“I’m Not Ready to go Back to Work”

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back to work after baby

You are asleep upstairs in your cot, surrounded by your snugglies and looking beautiful. If I could lay next to you I would, but instead I have to make do with watching you sleep on the baby monitor.

I am downstairs, desperately trying to hold back the tears. It’s not working. I’m hurting. My heart feels heavy and sad and I’m over-run with emotion. Emotion that many people don’t seem to understand.

Next week is our last full week together before I return to work.

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Maternity leave has come to an end and life has to change.

But there is a problem. A rather big problem. You see, I’m not ready. I’m not ready to share you. I’m not ready to miss a moment with you.

I’m not ready to give up even an hour of our day. I want things to stay exactly how they are. Forever. I want to capture this moment in time and keep it just exactly as it is.

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But I can’t. And that is hard and it hurts.

Our year has been beyond words amazing. We have spent almost every moment of it together. And most of that time it’s been just the two of us. Just the two of us playing and singing and exploring and cuddling and it’s been perfect.

Too perfect. That’s what makes it so hard. If every day hadn’t been a joy from every early start to each finish this might be easier. But I have loved every moment with you and I can’t bear to think of it changing.

By 8 am each day we are alone. 9 hours ahead to fill and we fill it well.

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Most days we spend at home so that you can keep to your routine that works so well for you. I have no idea where those 9 hours go but I do know that we enjoy every one of them.

Daddy comes home to a house full of toys and mess and stories of our fun together. We show him the new things you’ve learnt or the new toy you love and we share our day with him. I know he wishes life could stay like this forever too. But it can’t.

Mummy has to return to work. To a job she loves. But to a job that will never be the same again. Because my heart will be at home in the playroom with you. Where I should be.

Thank you to my darling boy for the best year a Mummy could wish for.
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I promise I have cherished every moment.

Mummy Signiture

How did you feel when you went back to work? Please share your feelings / stories below.

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  1. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Beautifully written; what a lovely piece! It sure captures how many, if not, most mums feel about the ending of maternity leave. I still can’t quite put mine into words. I’m very fortunate that we were able to work something out that meant that I saw him at home during working hours. I hope you find an arrangement that works for you. All the best with it as we manoeuvre the workplace and our ‘heart’. Work sure is never the same after maternity leave! :-) #Twitter

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. I’m glad to hear that you found something that works for you :) Not easy is it :( Jen

  2. Morna

    What a sad post, it brought a tear to my eye. I was honestly ok going back to work- I was lucky though- my LO was 14 months old and I was already 8 wks pregnant so I knew it wasn’t for too long. Plus she was staying at home with daddy and I knew how excited he was to become a stay and home dad. I hope it’s not as difficult as you anticipate. Big hugs xxx

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah that sounds great. Does he love being a SAHD? Is he is Al’s dads group? Thank you x Jen

  3. Dearlittlelucas (Nicole)

    I know the feeling, I work night shifts and I dread when that clock turns 5:30pm and I know I only have 15 minutes watching Lucas be silly before i leave for work. It’s horrible, I dread it. I wish we didn’t have to work!

    • Al Ferguson

      Wow! Night shifts must be really hard. I can’t imagine. By 5.30 i’m ready for bed! I wish too :( Thank you for your comment – jen

  4. Anna

    Such a lovely post sad but totally lovely xx I’ve been so lucky to stay off for so long. I think I take it for granted ! Good luck with going back to work hope your first wk /month isn’t to hard for you

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you for your lovely comment Anna. How long have you been home for? :)

  5. Sian

    Ah babe, lovely post! You defs should write more! You’ll be ok. Only two weeks and you’ll have the whole summer together xx

    • Helen

      So true Jen. Totally how I felt and to some extent still feel. Beautifully written xx

  6. Kelly Edwards

    I am already dreading going back to work and I have 6 months left so I feel your pain. It’s put a certain undertone to the thought of Christmas for me as like you I am loving every second of maternity leave.

