return to work

Going Back To Work: Am I Making The Right Choice?

I woke up this morning in tears. I lay there, in bed, having just completed our first wake up of the night and stared at the ceiling. My baby, who used to need me every couple of hours, had just slept a solid 9.5hrs and gone down again, my husband was fast asleep next to me and it was just me. Wide awake.

Am I making the right choice?

It echoed around my head over and over. This week marks my return to the office. I’m going back to work properly. It means leaving my baby for two and a half days with others. It marks the start of a new stage for us as a family. It’s the end of an era. Albeit a little one. We won’t get to repeat it. If I take maternity leave again, it won’t be just me and him. It’ll be me, him and a new baby. A littler one. He won’t be the only baby in my life.

I say baby. He’s not a baby anymore. He doesn’t lie there, staring into space in a constant haze of eat, sleep, poo, repeat. He’s in to everything, exploring the world constantly. If there’s something happening, he wants to be there, even if he’s exhausted. He’s chatty; repeating “car, car” over and over. He eats adult food, he plays with his toys, he moves faster than the speed of light. He’s not a baby. He’s a boy.

Am I making the right choice?

I want to keep him tiny and safe with me forever but I can’t. I have to hold myself back from holding him back. I know that by putting him into nursery I’m allowing him the opportunity to play all day with people who aren’t distracted by household chores, by preparing lunches, by all the things that need doing. I know that by allowing him to spend time with his grandparents, he’ll develop a stronger relationship with them and bring a new dynamic into their lives, something I passionately want him to have.

Only, I’ll miss him.

I’ll miss my shadow, my mini-me, my bestie. I want him to be happy but a selfish part of me wants him to not be as happy as he is with me. Which I know in my heart is both true and untrue at the same time. Does it make me a bad parent to think that, even fleetingly? Does it make me a poor mother to worry that he’ll love me less?

Am I making the right choice?

I want to go back to work. I never saw myself as a stay at home parent. I never had the patience for it, I crave adult interaction too much. I want to use the skills I worked so hard to get, be the old me for a moment, someone other than mummy.

But now I’m going back into the office, I don’t want to. I want to stay home yet the thought of it makes me feel sick. I feel sick if I do and sick if I don’t. We can manage if I don’t but we can’t live in the same way that we’re used to. Our mortgage, our lifestyle, all the little added extras and the comfort of knowing that we don’t need to be counting every penny would be put under incredible strain. We could cope but we would just be coping, not living.

Am I making the right choice?

What if I’m compromising on everything? What if I’m not giving my all to my job or my family? Am I going to be thinking about work constantly whilst I’m at home? Am I going to be regretting the time away from my shadow when I’m at work? What if I’ve made the wrong decision? What if I’m doing it all wrong?

I woke up this morning in tears. I lay there, in bed, having just completed our first wake up of the night and stared at the ceiling. My baby who used to need me every couple of hours had just slept a solid 9.5hrs and gone back down, my husband was fast asleep next to me and it was just me.

Wide awake.


  • Nicola 8th January 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Awww Hayley.

    You are definitely making the right decision. It’s going to be great for him to go to nursery to learn new skills and spend more time with his grandparents. You will get back into the swing of things in work and you will make the days you do get to spend together that much more special.

    I wish you the best of luck for your return to the office. I will be thinking of you xx

    • DevonMamaOnline 8th January 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Nicola. I know it’s the right choice for us for all those reasons but right now it feels so confusing! I know this time next week I’ll be absolutely fine and I guarantee he’ll have a whale of a time with all of them having far more time to focus on him than I do. It’s gone so fast, feels like another step in him growing up quicker than I can deal with x

  • Matty Lewis 8th January 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Reading this I can feel your pain, I may not have that mother/child bond but I have become used to being around my boy during paternity. I don’t want to leave him and miss out on milestones.

    The only comfort I can offer is that without things like work life would become a real struggle. Work hard, play hard.

    A great post.

    • DevonMamaOnline 8th January 2017 at 10:45 pm

      My husband hated the end of paternity leave, everything for him had changed and yet for those at work nothing had. It’s just as hard for the guys, you just have to deal with it earlier!
      The milestones bit is awful, although incredibly everything has happened on the weekends so far so hopefully it continues to and for you too. Thanks for reading

  • Nicola 8th January 2017 at 11:17 pm

    This is exactly how I feel too ( except you have articulated it a million times better than I ever could). I woke up on 1st January in mourning that 2016 was over as I was returning to work in 2017. I didn’t leave the house for 5 days last week, I want to soak up every moment I can and not share my little bestie. It’s heart wrenching – I get you being wide awake and upset too. My little one used to hold my finger when he came in to my bed at 6am and go back to sleep. Now he won’t hold my finger and I had a little cry about it!

