In the next couple of months my statutory Maternity pay runs out. This means it's time for me to head back to work. I'm torn about this, and as I've started to think about my options and what I would like to do, comparisons have been made in my head between my two maternity leaves.
With Noah, I attended a post natal group run by the health visitors. I met five ladies, well I say met, one is one of my oldest and closest friends, another went to high school with us, the other 3 were new friends. All of us had babies born within a couple of months of each other. We were at approximately the same stages and had people to bounce ideas off etc. After the group finished, we carried on meeting each Friday for coffee mornings, taking it in turn to host. We also attended groups together or met in town for coffee.
Added to this were get togethers with my pink ladies, and my neighbour who also had a baby, and I had a busy social life that I totally enjoyed.
Fast forward to this maternity leave. It couldn't be more different. For one, out of the 6 of us girls from the first maternity leave, I'm the last to produce baby number 2, the eldest being a good year older than Benjamin. Factor in a 3 year old who needs constant entertaining and the fact that we have moved to a new town, and my social life is very different. In that I no longer have one.
My plans to make new mummy friends in my new town haven't really come to fruition. I've met a couple of mums but we haven't exchanged numbers or met up outside of the breastfeeding group.
I miss picnics in the park, baby groups (Noah isn't allowed to go to baby groups) coffee mornings. It's been a much lonelier maternity leave. A result of this has been an increase in the amount of time I've spent talking to friends on the Internet, which has taken time away from Noah, whereas last time Noah got attention and play dates with my friends kids.
My first maternity leave was one of my most treasured times of my life. Don't get me wrong, I've loved being with Noah & Benjamin, but this time it's routine, lonely, and not quite as special as the last one.
In January Noah starts pre school 3 days a week, but I won't even be able to enjoy this new time that I would have had one to one with Benjamin as the classroom looms.
A return to work means money which obviously is the dominant factor in the return to the classroom. But it also means grown ups! Which means chatting about things that are not baby poo, breast pumps and sleeping routines.
It also means guilt! Guilt that someone other than me will be spending more time with my boys than I will. Guilt that Benjamin won't have the same one on one time that Noah got, the list is endless!
I still have two months to figure this out and make peace if I can with the decisions that are made, so I have to do my utmost to not waste this time, as I won't get this chance to be with my kids when they are young again.