I’ve just started a new job. And I love it. This is unusual for me as it hasn’t always been the case of late. I should state that this blog is not written in response to me starting this job, the creative seed for this idea was planted long before. If you’re not enjoying your work, then going back to it on a Monday morning can be tough. Let alone returning after a long stint away – say travelling or maternity leave. And it got me to thinking how similar the experience is for both. What say those of you who are lucky enough to have done both? Not convinced? Let me attempt to change your mind…
You get The Fear
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.
You have to Leave behind your beloved
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, comforting, an extraordinary random encounter, precious time, experiences unlike any other on Earth. All of these things can tug at the heart strings and pile on the guilt of being wherever it is you think you should be.
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.
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 and travelling or nurturing a tiny human life should enhance your character, confidence and credentials and make you better – if anything – at your job. Unfortunately not all companies see it this way, but it’s high time they did!
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 after work, or the gym. Maybe you ended up going out after that and ended up clubbing in your netball kit before staggering home. 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. Plus partying until the early hours if you are lucky enough to find a babysitter will come back and bite you in the ass. You also need to pack the little one’s bag each day, dress them and make sure there’s food in the house. It’s essential to prepare for all eventualities in advance so that you can make it out the door on time. The lack of strict schedule you had whilst travelling or during maternity leave, can often make returning to work a great shock to the system.
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, the thought process – “well we’ll probably never come back here again…”. On maternity leave, there are alway baby clothes that are just too cute to resist, childcare fees, a wagonload of different teats you simply must try to encourage your baby to take a bottle…either way you’ll never have enough money.
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 working adults it doesn’t take long for the buzz to dissipate leaving behind a gnawing sense of life goes on without you. No matter how incredible your life away from work has been, everyone else has their own things going on and don’t always want to hear what you’ve been doing whilst they’ve been in the office!
This post was inspired by The Travel Hack’s brilliant post ‘How being pregnant is a lot like travelling‘. Check out her amazing blog for more mama-related musings on travel.