If you’re not enjoying your work, then going back to it can be tough, let alone returning after a long stint away – say after travelling or maternity leave. And it got me to thinking -having been lucky enough to have done both – how similar coming back from maternity leave is like returning from travelling…
1. You get ‘The Fear’ about returning to work
Travelling often instils a blissfully oblivious, skewed sense of reality. Sleep deprivation will do the same. As your return date beckons, notions of the real world start to seep into your cosy bubble and the nagging knock of responsibility floods your bones. Whether you’re coming back from several months backpacking around the world or returning to work after maternity leave, the fear of setting alarms and being required to make your brain function in a responsible-employee-type-way are enough to turn tight knots in your tum.
2. You have to leave behind your beloved when you return to work
In both instances you must leave behind your beloved pride and joy to sit at a desk all day. Gazing out the window, you may think of the things you are missing…first steps, an unforgettable sunset, first words, first skydive, cuddles, a random encounter, experiences unlike any other on Earth. All can tug at the heart strings and pile on the guilt of being wherever it is you think you should be.
3. You realise money and work aren’t the most important things in your life
Where once you may have agonised over your career or your salary, you realise happiness comes from the people in your life and the experiences you have. Yes money helps ease the pressure but your priorities change, and you see life and work differently after coming back from travels or after having a baby.
4. You worry about your job
Saying all that, everyone needs an income, so of course employment features in your thoughts. Maybe you took a sabbatical, quit your job or took a year off to look after a baby, the question is, will your employers take you back? Surely going away travelling or nurturing a tiny human should enhance your character, time-keeping, confidence and multi-tasking skills, making you better at your job when you return.
5. You have to plan your time more thoroughly
Before children, you may have rolled out of bed before work as late as possible, stopped for a coffee on the way, gone for drinks with friends afterwards – oh the freedom! With a baby there’s not just you to get from A to B anymore, being late for nursery can incur hefty fees and spontaneous childcare can be tricky. The lack of schedule you had while travelling or during maternity leave, can often make returning to work a great shock to the system.
6. You have no money
Whether you think you’ve saved enough for travelling, there are always posh hotels to treat yourself to, that extra cocktail for a special occasion… On maternity leave, there are always baby clothes that are just too cute to resist, childcare fees, a wagonload of different teats you must buy to encourage your baby to take a bottle…either way you’ll never have enough money.
7. Once you’ve done the first day, it’ll feel like you were never away
Once you’ve got over the initial novelty of emails, being in an office and talking to other adults, everyone else has their own things going on and don’t always want to hear what incredible things you’ve been doing while they’ve been in the office!