I have just finished my “working week”. Monday to Wednesday. I am officially one of those “part timers”. It feels good. Real good. Actually venturing out to work with a handbag full of junk is quite an enjoyable thing. I never thought I’d want to leave my suitcase of a changing bag behind, but I have moved on. Although I actually bought a packet of mini wet wipes for my handbag as couldn’t quite cut the cord from the large quantities of emergency essentials in the changing bag which prepares me for pretty much everything whatever the time of day, food needs or climate changes. I have only just decided the emergency poncho can go. I joke not.
Two weeks in and it’s actually been ok. After the initial conversations asking how the “little one” is and old colleagues struggling to remember what flavour of child I actually had a year ago, I’m back into the swing of things.
There was a low point yesterday when some cow from finance and I had a chat. She has a child nearly the same age as my daughter and I did the usual bonding groan about tantrums and she actually said “touch wood, we haven’t had one”. I either think she’s lying or is about to have a really shitty year when her child turns three. I nearly said “just humour me” but decided to hope the teenage years for her suck. Bitter, me?
It’s strange really going on maternity leave. I was away for 13 months, and there have been so many changes in my office. But within hours it was almost like I’d never left. In fact it took me mere moments to moan about the lack of water cooler, the excessive office heat and how there still wasn’t enough room in the fridge for everyone’s anally labelled pints of milk.
However, we have a new boy. If he read this he’d be mortified I am calling him a boy. He’s 24. But he is practically foetal. I like him. He’s really keen and has oodles of energy. He’s like an eager puppy happy to take on anything. I love this about him and I think I was like this in my 20s.
Now, I am more like Bagpuss yawning frequently, wanting quiet and having a rather cuddly physique.
I’m sitting opposite new boy and I saw immediate fear in his eyes that I would start discussing nappy brands or constantly fret about how the children are. Once we cleared up that my children are wonderful, but I will not be boring him with their every new thing, we found a safe space.
However, he keeps asking those 20-something questions I have few answers for now:
Q: “What did you get up to last night?”
A: “Ermm, nothing.”
Q: “So what music are you into. I’m loving [insert about 150 bands I’ve never heard of]?”
A: “Errrrm, still Adele’s 21 album. Do I need to move on from the power ballads?”
Q: “What are you doing at the weekend?”
A: “Errrrm, going for a walk and a picnic?” [insert look of confusion from new boy.]
And apparently people still go to the pub and drink. Even on week nights. I’m completely puzzled. And then these vague little glimmers of my past came back and I remember that. I remember those days. Ahhh nostalgia.
Now off to put the kettle on and get my book. Bliss. Because tomorrow the hard work starts again. Yes, the childrearing and I have to say, looking after children is definitely more exhausting than going to work. Yes Mr Motherfudger, MORE EXHAUSTING.