So here it is.
The night before I start my first day back at work since 11th March 2016 (I’m discounting the odd KIT day).
Since I joined The Motherhood.
Wow. It feels weird (but good!) to be getting into a routine of packing our bags and setting our clothes for the next day.
Something I’ll probably grow to hate. Or will I? I like being organised. Hopefully it will become autopilot and my future self (the tired head-less-chicken one in the morning) will thank me for it.
A nice bath. Early to bed to read a book and set an alarm.
Argh I haven’t set an alarm (bar the KIT days) since March 2016.
I’ll probably not sleep tonight for fear of sleeping in.
I know, I know. I’ve shouted from the rooftops how I’ve looked forward to this day. How I’ve longed to get back to work for some ‘me time’.
It’s comical isn’t it? Who would’ve thought I classed work as my time.
But I do.
And I am looking forward to it.
However, do you know what I’m looking forward to the most?
Coming home to this gorgeous, happy little thing I’m proud to call my daughter.
I’ll look forward to having tea with her. To enjoy preparing it and then watching her eat it.
And bathing her. Watching her play with bubbles and the purple and yellow ducks. And the little spikey orange ball that lights up.
Splashing her little hands on the water and giggling every time she does it. Looking at me with those big blue eyes. Eyes that ask me to giggle back with her too.
Then wrapping her in her hooded towel where she resembles a baby Yoda.
Patting dry her utterly delightful skin.
Dressing her for bed.
Giving her a bottle of warm milk.
Reading her a story. Or two.
And then lying her in her cot. Her big girl cot which has been completely lowered now (when did that happen?)
Then tucking her in.
Actually, this is a daddy job as I don’t tuck her in tight enough. She’s like that magician that can escape being chained, bolted and dropped in water. Wriggles in all the right places and breaks free.
And do you know why I will look forward to all of this?
Because for nearly ten whole months, the monotony of everyday motherhood – looking after a small human by myself – takes it’s toll in the evening.
I’ve been too tired or sick of her by this time of day to actually embrace and enjoy these moments.
Gasp. What an awful thing to say.
But it’s true.
These moments tend to be flung at the other half. For him to try and embrace after his day at work.
So no doubt I’ll still be tired from my day at work.
But that’s just it.
I’ve been at work. I’ve had time away from her. She’s had time away from me.
So those moments that we are together.
Will be unbelievably special.
I can’t wait to see how excited she gets when I come home from work.
This festive period I’ve had the hubby on hand so I’ve had little breaks.
Little breaks like having a lie in.
Where I’ve surfaced and she’s already had her breakfast and her dad has dressed her. Dressed her like only a dad can dress his daughter – in obscure outfits that should never leave the house.
I inch my way through the living room door. As sometimes she’s crawling around right behind it (again – when did this happen?)
Then, she sees me.
With those innocent blue eyes.
Taking me in.
All dishevelled in my dressing gown and untamed hair. My make-up free face still puffy from sleep.
And she looks at me like
I’m the most beautiful person
in the world.
Her long little legs kick wildly. Her smile lights up her cheeky little face and the excited giggles that escape from that tiny little mouth are breathtaking.
I do have a heart underneath all of this Warrior Mode.
And my god it explodes.
My little buddy for life.
I’ve come a long way in nearly ten months.
It’s been the toughest, hardest most emotional time of my life.
I’d go so far as to say it’s been the craziest.
I’m still me. Just a different version.
One that has been on a huge learning curve.
But I look back upon my time with fondness. There have been plenty of highs and there have been plenty of lows.
There’s also been some questionable parenting moments.
Like the time I couldn’t remember leaving chocolate in her cot, only to discover it wasn’t actually chocolate on her hand – that mammy had left the dirty nappy bag in the cot …
And as much as I’ve wanted this absolutely crazy time off to hurry up, I’ll reflect on 2016 in years to come as the year that not only broke me – but it also made me.
I’ve poured my feelings and frustrations into what can be looked upon as an online maternity diary. Like diaries, there will be some entries I look back upon and downright cringe, even regret. But for most of it, I’ll look back with pride.
That maternity leave not only gave me a chance to spend (albeit some frustrating and exhausting) time with this little human of mine.
It gave me the chance to take a step back from life.
To focus on something I’ve absolutely loved doing since I was a little girl myself.
Last week, I watched the BBC film on the Bronte sisters To Walk Invisible.
And that was empowering in itself. Three women masquerading as men to get their novels published. What a significant piece of history.
A piece I want to share with my daughter. I’d like to think that by writing this blog I’m writing some history for her too. That mammy loved writing and her dream came true to share it with the world.
On the subject of the Bronte’s, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read Jane Eyre. Ouch.
I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle. I want to get into the routine of reading before bed again.
This whole pregnancy and maternity experience has brought me new friends. Friends which some of whom I’ve not even known a year. But it’s felt like I have known them a life time. Who’ve been there on the toughest journey of my life. And that’s a strong bond.
Then there are friends I’ve always had who’ve been on this journey with me too. Through the raw parts. Who have seen me at my worst and I have seen them at their best as they support and pick me up.
Friends who bring you pizza when you’ve got a teething baby and all you have eaten is a bowl of trifle for tea.
Those people are priceless.
And I thank them.
For sharing this crazy ass journey with me.
That’s Sisterhood for you.
Here’s to my next chapter. I’m off to make it a good one.
Love Missuswolf xxx