    I hate the fact you feel sad, but it makes me relieved to know this is normal to feel this way. You cant think about the 2.5 days he isnt with you, think of the 4.5 he will be.and the fact that you’re fortunate to have 4.5, for many other parents it is the other ratio.


    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 11:01 am

      Thanks lovely. It’s such a tough feeling isn’t it. I know that it’s the right decision and that it’s best for us. I know I’m really lucky to be doing it for half the week and not the whole week. And I love watching him grow up into a proper little character but at the same time, I miss my baby and the time we got to spend just us snuggled up!! No-one tells you being a mum is this hard at times, just the emotions are cray cray. Sometimes I find myself crying at things that pre-baby me would just be laughing at now! Thanks for the love, love x

  • Jaymee Heaton 9th January 2017 at 9:51 am

    It can be really difficult to return to work especially after maternity/paternity leave, but try to think of the positives. It may help make the transition a little easier for you. Good luck!

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 10:59 am

      Thanks Jaymee, I’m clinging to the fact that it’ll be good for him, good for me and make me appreciate that time with him even more. Plus with the money we’re getting we can continue to save for our extension and home renovating… totally worth it to give him somewhere lovely to grow up in! Thanks for reading

  • Abbie 9th January 2017 at 10:11 am

    Oh, I just want to give you a massive hug! Going back to work is one of the biggest things once you’ve had a baby, as a mum you feel so much guilt (a word which I’m always using when talking about motherhood!), it’ll take a little time to settle but you wait until you start reaping the rewards of being missed. I love the hugs and smiles I get when I pick my boys up from my mums, and sometimes they’re waiting, waving at the window for me.

    I just take one day at a time, and it makes it easier!

    Good luck on your return to work xxx


    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 10:57 am

      Thanks Abbie, I know it’ll be fine once I’m back in the swing of things but motherhood really is 90% guilt isn’t it?! I’m sat at home now juggling work and blogging whilst I count down the seconds until I can go and get my mini-me! I can’t wait for that bit where he waves at me!! Thanks for hosting x

  • Katy Stevens 9th January 2017 at 11:56 am

    Oh bless you! I am sure it is a completely normal thing to worry about – whatever is right for your family if the right choice. Think of all the nice things you can do on days off with your salary! Take care x

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:12 pm

      I hope so! Exactly, if I wasn’t working we’d be at home together all day but literally staring at our unfinished house!! I don’t want to be in that position at the moment! Thanks for reading

  • Kat (Confessions of a Working Mum) 9th January 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I wrote a blog almost exactly identical to this. Going back to work is why I started blogging to try and connect with people who had already been through it. All the conflicting emotions, the guilt (self imposed), the worry…. We’re six months into me being back at work now and we’ve adapted to the changes. Everyone is happy. Little lady loves nursery and is thriving, I like being back at work and feel like the old me again if a little sleep deprived (lucky you on the sleep through – we’ve yet to reach that milestone….) I think the anticipation is worse than actually doing it. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one feeling this way though isn’t it? Hang in there. You will all be absolutely fine. #PostsFromTheHeart

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Ahh thank you!! It IS nice knowing it’s not just you – I’m the worst for believing it’s me and only me that’s struggling! I’m glad to hear it’s going so well for you guys, I think it will be the making of us too. He’s an independent little boy already so I’m hoping nursery suits that side of him (so far so good!) and I really hope it helps me to re-find myself outside of motherhood… I think I’m more than a little lost at the moment and caught up in the parent bubble! Thanks for your lovely words of support. x

  • Mummy Times Two 9th January 2017 at 1:15 pm

    What an utterly beautiful and relatable post. I have sat and had all of these thoughts and like you ultimately come up with a compromise of working part time. I think Motherhood comes with choices we’ve can never prepare ourselves for, and this is one of them. There is no right or wrong, no magic formula – I wish there was. I know like you when the time comes to go back, I will be the one lying awake – torn between him getting the opportunities he would without me and the ones he would get with me. Sending love and hopes that whatever decision you make it will be one that makes you both happy. Thank you so much for joining us at #PostsFromTheHeart

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks for your lovely words! I think it’s just a matter of giving it all a go and seeing what works! Making a decision is really difficult as there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. Enjoy the time you have off and thanks for hosting x

  • Jacinta 9th January 2017 at 1:16 pm

    There’ll always be a bit of a battle in our hearts, I guess. You do the best with what you have. 🙂

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:11 pm

      I agree. And we are so lucky to have had the time and be able to only go back part time as well! Thanks for reading