    I hope it goes well for you being back at work, it’s definitely a hard thought to go back, I hope you both handle it well. xx

    • Al Ferguson

      I just goes so quickly doesn’t it Kelly. I can see that it would put an undertone on Christmas. Will you be going back full or part-time?
      Thank you x

  7. Becster

    Beautiful yet sad post! It was going into that last week that got me as well. But it wasn’t as bad as I was handing over to Daddy!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you. Ah thats lovely. How did he find it? Jen

      • Becster

        He loved it! Not sure if he’s going to like it this time around though!

  8. Morgan Prince

    A beautiful post. It is such a hard time. It does get easier but I can imagine that doesn’t help right now. Xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks Morgan, I will focus on that :) Jen x

  9. Jodie

    A really lovely post. I started work when P1 was 10 months old. I was in a difference place to you though, I needed to get out and have space to be me. It meant that i cherished the times together much more though. I wish you all the luck!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Jodie. We are all so different aren’t we. I know some people need work and need their own space etc. I’m glad you did what was right for you. Thank you :)

  10. Rachel

    This made me cry! It is exactly how I felt when I returned to work. Wishing you the best of luck. Focus on the benefits of the independence you get from each other and the time you get together will be even sweeter.

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah sorry! Thank you for your lovely comment Rachel, I will :) Jen

  11. Karen Macmanus

    Oh Jen, Im so pleased you have had a wonderful time at home and I totally understand how you feel. You bought a tear to my eye again may I say!
    I know from experience that your little boy is cherished and adored – he is a very lucky little boy and there are other children that need even a minute of that and you are the person to give that as you have so much to give.
    Thoughts will be with you and I know all your thoughts will be with him but what an example you are both setting to your family <3 work ethic is amazing and another lesson learnt that you will be teaching while struggling with it xx
    Sorry abit muddled……but tears in eyes again xxx
    Love you millions you amazing lady

    • Al Ferguson

      WOW! I’m crying my eyes out here. Thank you so much for such a beautiful comment. You are so kind and lovely and I am very pleased to have taught your daughter and met such a loving family. Thank you Karen. Sending love up north x

  12. Clare

    I know exactly how you feel Jen. I actually feel more anxious about it this time for some reason, than when I did with my first (I am returning to work in October). Are you going back full or part time? xxx

    • Al Ferguson

      Quite over-whelming isn’t it Clare. I’m going back part time. It’s just getting used to things changing that will take a while. As yet there have been very few hours I have been without him all year so 8-6 is a bit mind-blowing! How about you? x

  13. Agnes

    Oh no, now I have to cry too, beautiful and sad words! My maternity leave is half way over, I am staying at home with babygirl 18 months and she turns 9 months in a few days… The saddest thing is it could be 3 years, it’s common here in Austria. Of course the financial part is not good if women choose that, so many don’t. Would be hard for us too. But mostly we chose the shorter maternity model because of the pressure society and worklife gives you, they expect women to juggle work and kids nowadays, staying at home moms are sadly often looked down to. It was a normal and good thing to do in the past and now that women have a choice they are competing in how much they can juggle at once… I feel like this shouldn’t be something you get jugded on, every family should do what they want and be left alone. I was already asked by so many people when I go back to work, ‘Oh when I had my baby I went back to work immadeately’ they say proud, like this is a competition, while I just think about all the missed moments with the babies and feel sad. It’s a wonderful opportunity for moms who need to be out and feel like themself again, of course and so many families don’t have a choice financially but if I have I shouldn’t be pressured into returning …

  14. Gemma

    Totally with you on all what you said.
    My 1st I only got 6 months off 8 years ago so it felt like I hadn’t been off at all. My 3rd (he’s 18months) I had 9 months off. I went to a evening job so I still get my days with him but it’s still so hard leaving at bedtime knowing I’m not there to tuck them all in but I know there dad is and il see them in the morning.
    Hope you find a way to be happy and remember your working for Teddy to have a good life!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks Gemma. When do you sleep?! Ah thank you, I will remember that :)

      • Gemma

        I manage to squeeze what I need in ha ha. Could do with extra!

