The Last Day: Returning to work after maternity leave

the last day

This is it. After over 13 months of maternity leave I return to my job as a Modern Languages teacher tomorrow (we go back to school crazy early here in Scotland!). Although I’ve been off work for over a year it feels like the time to go back has come round so quickly. It wasn’t helped by the fact that a month ago I still didn’t have a job to go back to – it was only two weeks ago that I interviewed for and was offered a new job in a new school and with a different council, so the end of maternity leave hasn’t been entirely stress-free!

I have such mixed emotions about going back to work – on the one hand I’m looking forward to going back to work. I enjoy my job (most of the time!) and I’m looking forward to doing something that involves using a bit more brain power for a change. And I got to buy some new clothes too. But on the other hand, I’m going to miss Toby so much. It makes me so sad to think someone other than me will be looking after him. And because he’s going to nursery full-time he’s actually going to be spending more time with the people at nursery than he is with me and Barry. I know though, that he’s going to get so much out of being there and playing with all the other babies. He’s had three settling in sessions this week; we went for an hour last week and I stayed with him and then he was there on his own for two hours on Monday, three hours on Tuesday and then a full day (7am-4:30pm) on Wednesday as a proper practice for what we’ll be doing next week.

And I’m relieved to say he seems to have taken to it remarkably well. I was quite worried about it as no-one has ever looked after Toby except me and Barry (apart from a couple of times when we’ve been out in the evening but that’s always been after he’s been in bed). He’s been fine at nursery though – we did pick up a very tired and slightly grumpy boy on Tuesday when they couldn’t get him to have a nap but he managed two naps on Wednesday (albeit much shorter ones than he would have at home) so I’m hopeful that he’ll settle into a routine soon enough. He’s been eating well at least and they managed OK with his cloth nappies too, although I might have to give them a few more fitting lessons yet!

So, it seems Toby is going to be all right at nursery so that just leaves me. For the fourth time in five years I will be starting the new year at a new school. I really wish I was going back to the school I was at before my maternity leave. It was a small school and I knew most of the kids and had fitted in well with all the teachers and other staff too. It’s always hard to start a new job but as a teacher you don’t get any time to settle in and find your feet. Fortunately the first day is in-service day so at least I’ll have chance to see what classes I’m teaching and find my way about a bit but from Tuesday I have to be on it. I need to at least pretend I know what I’m doing from the very beginning or it’ll take months to get the kids to accept me. There are so many things to learn going to a new school. Every school seems to have a different way of doing things, from where the pencils are kept, to what you need to do to get a brew at break time! I know it’ll all be fine in a couple of weeks but for now, I’m really not looking forward to that aspect of starting my new job.

The only other thing then, that I’m trying not to worry about, is that my new job means that both me and Barry will be working on the other side of the Forth Road Bridge to where we live, and more importantly on the other side to Toby’s nursery. In severe weather the bridge can be closed, or if there is an accident or breakdown this can cause massive delays so I’m really worried in case we both get stuck on the wrong side of the bridge and we can’t collect Toby. Not having any family near by means there isn’t anyone we can call on in an emergency. At a push my friend Claire could probably get him but she has her own twins to look after too. Hopefully it will never come to that, but it doesn’t stop it being something that is going to sit at the back of my mind. Before having Toby I never would have thought that going to work could involve so much stress and worry.

So anyway, it’s going to be a big change for us all over the next few weeks, and I have a feeling that blogging is going to have to take a bit of a back seat for a while. Don’t worry though, I’ll still be around and I’ll try to post a few updates when I can. If anyone has any tips for combining a full-time job with being a mum then please do let me know, I think I’m going to need all the help I can get!