Finding joy

I’ve found such a sense of joy during these lockdown months as I’ve spent more time with my immediate family. Weekends are made of rambling walks, barbecues if the weather is right and movie afternoons with us all snug on the sofa.

Don’t get me wrong, the time hasn’t been perfect with a strong-willed two year old with a penchant for 5am wake-ups and it’s uncomfortable to be finding such happiness when others are struggling so much, but I’ve realised that if I had to spend the rest of my life in isolation, I’d be happy with this company to keep me happy and sane.

I want this to be my life predominantly when we get out of lockdown – life is better lived at a slower, gentler pace.

But I have fears too.

What will happen to friendships that maybe need to be gently let go of to keep this space? Is this just going to tumble around me one day, leaving me with no friends and regrets for those I let overtake me in their faster life?

But this feels right for me and so I’m going to keep unfurling in the gentle joy of being a family of three.

Work, if I’m honest, has been less joyful.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not to say that my life at work is not full of satisfaction. But I’m realising that there’s something about how I’m approaching work and the distance between people which is starting to rub a bit.

And so here are my thoughts about how I can bring more joy to my working life over the coming weeks and months.

Connecting

Connecting with peers and people who inspire me on a 1:1 basis is so important for me. After a good conversation – talking through challenges, connecting with others on a very human level – my heart feels bigger, my spirit feels lighter.

I feel joy.

But the connections I’d usually have over lunchtime walks and meetings have been fewer and further between.

And conversations with people in the organisation who inspire and spark something in my have been fewer and more focused on the immediate than the spacious time they were in pre-covid times.

I’m learning that these are conditions are important for me to thrive and so they should be one of the priorities that I take forward – thinking who I need to connect with and looking at how I can be intentional about this in the weeks ahead.

Finding fun

One of the permission slips I’ve written for myself at work is ‘the permission to have fun’. I notice how uncomfortable this feels to share with you, dear friend, because having fun isn’t ‘serious’.

It might be seen as wasting time or not being productive.

So let me clarify, this isn’t having fun in the sense of playing video games or fooling around instead of get things done. It’s a mindset, and an important one for creativity, reimagining what’s possible, stepping into new roles at work.

For me, fun is setting myself a hard task and being intentional about the areas where I can gain enjoyment from it.

Fun is looking at other people and organisations to see what I can learn from them.

Fun is trying out new things, knowing that the point is to try – not get things perfect.

Fun is working with people who are as open and imaginative as I am.

And I haven’t really allowed myself to have much fun recently. I haven’t prioritised it.

So I’m going to bring this back.

Distance

Until now, I’d said that I’d be happy to work from home for the rest of my life.

I like not having to leave the house by 6:45am to catch the right train to work. I like being able to eat lunch with my husband. I like spending the time I used to spend commuting running along the seashore and through the fields near my house. I like sometimes working from my sofa, in my garden, at different times of the day.

But I recognise now that it’s a bit lonely.

There are limited spaces for interaction outside of the meetings I’m part of and the online presence means that these meetings have less chat at the strt are are more focused on a particular purpose.

And meetings set up for connection are in big groups, which I don’t enjoy or feel nourished from.

There are no conversations in hallways that lead onto something.

There’s less laughter, less spontaneity, less connection.

So, while I like the better balance of working from home, I can see the importance of finding a way of being together in a group and recognising the impact of online connections on my joy.

So what does this mean?

There are some easy things I will be doing over the coming weeks – it feels good to have ordered my thoughts with you to look at what’s going on and what I need:

  • Considering who I want to connect in with over the next few weeks and months
  • Finding a sense of joy through looking at the road ahead and where I want to be intentional in bringing some fun and lightness
  • Acknowledging that it’s hard to connect online, reminding myself that this will pass

A sustainable life

I’m currently in the middle of an amazing trip visiting my dear friend, Nadine, in Texas.

On the cusp of this first prolonged trip away from my family, I felt apprehensive. But another part of me knew this trip was vitally important.

It was a time to find myself again after living in the reality of new motherhood for the past two years.

During these years, I tried to find a balance between my responsibilities to my son and my work, but looking back, I can see that other things suffered – myself, the relationships I hold dear, my health, my sanity(!)…

Balancing everything in a world that promises us that “we can have it all” is an impossibility. Because I believe that “having it all” is a lie.

Even if I were a millionaire, I might have more rest through the help of a nanny, but this would be at the cost of my motherhood.