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah thank you so much :) Jen x

  15. Allison

    Crying while I read this. My little boy is only 7 months and I go back to work in August and I am dreading it. Like you, I absolutely love our time together and although I know he is going to a wonderful childminder my heart aches that she could be the one who witnesses some of his ‘firsts’. I will be devastated if I miss his first steps, his first (proper) word etc. I was fortunate to be off work for 2 and a half years with my daughter but sadly have to return to work much sooner this time round.
    Like you, I really like my job but would much rather spend my time with R.
    I really hope everything goes well for you. You learn to cram loads into your days off. I didn’t work Fridays before so I had ‘fun day friday’s’ with my daughter to make up for the week working.
    Thinking of you. The first week is definitely the toughest x

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah Allison, it’s so hard isn’t it. What is his name? I hope you have a great July together. Do let me know how it goes when you go back won’t you. Thank you for your kind thoughts and comment. x

      • Allison

        His names Robbie and he’s such a great wee baby. I’m going to cram as much into July and try not to think about my return to work too much.
        Ted looks like such a happy wee boy – he’s gorgeous. A credit to you and Al.
        I hope it all goes well for you returning to work. Will hopefully hear through Al’s Facebook page.
        Good luck and take care x

        • Al Ferguson

          Cute name – thank you for lovely comments and for supporting Al and The Dad Network. Keep in touch :)

  16. Chantal Milk&Nappies

    So beautifully written and I know when the time comes to go back to work I will feel exactly the same. I want to freeze time because knowing that my baby is growing and that one day I will have to leave him hurts so much! I hope that you find it easier than you think it will be, and I’m sure that time together will be so much more special when it’s limited xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you – that’s very kind of you to say. That’s exactly it isn’t it – you just want to freeze it and keep everything the same because it’s just all so good :)

  17. Silly Mummy

    What a lovely post. It must be so heartbreaking, but I hope it works out and gets better. #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Silly Mummy :)

  18. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Gorgeous post, I’m sorry you feel that way. I was quite excited to go back to work. We’re really lucky though, my wife is a SAHM and I only work until 12pm so I know he is in good hands and I still get to spend a lot of time with him.


    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you. I know lots of people are really excited to return to work. Great really that we are all so different :)

  19. Rob

    Very nice. I never actually took more than a few days off with any of my children and sometimes I certainly regret not taking some parental leave but I know that my wife really struggled prior to going back. Once she was back at work, she was always glad that she did but it is hard to hand your children off to a daycare provider who gets to spend more time with them than you do. #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you for your comment Rob – I am glad that when she settled back in to work that she felt it was the right thing to do and that it went well :) Jen

  20. Sarah Howe

    Aww I read this from FB. What an amazing post. You obviously have the tightest bond and it is going to be so strange at first. I can’t say you won’t miss him but in time the new routine is normal. Plus the time you get home is lovely. I always have a bath with my girl on my work evenings and that is fun! Good luck and update us on how you get on xxx #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      We really do. i’ve been poorly for the past 6 months so we have spent most our time just the two of us during the days. Bath time is Al’s time but i’m sure i can nudge my way in ;) Thank you for being lovely Sarah :) Jen x

  21. John Adams

    My advice? Al gives up work to become a SAHD. But then I am biased. Hope the transition back to work goes smoothly.

