Week 31 – back to work?

The inevitable return to work has been playing on my mind a lot recently. The more time I spend with Reindeer, the less I want to go back.

Over the last few days we’ve been swimming, out for dinner as a family, attended playgroups and generally had a lovely time. If we didn’t need two wages in the household I would be crazy to give up any of this.

In order to get some control over things, I emailed my line manager requesting that we meet to plan my return. It may seem a little early but I don’t need the stress of unexpected news.

Today was meeting day.

My husband took a big chunk out of his day to come with me and bring Reindeer too, so they could catch up with my colleagues as well as providing me with moral support (and so we didn’t have to worry about me not being there to breastfeed Reindeer).

Although I was hugely stressed on the way to work, it turns out I didn’t need to be. My line manager was fabulous; she has twice returned from maternity leave herself and so was very practical and reassuring about how things could work.

There were three bits of good news for me:

  1. I have accrued 9 weeks of annual leave/closure days/bank holidays which HR recommend I add on to the end of my 12 months of maternity leave. The best part is that it will be paid at my normal rate – hurrah! This means I don’t need to return until after the summer 🙂
  2. My manager is happy to be flexible about my agile working request – we can try different working patterns until we find one which suits me and the team. This is a huge relief as I’ve heard so many stories of parents trying to return to work but having to quit because their employer isn’t prepared to be flexible
  3. There are plenty of projects coming up and I can have a large degree of choice over what I come back to. This is likely to work well as I don’t want the large development projects just now. Much as they are the most exciting ones, and I really love having something challenging to work on, I just don’t need that level of stress. The plus side is that the quieter ones are very likely to be compatible with the sort of working patterns we discussed and I’m unlikely to be competing with colleagues for them. Hurrah, again!

Having found considerable peace of mind in this conversation, it was time to catch up with folk. I have some lovely colleagues and it was great to meet up with a few of them over the next hour. Reindeer was a lot of fun – interested in all of them, squeaking and talking and generally being as adorable as only babies can be. When the weather is a bit more conducive we’re going to head over one lunchtime for a picnic and proper chat which I’m really looking forward to.

Now it is time to spend a few days playing with the numbers to try and work out what the optimal working pattern is likely to be for me so that we can start getting plans in place. At the same time we need to work with Reindeer on drinking from a cup – he’s never had a bottle in his life so this is proving quite challenging! Until he is able to hydrate himself from something other than me, I won’t be going anywhere…

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