And as I meditated on my way over in the airplane, I received the following wisdom;

Amy, you have 100% of your energy available to you. So how are you going to use it? Compromises will have to be made, certain things will have to fall away. But you have the ability to make a choice in all this. 

And so sat in a beautiful cafe in south Austin, I looked at what my life currently looks like with everything important to me.  

Here are my thoughts about certain parts of it:

Work

Work is deeply important to me. It fuels my creativity, allows me to feel mastery and it contributes to being an active citizen (working for local government) as well as contributing to my personal growth. It’s important…and yet, it takes up most of my energy. I know as it is it’s not sustainable for the long-haul.

Love

I miss my husband. I miss lazy lie-ins and carefree evenings spent with friends. I miss the time to love him, the energy to go on dates, lying next to him in bed, the spare money with no nursery to pay for to go on dates without thinking about the cost, the time to both enjoy TV shows together and also catch-up without any bedtime pressure.

I know this will pass, but it’s hard.

And I want to be aware of this so that we don’t come out of the early years of parenting fog to find ourselves on different tracks in life, lost to each other.

Recuperation and rest

This is another one which will change as Jenson grows and starts to sleep through the night. At present, my husband and I take turns to respond to our son’s cries and so at least half the week is made of broken sleep. This means that ideally bedtime is 9-9:30, which eats into my connection with Gregg and ability to tap into other areas of the circle – health, connection with friends, my spiritual life…

But it is what it is.

I’m realising how important it is to have an extended period of time – a night or two – away from the daily grind each month.

It’s important to have time just being me, time of sleeping in, time of not having every minute accounted for and a countdown to when bedtime should be.

It’s also a time of connection with friends and nature (where I get my spiritual connection), so I recognise that this isn’t just about rest, but about many more things.

I’ve not been as disciplined with prioritising this time away as I should be, but I will be moving forward.

Household & health

Sure, in an ideal world I’d do a yoga class weekly. I’d a tidier house. I’d stay fit by going for jogs instead of the continual late-sprint for my train or pedalling home on my bike. I’d eat less processed food. I’d do washing in my spare time instead of when I’m looking after Jenson.

But these aren’t priority areas for me at the moment.

And that’s ok.

Motherhood

I recognise that Gregg is stepping up and caring for our boy more than I am at the moment. And it’s not just when I’ve been here on holiday – he’s stepped into a 50:50 role if not slightly more of the care role at times.

I’ve needed him to do so when I’ve reached burnout and felt like I had nothing left to give.

And that’s ok.

I’m allowed for parenthood to be 50:50 at this early stage despite every cultural bone in my body proclaiming that I should be the carer. I should have the bigger role in Jenson’s early years.

This is compounded by a noticing of how I’m less capable of staying in the role of the ‘perfect’ mum – I don’t have enough energy for it.

The reality is that Jenson spends time watching Netflix if he wakes before 6am and I often find quick fixes to entertain him as I balance the minimal amount of housekeeping and food prep I do around time looking after him.

All the while, a little voice in my head tells me that I should be engaged with his play 100% and should leave the other stuff. Should leave my needs.

But I can’t.

And so I accept the reality of what is.

Interdependencies

I notice that several of these areas are linked together. Motherhood, work and love all jostle for my time and one area reducing leads to a gain in another.

Likewise, rest and recuperation is met through travel (often to see friends) and provides time for me to seek a spiritual connection outside myself.

And my spiritual opening links to better health outcomes as I live with less anxiety and live more in my truth, which positively impacts my relationships with friend and family.

And so this wheel of life turns, ever adjusting for my awareness of it. Constantly dancing as I find space for that which I hold dear in my life.


Thanks to Nadine, who treated me to a night in the incredibly cool Carpenter Hotel, whose coffee I’ve been sipping while finishing these reflections.

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No more apologies

I’ve started to prioritise myself a bit more.

It started when I realised that I was carrying so much with work and motherhood, leaving no space for myself.

My mental health was suffering from not giving myself any room to breathe, to rest, to have joy in things that are my own.

And so I started to take the space I needed.

Thursday evenings are my own to rest, reflect, explore or connect with others and each month I take a longer period of time for myself. Whether that’s a night away or a longer time alone.

But I feel judgement – mostly self-judgement – about my motherhood not fitting into the archetypical experience of what is ‘should’ be.