    • Al Ferguson

      John… I agree! Thank you :) Jen

  22. Mummy Fever

    Ah yes- I can totally relate to that feeling. After my first baby I went back to work full time when she was 5 months old. I don’t think I ever recovered from the guilt of that and I missed her like crazy. The second time I had 8 months off and then after returning to work full time for six months I decided something had to change as I had 2 children in full time nursery, so I set up my own business. I now have four children and the youngest two have never had a day without me. I can’t tell you going back to work is easy, it isn’t. I can tell you that you won’t waste a second when you are together and I can also tell you that my eldest is a super confident, independent nearly 9 year old who doesn’t appear to have been affected by those days – she does love having me now though to pick her up from school and so on.

    Life is a balance and we make it work, whatever our arrangements have to be. Good luck Jen xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you so much Mummy Fever for your lovely comment. I am so pleased to hear that you found something that worked for you all. I have an older son too and not picking him up from school is a very hard pill to swallow. The maternity leave gave me all day every day with Teddy but also allowed me to be there every day at the school gate at 5pm. What is your business? Jen x

  23. You Baby Me Mummy

    Aww such a beautiful post. I really feel for you, I felt the same then things changed and I get to stay at home now. For which I am truly grateful. I hope the transition goes smoothly. xx

    • Al Ferguson

      That is just wonderful to hear. I see so many happy photos of you both on your blog :)
      How do you find the time to write? You seem to be wonderwoman :)

  24. Ryan Costello

    You write so eloquently and clearly from the heart. I’m the working parent in our relationship and it was terribly difficult to go back to work, and it still is most days almost 2 years later. I hate missing things. My 2 pieces of advice for what its worth are;

    1. Make sure Al is proactive. I like to be sent photos and videos every day. The beautiful thing about this technology driven world we live in is that you don’t need to miss everything. You’ll beam with pride in another 7 or 8 months when he is sending you videos of Ted saying ‘Wuv oo Mama’.

    2. Take comfort and find happiness is in the things you would never get if you didn’t go back to work. Enjoy a new sense of purpose, adult conversation and a different kind of head space. Then enjoy the smiles and run up and squeeze your knees hugs because he’s so pleases Mummy is home.

    I hope you find something that works for you all.

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah Ryan, what a lovely comment. Thank you so much. You are clearly another adoring Daddy, like Al. Thank you for your advice and for your kind words. Hopefully one day our families will meet at a Dad Network get together and the children can play :) Jen

  25. Ashley Beolens

    Such a shame that you have to return to work, hopefully you’ll get through the early days :)

  26. Mum in Brum

    Wow, this really brought a tear to my eye! Nobody can really understand the bond that’s created when you spend every waking minute with your baby – I can imagine it’s a huge shock to the system when that changes – I’m dreading returning to work already. Hope you get back into the swing of things and manage to find a good work/life balance x

    • Al Ferguson

      It’s hard to put in to words isn’t it. Thank you for your kind comment. When do you return to work? Will it be full or part time?

  27. Emma's Mamma

    Beautiful. That made me really emotional. It’s so hard leaving our little ones and work that we once loved indeed just doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. I hope the transition isn’t too hard for you! x #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah thank you so much. How old is Emma?

  28. Laura @Dot Makes 4

    This is really beautiful. I too felt like this with my son 10 years ago. It broke my heart when I had to go back after 5 months.
    However, you do get to treasure the moments that you do spend together. I used to love having cuddles and read to Mikey when I finished work.
    I hope that it all goes smoothly,

    Laura xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Laura and I love the name Mikey :)

  29. lizzie (firstooth)

    This is a beautiful post very honest and emotional. I felt the exact same and days before I was due back in work I called and said I couldn’t do it. It’s the hardest thing for a parent to come to terms with. I hope all goes well and it might take some time getting used to but things will get easier x

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Lizzie – did you go back at a later date or not at all?

