Experiences of 2020

Louise - Professional Sport

I always knew I would not be a stay at home mum. I greatly admire those who choose to, or have to, but I always knew it would not be for me. I have always enjoyed the pressure and the deadlines of my work and thrive on the environment in what is a very male dominated workplace. So when my maternity leave ended in July 2019, I went back to work willingly. When lockdown, and then furlough, came I was left feeling more than a little bereft.

I was returned to the role of primary caregiver with little else to discuss than the daily habits of my not quite two year old, something I thought I had left behind 8 months before. Then I felt ungrateful that I wasn’t “enjoying the time” I had been given, like people suggested I should. Then I felt sad. And then angry that my husband, my colleagues, my sister were all still working, contributing and I was not. Except I was - in an abstract way. My husband reassured me “but you’re very important to me, and to the little man”. Which would help, in a way. And bring on the guilt.

I’ve found mumguilt lies in almost every turn. Go back to work. Stay at home. Feed him like this. Enjoy doing that. Lockdown added a whole new layer – the “I’m not doing enough’s”. Enough drawing or baking or messy play. Too much TV. Not enough variety in interaction.

But after 4 months, I must admit that dropping him off at nursery was tough. I had been relaxed, relieved even, the first time I had returned to work. But now it seemed harder. Like the end of a break in life, something that doesn’t come along very often.

It seems even the most ardent working mum may need a little help in readjusting to a work setting so I would urge people to be aware of this and make sure that on their return to work they feel useful again. Feel included in the office environment so that the imposter syndrome they most almost certainly feel as a mother doesn’t creep into their working life as well.

I will miss seeing all the leaps in development my child makes, more than I thought I would. But I am glad to be involved in my own life again.