And on some days, I feel brave and strong when I respond to the ‘don’t you miss him when you’re away from him’, the ‘don’t you feel guilty’ or the ‘I bet you’ll miss him when you’re on holiday’ with the truth.

That I don’t miss him all the time, I don’t feel guilty for taking time for myself and that sometimes I could do with more time alone.

And some other days I find it hard to step into the greater truth.

The truth motherhood hasn’t made me. It’s challenged me, pushed me, forged a new strength in me but it hasn’t been the bright star that has given me a purpose missing in my life before.  I was purposeful enough already.

The truth that I wasn’t made to be a mum, I’ve stepped into motherhood. And if anything I feel broken apart due to the stretching that comes with my universe having to encompass another person’s needs.

The truth that I find the routine of motherhood boring at times. The rhythms of my son wanting to spend hours playing with his cars, the 5:50am wake-ups and the splitting up conversations and connections as I rush over to him to keep him safe from a height, a surface or whatever trouble is just around the corner for him.

Don’t misunderstand me, my love for Jenson is as fierce as a lioness and I’m bowled over by the joy that he brings. Yet motherhood is not enough for me in itself.

I used to get mad at myself for not having it in me to fit into this perfect motherhood box.

And I used to feel a sense of failure about this all.

But now, instead of telling myself about all the ways that I’ve failed, I feel more angry with the world and our structures which set me up for failure.

The world makes it seem possible for us to have it all – work hard, parent hard – without the social structures around us to catch the bits that are impossible to do.

The world fails me.

The social constructs with attachment parenting talks about the vital importance of the mother to instil a wellbeing in the child. But where’s Gregg’s role in this model to comfort, to feed, to be our son’s centre of gravity until he finds his own?

Our models of understanding fail me.

Our very ways of being with each other as human beings which can polarise different views of motherhood – you only have to spend a moment on Facebook to witness this behaviour. Those who say ‘it’s not natural for children to be breastfed for so long’ and those who say ‘but have you really tried?’ when a mother decides to stop breastfeeding because it’s not working for her or her child.

Our inability to listen deeply to understand the other fails me.

Our expectation that social structures – from the patriarchal vision of ‘what women should be’ down to schooling which teaches the importance of external validation -passing exams – over following what lights you up.

Our society fails me.

And where does it leave me?

Set up to feel like a failure for not being able to be everything to everyone.

The story of my life, which would have, in years gone by, led me to just try harder feeling like the impossible was due to my ineptitude and would be solved if I only worked at it a bit more.

But instead I’m starting to walk a different way.

A way which challenges the ‘don’t you feel guilty’ by asking whether that’s a question that would be asked to a man…and if not, why should I be held to account for it?

A way where I declare, starting with this blog, that motherhood is an individual journey and no two are the same. I’m no less a ‘good’ mum because I want to work and find parts of the experience boring than a mum who wants to be the sole carer and is in rapture at everything their child does.

A way where I take more time for myself and don’t have to attribute it to how good it is for my son to see a strong woman taking time for herself. I do it because I want the time alone, I need the time alone. And that’s a good enough reason to take it.

I’m not going to apologise for my experience anymore.


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Almost a year

It’s been almost a year since I became a mum. Where has that time gone by?!

And as Jenson’s birthday approaches, I wanted to take some time to reflect on how these 11 and a half months have been for me…

Sleep

Ha, the first thing I think about because it’s the thing lacking the most in my life with Jenson on the scene!

How I wish I knew how easy I had it before Jenson came on the scene. Eight hours of interrupted sleep each night – on the weekends, I’d be well into the double digits of hours slept. Even when pregnant and I’d find myself waking at 3 or 4am, I’d have the time to myself to do whatever I wished. And the ability to snooze the evening away after work.

I go to bed most nights at 9pm and in truth I’m mostly in bed by 8:30pm, because otherwise I just don’t feel at my best.

But despite the early wake-ups, I can’t help but have a smile on my face when I see my cheeky chap beam at me first thing as if to say ‘good morning!’. He really makes the wake ups worthwhile.

But I’d love a few more hours of rest!

My worldview

I didn’t know that parenthood would change me so much. Sure, I thought that my priorities would change, but I didn’t think that it would change my whole worldview and leave me feeling adrift with the uncertainty of how I fitted into the world.

Hungry to do more and have more of an impact but not knowing how. Something I’m still pondering on now.

But things are more important than they were before Jenson came on the scene.