  • Amy @ The Smallest Of Things 9th January 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Oh Hayley I remember all these feelings well! It is one of the toughest decisions but I promise you it gets easier 🙂 that being said I’m dreading doing it for the second time! Good luck on your return to work 🙂 ox

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:15 pm

      I hope so!! I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll be singing the praises of all the ME time and wondering how I ever coped without adult interaction!! Enjoy your time off.. as you know it FLIES by! x

  • Fran Back With A Bump 9th January 2017 at 1:30 pm

    It’s so tough and I write this having just sent Poppy to nursery for the first day. I am at home, working and my husband is also home today as on nights and he’s itching to get her back at 5pm! It’s such a tough choice, I never wanted to be a SAHM but equally they’re little for such a short time and I now know how precious this time is. But then I have a good job and financial freedom. Aggghhh! Hope you reach the right decision, for me, it’s try and see what happens. Thanks for joining #marvmondays

    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:10 pm

      That’s exactly it, over and over with the pros and cons of each side! I’m sure once I’m back in the swing of things it’ll be great for all of us but for now it just feels a bit wrong. Definitely a case of trying it, seeing how I feel after a few months and re-assessing at that point. Thanks for stopping by

  • Lindsey 9th January 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I can honestly say I felt the exact same way! For 9 months, longer if you count when they were win your tummy it was just you and your little person. But I assure you I went back for 3 days a wee and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I can safely assure you, its great for the you and the baby!


    • DevonMamaOnline 9th January 2017 at 2:19 pm

      This is exactly what I need to hear!! I think it’ll be great for us it’s just getting through all the guilt and the getting back into the routine of things first… tomorrow is our first morning with his Dad taking him to nursery and me leaving the house mega early so I’m hoping it all goes smoothly and I’ll be counting down the moments until pick up! Thanks for your support! x

  • Jo - Mother of Teenagers 9th January 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I feel your pain. You won’t regret it! I went back after my eldest was born 18 years ago (eek!) because I loved my career and absolutely knew I would be rubbish at being at home. I didn’t give up work until after my second child five years later – things were different by then and even now I still have pangs of regret BUT the most important thing to remember is your feelings will change continuously. You are not neglecting him. He is being looked after by professionals and he will benefit and you will be a better parent to him for doing what you want for you! You are an individual too with needs not just a mum. Good luck! It won’t be easy but you will be fine and so will he. #postsfromtheheart

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Thanks for your lovely words! Even after a few days back, I’m feeling better about it being right for us. I love my job, I think now the issue is how to get the right balance of not overcommitting and ruining the days I have off with my mini-me. I feel like motherhood is one massive emotional rollercoaster – nobody warned me it would be like this!! Thanks for reading x

  • Angela Watling 9th January 2017 at 8:52 pm

    This is such a difficult time for a mum. I remember really having doubts as the end of my maternity leave approached. Suddenly something I had been SO sure about for months and months was put under scrutiny in my mind. But my daughter settled in nursery, I got back to work and a new normal formed. My daughter got more and more active, to the extent where I became relieved she was going there 3 days a week to do different things and keep her stimulated. And I got my adult interaction and to use my long-earned skills.

    It’s not easy; there are compromises everyday and I am still learning to accept almost a year on that my ability to ‘climb the ladder’ is hindered for now. But I’m still growing and learning in my role at work whilst spending valuable time with my child. (I wrote a post on my experiences 10 months in if you are interested:

    All the best with your return to work. It will be mentally and physically tiring to begin with. But just give yourself a break and let you, your son and your family adjust. After 2 – 3 month you’ll start to hit your stride! #MarvMondays

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:38 pm

      It’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one who feels like this. Already a couple days in though, I feel more confident that we’ve made the right decision for us and he seems to be settling well into nursery. I completely agree with the climbing the ladder bit, I feel like I have to take a step off at the moment and in some ways that makes me jealous of my husband for not having to make the same decision. Will pop over and have a read but in the meantime, thanks for your lovely comment, it really does mean the world to me to get comments and support like this!

  • Kirsty 9th January 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Beautiful post! It is tough but your making the right decision, it’s hard but it’ll work out in the long run!

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you!! After the first couple of days, I think we’ll get there, we just need to get in to a routine again!! I can’t believe it, I was so career driven before hand, I never expected to feel like this!! Thanks for reading x

  • CHARLOTTE ZEALEY 10th January 2017 at 8:55 am

    You are making the right decision believe me, I did not go back to work well uni till a year after having Jess which meant I didn’t think I could leave her. Since September I can not believe how much she has changed and has developed I believe this is down to nursery she is so much more advanced compared to some children I see and is currently learning to feed herself. We all have doubts at times don’t forget I am always here if you need to chat.

