t small for very long and I’m aware that it can all be too easily missed if you’re out working all day. We need money (don’t we all!) but I’d rather get by as best we can rather than be an absent Mum. I guess you have to go with your gut feeling and hope for the best.

So on a positive note, I am very much looking forward to starting my leave and preparing for our imminent arrival. This time around though I feel I have to make the difference count and pave the way for our future so that perhaps I’m a little more fulfilled and the balance doesn’t leave me wondering if the grass is greener so much. I want to make sure that we make the most of these years and have adventures and make lasting memories of the good kind.  No one’s life is perfect but you can certainly strive to make it as perfect as it can be. After all we only have one life.