What we’re doing to our planet – the path we’re on which could ramp up to global annihilation.

The pain we’re inflicting on other living creatures through our drive for cheap and tasty food – dairy, meat, fish and eggs.

Our education system which doesn’t allow everyone to thrive.

Our social security net which is getting smaller and smaller with so many people left behind.

All the things I wrote about when Jenson was 8 months old (in this post here) is still true today.

Work

Before having Jenson, I wanted to climb the ladder, have a greater impact and (let’s be honest) get paid more money. I wanted a role such as Head of Organisational Development or perhaps was open to even moving sideways into another area and had started to believe that I could become the head of an organisation at some stage.

But this has changed for me since J-dog came on the scene.

With everything so stretched in my life right now, I can’t think of anything less appealing than taking on more responsibility.

I don’t mean that I want to do interesting work or stay in my role as it is forever. In fact, if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed with my relationship to work, it’s needing to be constantly challenged and to have the opportunity to do new and stretching things.

What I’m talking about is not wanting the greater volume of stuff to process. Huge volumes of emails, days spent in meetings and therefore having the pressure of working in the evening and at weekends.

That has no appeal to me.

I want to live.

I want to have a balanced life where I’m able to come home and forget work so I can be fully present with my family.

And maybe I’m doing myself a disservice by thinking that the two things are impossible, but I sort-of think that a greater workload comes with the territory when you move into a senior leadership role.

So, for the moment at least, my focus is on enabling myself to have opportunities for interesting scope within my role. Stretching myself and putting myself in the way of fascinating people and interesting possibilities.

And other things have changed with my relationship to work too – the hours and days I work. Before having Jenson, I thought that I’d be happy to go back to work full-time, but that hasn’t been the case.

I want more time with him.

Additional time where I don’t have to worry about doing the laundry or making food for the week.

Just time where we can be together, meet up with some friends who have babies the same age as Jenson and enjoy each other.

I’m lucky that I’m going to be able to compress my hours and return to work four days a week in the New Year. With my husband doing the same, we’ll be able to have a day each with our main man, Jenson, and significantly reduce the astoundingly high nursery bill.

Stepping into myself

Becoming a mum has propelled me forward in ways that I didn’t expect.

Some ways, I was expecting – like the desire to get my shit in order. Dropping the people pleasing so he doesn’t learn any of that. Embracing who I am and loving myself fully so he knows it’s ok to be happy and confident in yourself. Showing how I feel so that he learns that it’s ok to express a variety of emotions in a healthy way.

But I just didn’t expect how much further it would go.

I feel like I’m on the precipice of something amazing within.

Learning to accept and embrace all that I am. Stepping fully into my power and expressing myself without fear. Embracing conflict instead of shying away from it. All whilst simultaneously letting go of my notion of ‘self’ a little bit.

I don’t really have words for it. But I feel that something is coming.

Conflict

Up until now I hadn’t felt conflict in caring for my son. I’d adopted a mantra ‘family first’ to prioritise what I did in life and how I decided what to do.

I said ‘no’ to opportunities at work because it would mean cutting a family holiday short.

I let invitations pass me by when it wasn’t at the right time for Jenson.

I supported Gregg coming home late each Wednesday so he could have the release he needed in playing football with friends.

Gregg supported me in continuing to coach people because it was important for me to do something I loved so much.

But this nursery thing – leaving Jenson crying and bereft – has me conflicted. It’s the first time that it feels like family isn’t first.

What is first is my desire to have enough money to be able to have holidays, to have mental stimulation from my role, the ability to be able to eat out and have some spending money, to attend one of my closest friends wedding in Australia when it takes place – all things that would be stretched thin if we went down to one salary.

I know that Jenson would be fine without all those things – all he needs is Gregg and I to be present and to shower him with love.

But I want more and, even though I’m part of the family, it feels like everyone’s needs aren’t being put first.

I’m finding it hard currently to be at peace with these conflicting needs – of wanting to put family first but also wanting to have a life that I want.

And I think there will be a lot more juxtaposing needs and beliefs in the future – this is just a sign of things to come…

So it’s been wonderful, challenging, heart-warming, tough, brilliant, crazy, centring. It’s been the out-of-this-world best and most difficult year of my life.

