Friday, 20 January 2017

Thoughts on Going Back to Work

I wrote a while back about how much I appreciate the fact that France offers lots of options in terms of going back to work (or not) after having a baby.In the UK, maternity leave and pay is structured in a way that means most people take at least 6 months and often a year after the birth of the baby. In France, by contrast, most of our friends returned to work after between 4 and 7 months. In my job, though, nobody would have batted an eyelid if I'd taken a year, so it really did come down to what we wanted and what we could afford, and in the end I opted to work 3 days per week, which will continue at least until SCB is one, when we'll re-evaluate the situation.

While there have been some practical issues relating to the childcare, so far I'm happy that we've made the right decision. SCB seems to really like the nanny and I think it's good for her to spend time with other children rather than being at home with just me all day. I found the build up to leaving her with someone else hard and was having crazy dreams about being separated from her in bizarre circumstances for about a week before it actually happened, but in reality it was fine.

On the work side, I've been busy, busy, busy, but almost entirely in a good way. I was a bit scared I might have lost my professional touch after eight months of absence, so it was satisfying to find that I could more or less just pick up where I left, with an extra layer of efficiency driven by the need to be out the door promptly in the evening.

The best thing, though, has been having so many things to look forward to in the week. While I enjoyed being full-time at home with SCB, every day was very same-y. I used to look forward to UFM coming home, then feel vaguely disappointed that I had so little to say to him about what we'd been doing, or look forward to the weekends only to discover that they were just as tiring as the weekdays. Now when I'm at home I look forward to the company and stimulation of being at work. When I'm at work I look forward to having accomplished what I need to do in the day, then picking up SCB and spending time with her in the evenings. I look forward to Friday because I can relax after a busy week. I look forward to spending time as a family at the weekend, or taking advantage of UFM being around to go out and do things by myself. And then I look forward to the days that SCB and I have with just the two of us, enjoying being at home or going on little outings together.

Finally, I look forward to going to bed in the evening and having a good night's sleep. Currently, that's the only hope that is consistently disappointed!


  1. Sounds like a great schedule! Glad you have found a balance that works for you.

  2. One of the wonderful things about Canada is the year long maternity pay. I am earning as much now as I was when I was working. However, if I want to return to teaching I will need to go back to work after 9 months not the year, which is sad. However - needs must. I don't know how I will feel. Sounds like you have got a great grip on everything though. I will be worried about having lost some of my skill set when I go back to work also. Good to hear that isn't the case for you. Holly (Full of Beans and Sausages).

  3. Well I just went back today! Baby seems to be getting more into waking up only once per night, but we're also putting him to bed slightly later. And like you said, his feedings are now super fast. Fingers crossed this lasts long enough for any sleep regression to not be too ridiculous.

    The build-up to leaving the baby at the nanny's was harder than the actual leaving, though I did cry this morning! I think it was partly because I only saw him for about twenty minutes!

    Anyway, please keep writing about these experiences, it's very informative for me ;)