  30. Carly

    Your blog made me cry! Heading back to work myself in five weeks and am absolutely heartbroken. Like you, I’m fortunate to be going back to a job I love but it doesn’t make it any easier. All the best. Let us know how it goes. I need to gather strength from others! (Tweet me @musingmumma)

    • Al Ferguson

      Good luck! I cried too when I read it. She should start her own blog

    • Al Ferguson

      Sorry Carly! I hope you have a great last 5 weeks. I’ll find you on Al’s twitter :)

    • Al Ferguson

      Sorry Carly! I hope you have a great last 5 weeks and i’ll find you on Al’s twitter :)

  31. Ali @ Mum in a nutshell

    I feel your pain, (even more as it’s so beautifully written) I couldn’t bear to be apart from my baby so much I handed my notice in and set up a business which I could work around my family. like you, I loved my year off, every minute of it and it was so sad when it came to an end last month. Good luck and I hope it’s not as bad as you think. x #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah thank you Ali – this is only the second time i’ve attempted to write anything. What is your business? Thank you. Jen x

  32. Stacey

    What a beautifully written post, bought a tear to my eye x

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Stacey :) Jen

  33. Sophie @ Mum, M & More

    Aww what a beautiful post. I know exactly how you feel. I hated going back to work, it felt like i wasn’t whole. I wish you lots of luck for the next chapter! xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you so much Sophie. Jen :)

  34. Hannah Atkinson

    Oh my lovely. I can only imagine how sad you are feeling. You will adjust and life will still be glorious with your little one, just different. I hate the illness’s the have disabled me since pregnancy and post birth but at times I do see how lucky I am. I have lost my health and my body fails me often but it has enabled me to be at home with my son for far longer than I would have been able to if I had stayed healthy as I too would have returned to work.
    Lots of love and courage x #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson

      Hannah I am so sorry to hear this. What illness’s are they? Will your health improve? Do you have a support network? I’m really sorry :(
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. x

  35. Something Crunchy Mummy

    Beautiful post and I totally understand how you are feeling. I felt the same going back to work after my first, I stayed home after my second, and I cried so much as I wanted to spend every hour with him. People told me it’s nice to be someone other than mummy but to be honest I never got used to it. I talked about him all day as he and now my second son are my world #nigfatlinky xx

    • Al Ferguson

      Yes I can complete understand that. Thank you for your comment SCM and i’m glad you got to stay home, where you wanted to be :) Jen x

  36. Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy

    A beautiful post, I hated leaving my boy but I was Uni & had to do it in order to provide a future for us as a single mum. It’s so hard but we do what we have to do, good luck with it #BigFatLinky

    • Al Ferguson

      WOW! I’m seriously impressed that you were able to do that. Huge well done to you :)

    • Al Ferguson

      Enjoy it whilst you can.

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you so much Helen and congratulationson your baby. Jen x

  37. Mrs Tubbs

    Lovely post. Sending hugs. I was always going back to work as I earned the most so just put my head down and got on with it. The first few months weren’t great, but not allowing myself to feel bad helped or taking any notice of other’s comments helped. Feeling confident in whatever childcare arrangements you’ve got also helps. I wish you luck and strength.

    Stagger your return if you can, so you start on a few days a week and build up. Take tissues and powder. You will get weepy and a bit of powder helps cover the damage. Wishing you more luck!

    • Al Ferguson

      Ah thank you so much Mrs Tubbs for your kind message. Jen x

  38. Amy

    Oh Jen, such beautiful words. I can really understand and empathise with you. It is so very hard and I remember it well with my older two, I simply had to go back to work and that’s all there was to it. With my littlest I had to make the hard decision whether to put her into nursery or attempt to work at home while she was around. We chose nursery and she is fine. In fact all three of my children are fine and adapted wonderfully and do you know what? Even though you will hate it at first, a part of you will thrive and enjoy the new challenges on your horizon.

    Wishing you all a smooth transition back into work and joy filled moments to treasure and cherish during those times when you are at home, those really are the best moments.

    Good luck! Amy x

    • Al Ferguson

      What a lovely message. Thank you so much Amy and I am glad to hear things worked out with you and yours :) Thank you, Jen x

  39. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    I can totally relate to this, I wasn’t ready to return to work after my maternity leave when Boo was 11 months old and in fact I only lasted 3 months back at work part time before I stopped work. I hope you have an amazing last week and that the transition to work is a smooth one.