And I wonder at this moment what the second year of Jenson’s life will bring…

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My ‘why’

I recently wrote about how I’ve been questioning and feeling in a state of uncertainty about so much in my life. I’ve been thinking about this and exploring it over the last few weeks and feel like I’ve made some headway in understanding what it’s all about.

This partly explains the reduction in my posts but now that I’m starting to form my thoughts, I’d like to share my them with you, dear friend, if that’s ok.

When I returned to work, I felt like something profound had changed in me. And, as I’ve shared in a previous post, nothing seemed to fit right. The work I was doing didn’t seem to suit me, the goals I was working to didn’t resonate anymore. It was hard to feel this way because, pre-maternity leave, I loved my role so very much and (although I was glad to step back the pace a bit before having my son) I was happy at the prospect of returning to my role six months later.

I asked myself why I felt so detached from work and I realised that it was because I wanted more. Not in a ‘I want more money/excitement/power’ way, but it suddenly was important for me to make a more profound mark on society.

To leave this world in a better state for Jenson.

I’m aware of so many things that seem to be broken in this world – our healthcare, education system, political system, the patriarchal framework of society – and I want him to grow up in a world with less inequality and more hope. I want to contribute to more.

And then I started reading a book during my morning commute to work and something shifted inside me – I started understanding what this ‘more’ might look like. The book is called ‘Presence‘ and talks about about how to bring around profound change in people, organisations and society. A topic that is so important to me. If I’m honest, reading this book has been deeply inspirational and profoundly encouraging, bringing together all that I discovered in my time at work before going on maternity leave and calling me into a new future, a new reality.

It has blown my mind and, having just finished it, I’m about to launch back in to read it for a second time and get some more wisdom and insight from its contents.

Instead of being a traditional ‘change’ book with models, frameworks, processes, talking about stakeholder engagement and communications, it talks about deepening our ability to be still to see what is truly happening, to bring about change not just using our head but also our hearts – using our full self. It goes so much further, becoming so aware of what’s going on that we can bring forward our highest Self (whether you call that God, the universe, your most wise self) to create the best possible future.

It sounds a bit ‘woo woo’ and I might have been more skeptical if not for having experienced moments with my highest Self in the past. When this has happened, I’ve sensed the right thing to do in that moment as if someone other than me was showing me the possible or I’ve just known what to say as if I’ve been tapped into the moment with acute clarity. Time has seemed to slow down in these moments. Do you know what I mean?

Since reading this book, I know that my work is all the tasks and objectives that I want to get done, but it’s so much more. It’s calling people into a place of stillness and reflection to be able to integrate the different parts of themselves. It’s about working on myself so I find a greater sense of stillness and an ability to see what is truly going on in any given situation. It’s about finding opportunities to give people a glimpse of what is possible.

And so while my work might draw me into the world of education, healthcare, feminism or something else in the future, I have found a contentment where I am. Giving myself permission to call people into stillness, finding a more regular connection with my higher Self, showing those I meet that we have such greater capacity to create the world anew if we would only stop, listen, and be truly present.

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Work

I feel like I’ve been zapped back in time to six months ago when I left work to go on maternity leave. Standing here on the train platform waiting to travel to Worthing once more for work, I feel like nothing has changed…and yet so much has happened.

❤️ I’ve kept a human being alive and safe from harm for a whole six months.

❤️ I’ve changed immeasurably in terms of what I want from life and my determination to be boundaried with my life to get it.

❤️ I’ve had my patience stretched, my heart expand and no doubt my hair has become a shade more silver from the sleeplessness of early parenthood.And yet I’m still me. I still have the same love of my work. Still feel up for the challenges and opportunities daily life will bring my way. Still have ambition for what I can achieve and the impact I can make in my organisation. As I’m sat here (now on the train), I question whether these two ‘Amys’ can exist peacefully side-by-side. The fierce mother bear and the passionate worker. And here’s what springs to mind for me when I ask that question -Many women have done this before and so there’s no reason why I can’t too.I have a fantastic husband who is taking his first steps as main carer for our son so I have the right support to make this work. My first weeks are going to be full of trial and error. Leaving work at a sensible time to get home to my boys when I could stay later. Switching off my personal phone so I can focus on the task at hand at work. Being realistic about what I can achieve in the time I have. Being ok if I have to come home late every once-in-a-while.The thing that these two Amys have in common is passion. Passion for family and passion for work. So they’re not different people, they just have a different focus. So there you are, I’ve not got many answers but I’m ok with that. I’ll take it as it comes. Whatever happens, I’m going back to work and I’m going to trust that all will be well.