    Charlotte x

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks lovely, I know deep down that we are and it’s so much easier doing it now than when he’s a little older!! I think he’s changed just in the last few days of going!! My M-I-L works in a school and says you can always tell those that have been to nursery as they’re more confident and socially equipped so hopefully he’ll get that out of it too. Thanks for reading x

  • Life as Mum 10th January 2017 at 11:24 am

    Oh bless you! I was lucky as my first job, my daughter was able to come with. I worked in a nursery. I decided to quit it 2 and half years later when I gave birth to my second daughter because we had moved further and the childcare was expensive. I work from home now.
    I am looking forward to that time when I can go out to work as I love adult company but I also love my own company too. I love the peace haha but I have a 6 month old baby now and my other two are in school full-time.

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:13 pm

      That is lucky although I think I would never get anything done if I took him to work!! It’s hard finding the balance between your own and other adults company, hopefully this will work out to be the perfect balance for us!

  • Crummy Mummy 10th January 2017 at 2:32 pm

    It’s so hard but I do think it’s good to have time to miss each other too. Having something else definitely makes me a better mum – good luck! #postsfromtheheart

    • DevonMamaOnline 11th January 2017 at 8:12 pm

      It definitely does that!! It’s been lovely seeing him again at the end of a long day, think it makes you stop taking it for granted!

  • Becci - The UnNatural Mother 12th January 2017 at 9:40 am

    I wrote a similar post 4 months ago when i went back to work 4 days a week. There is no wrong or right answer and it’s better to try something and it not work than regret not trying. My job involves travelling and overnight stays and do i find it hard and a daily juggling act , yes , but like you i am used to the extra comforts bringing a wage in lets me have. I hope one day soon my blog will allow me to work less hours but thats in the future. For now my kids are settled in nursery & school and i will soldier on. Thats the best i can do. #PostsFromTheHeart

    • DevonMamaOnline 12th January 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Wow, I don’t think I could cope with overnight stays at the moment so all power to you! I agree, it’s best to give it a go and then atleast I can say I’ve tried it! In actual fact, I really enjoyed being back in the office, I think it’s going to be the not thinking about work when I’m off and vice versa bit that I find the most difficult. Will keep my fingers crossed that you can take blogging to the next level soon! X

  • Mrs Mummy Harris 12th January 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I went back to work this week also, and to be honest I’ve been so desperate to go back and it was only waiting for my rendundancy decision that made me spend an extra two months at home. I couldnt handle the lack of brainskills being used, Ben is so full on as he is such an independant little boy which is amazing, but to have that day in day out was getting to me and I know I wasnt being the best mum for him.
    Sometimes we need a break from them to not only appreciate them, but it also helps them learn you wont always be by their side so when they go to nursery or school they can be prepared already.
    Hope you’re doing ok being back in the office

    • DevonMamaOnline 12th January 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks lovely! It actually went quite well, when I was there I felt completely like old me and everything was full steam ahead but now I’m back at home I feel that confusion again – think it will take some getting used to!! I know, I think it’s good for them to see us work and to understand that we’re not always there but we do always come back! Atleast, that’s what I tell myself! Plus today I allowed myself to just snuggle in with him for his nap and make the most of it rather than racing around doing jobs, I’ve missed him and I want to enjoy those moments as they’ll pass far too quickly! x

  • Stacey Spruels 15th January 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I was totally the same with both of mine. I have found you appreciate the time you do get together, and is more precious. Plus does the kids a world of good too having time away and getting used to other children. My 7 year old went straight into school no problems. We have been lucky as the times they have gone to nursery, we have managed not to miss first step, first crawl etc which has been a bonus

    Stacey xxx

    • DevonMamaOnline 16th January 2017 at 9:23 pm

      That’s so good to hear. He seems to be settling in really well, greeted me with a big grin today and was happy and playing before he realised I was there! My M-I-L works at a school and swears that you can tell the nursery go-ers due to their social skills and confidence.. I hope thats the case!

  • Michelle Gant 20th January 2017 at 12:52 pm

    This totally resonated with me and reminded me of when I went back to work. The worry. The fear. The ache in my heart. The guilt. And also the desire to work. After a while, the fog cleared and I worked our what was right for me and my family – and it’s not quite the same as before but it’s definitely working. You will find your way out the fog – and you’re not alone. x

    • DevonMamaOnline 20th January 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for your lovely words! It’s been a real shock to the system, I’m not sure just yet if it’s a good one or not. I miss my little boy but at the same time some time away from being mummy is nice too!!

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