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you Jenni – I’m glad you were able to do what suited you all best :) Jen

  40. Shannon

    Beautifully written – It was so hard for me to go back to work too (to a job I loathe, unfortunately). Working from home made things easier, but I hate that it meant I couldn’t give my daughter all my attention anymore. Good luck going back – it’ll be hard, but you’ll be fine. :-)

  41. Annie

    Hi, you have completely put into words how I am feeling with just over one week to go until I go back to work. It is only over the past few weeks and during settling in at nursery that I have begun questioning whether what we are doing is right. In the early weeks of maternity leave I would’ve given anything to go back to work but now I am loving see my daughter change and develop each day and our special time together.

    But, I am thinking of the positives too and how our children will benefit from their new experiences, learning about providing for a family and more quality time as a family when we are together, that, and enjoying a cup of tea without worrying about where she is crawling too!

    Lots of luck on your return, everyone tells me it will get easier!

    • Al Ferguson

      HA! I feel you with the cup of tea! There are definitely positives and negatives for both aren’t there. I hope you find the answer that suits you all, thank you for your comment and kind words :) Jen

  42. Amy

    It is like I have wrote this. I don’t go back to work till october but the thought of it has me in tears and feeling sick.
    I am no where near ready to go back and share my baby girl with people. I don’t want to miss firsts and find out about them from other people.
    You’ve put it into words a lot easier than I could. A lovely post xx

  43. Gemma

    I couldn’t wait to go back to work. But I wouldn’t want to feel like I had to do something I didn’t want to. I hope your first day went well. X

  44. Sarah

    Beautiful story. Brought tears in my eyes.
    It summarised my feelings.
    I went back to work when my LO was 6 months old, now he is 9 months old and everyday gets harder as I leave him at nursery to journey to work. We literally cry together as we part. My heart breaks, but I know deep down it’s what he needs for the best life I can offer.
    I have proposed part time (1 day a week) to spend 3 days out of 7 in a week with my LO but looks like my employer is not understanding.
    I hope to get stronger in time.

  45. Rhia P

    Oh god. This post broke me.
    Currently facing the same thing, but I’m started a totally new job so I don’t even have the comfort of familiarity to cling to.
    I just can’t bear the thought of leaving my little fella, but I can’t seem to find another way (and god knows I’ve been tying myself in knots for months trying to work it all out).
    Absolutely sobbing reading this, but I take some strength in knowing that I’m not alone in feeling this- it sometimes feels like I am coz pretty much EVERYONE I seem to meet at parent groups can be SAHM….
    THANK YOU. I know I’m waffling now, but I needed this so much today.
    We’ll get through it, right?

  46. Kat @ Eat.Love.Live

    This is beautiful. It brought a tear to my eye! I hope you manage to get through your working days and I hope you are able to cherish your moments with you baby even more. Kat xx

  47. Thomas McIlvenny-Cox

    Such a beautiful piece. I felt this way and i only had two months off, my husband had the full year. There are no words to express the first day/week leaving your baby at home. But just kow everything you said here, i feel. So lovely x

  48. Scantily Dad

    Well said. Really nicely written. I have been off with the kids for 4 days and I don’t want to go back to work tomorrow.

  49. Hannah Lucy

    Just found this on Pinterest so sorry I’m late to the party.
    Oh how I cried reading this.
    Had my little boy in November last year (2018) I’m back to work in September. Any thoughts that crop into my mind about him not being with me, all the important milestones I will miss, he still has so much to learn, I’m a blubbering mess daily at the moment. Hopefully the next two months I’ll get it all out my system…..
    I’m finding myself being clingy to him now knowing it’s nearly all over.
    A really well written, real piece ?
    From one hurting mommy to another xx

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