Good enough

I’m currently sat in the kitchen with the mess of unpacking from our family mega-adventure around me and am thinking about the imminent changes in my life. The main one being that I’m going back to work in less than a week (less than a week!!!!!!!!), leaving my son in my husband’s care.

Geez, where did those six months go?! Six months which, at times, felt interminable. Six months that I loved and struggled with and where I poured my heart and soul into this new little creature of mine.

As I’m sat here contemplating the upcoming changes to my life, the one thing that sticks in my mind is ‘your best needs to be good enough’.

This thought has been milling around for a while. Since I wrote the post about not feeling I could call myself a vegan anymore because of the leather sandals I bought myself in a pre-travel frantic dash around town and the eggs I eat. I was so grateful by the replies I received from people who read this blog of mine saying that I was being to hard on myself and reminding me that being vegan is about attempting to exclude animal exploitation as much as possible (that’s how the Vegan Society defines a vegan lifestyle).

And I found myself face-to-face with my perfectionism. Again. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Judging myself unless I am able to reach a standard of perfection. Which is impossible as I am human, not super-human.

What if I hadn’t bought those sandals and didn’t eat those eggs? I’d probably have realised that a medication I’ve taken wasn’t vegan and be in the same situation of not being perfect and therefore not being good enough.

But my best needs to be good enough.

And this thought that ‘my best needs to be good enough’ again came to mind when I saw the below Brené Brown quote and remembered all the times at work where I was secretly weighed down in the pit of my stomach with fear and shame for not having done something ‘well enough’ (when I had done my best in the given circumstance).

Times when my plans haven’t gone as well as they could or I’ve received difficult feedback from something I put my heart into. I want my best to be good enough in those circumstances.

As I find myself on the cusp of going back to work, I know this needs to change. Now being a mother and pulled in different directions – wanting to give my all to my jobs (both my full-time Organisational Development role and my work with coaching clients), having great friends I want to stay in touch with, writing this blog and wanting to be home as soon as possible to spend time with my son and husband – I know that my best needs to be good enough.

So I will remind myself of this on the days I leave work with not everything done. If I’m home late sometimes or I miss any milestones for Jenson. When I leave texts to friends unanswered for longer than I’d like. When I haven’t posted anything here for over a week.

I’ll be doing my best and that has to be good enough.

And in this spirit, I’m going to leave this post here. I know it’s not the most brilliant post, I could review my words and make it more eloquent. But with the time I’ve got, this is my best, and that’s enough. ❤️

The start of the start

I went into work yesterday to take part in my team’s away day. Before I went back over to my place of work, I have to admit, I was in a bit of a rotten mood. I realised that this was down to nerves and anxiety that I was experiencing in contemplating my return to the workplace. There were so many things going through my mind.

  • How Gregg, my husband, would find the day with Jenson
  • Whether my team would be accepting of me feeding Jenson during the day (and subsequently whether expressing milk at work is going to be problematic for my workload when I return to work or stifling for my career if I’m unable to attend certain meetings in order to express at the right time).
  • How my team would be with me – would they would prefer my amazing maternity cover to stay and be reluctant to have me back in the office
  • Would I be happy going back or would I realise that only taking 6 months of maternity leave (and my husband taking the remaining 6 months) was a big mistake

It’s not surprising to feel all these things – I’ve been away from the office for 4 months, my world has completely changed and things at the office have also moved on. At the start of the day, going back into work felt like the beginning of the end of my time with Jenson and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

But then we arrived in Worthing, where my work is based, and I felt like I was coming back home to something. I was reminded that the feelings I associate with work are really positive ones – feeling free to forge on ahead with my work without having to jump through loads of bureaucratic hoops, having the respect of those around me, the fun I’ve had whilst getting a load of work done in the office, my colleagues who supported me throughout the lead-up to my maternity leave, the happy anticipation I felt on the last day of work that I would be back in 6 months and able to pick up the work that I know is so vital – both to my organisation and to me.

I thrive at work. It’s a hugely important part of my life.

And so I realised that it wasn’t the beginning of the end, but the beginning of a new start. A start which I will have to navigate differently now that I have a baby and more responsibilities at home, where I will need to establish some boundaries about what I need as a mother returning to work. But a good start where I can continue to forge ahead with my work and my career.

And it feels good. I can’t wait to get back.

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