by: Pippa

I remember asking folk what I need to do for my daughter in the last few weeks before I headed back to work and her into daycare fulltime. Everyone, without a moment’s hesitation, all annoyingly said the same thing: “Just enjoy all this time you have together, there’s nothing you need to do for her…”

That was very true. We took extra long walks and played as much as we could together – and was all very poignant, as I realized this mad, odd and weirdly enjoyable chapter of life was closing and another one opening.

But what was interesting was that my questions to my pals were all about my daughter and what she needed. What I had not really thought about much was me. And what I needed to do. After all, I was heading back to work!

This situation really came to the fore when my daughter started to transition to crèche in the week before I started work. It only really dawned on me that week as it was happening that her transition meant I had a transition too – I was having more and more time each day without her, which meant time for me!

And while I was a bit slow to realize this, I was quick to make the most of it. Here are some of the things I did that week, that I so enjoyed – as well as some of things I found useful about going back to work:

Treated myself with some simple things….
I started simple with all this ‘time to myself’ stuff. It was a very lovely breakfast with a slow read of the newspaper. Hell, I even attempted Sudoku (the easy one, mind).

By the end of the week, I was having lunches with some pals who were back at work a while now after maternity leave who gave me some great advice and encouragement. And who reminded me of the benefits of being in work (see how that went in this previous blog)

Also, I’m quite a movie fan, so I did nip to the cinema on my own during the day. It was an awful film, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the experience!

Got nails done
This was the upgrade of treating myself. Booked in to get a manicure and pedicure. Oh so well worth it. For the nails and the pouring over magazines….

Got hair cut & blowdried
Don’t know about you but I don’t count this as a luxury but in fact a necessity when heading back to work. No more the ‘ah, it’ll do if I just scrunch it back into a ponytail’ or ‘sure no one cares if I have roots showing a bit….’. The Executive Mum needs a good, sharp hairdo. It was a lovely few hours. And yes, there was yet more magazine reading. I really did have a lot of gossip to catch up on.

Gutted my wardrobe….
This was a surprisingly cleansing process. I wasn’t really looking forward to this but just happened to be in the right mood to do this (thank goodness or else this would have been a real horror). It’s true that your body has changed and some of the clothes don’t look the same but the reverse can be true too. I think I had convinced myself that my body was waaaaaaay much bigger post-baby than it actually was, and so was pleasantly surprised to see that more clothes fitted than I expected.
It was also great to properly see what I did have in my wardrobe and what I wanted to wear in a post-baby world.  I realized that I just didn’t want to wear anything complicated – I needed zip-and-go dresses and a proper capsule wardrobe of interchangeable outfits for Ireland’s crazy weather.

…and then bought some new work clothes
Armed with a list of the gaps in my wardrobe (see above), I slowly but surely went on the hunt for the clothes I needed for the return to work. With a clear plan of what I needed – mums are organized after all – I found the hunt not as horrible as I thought.

A nice tip – I ended up researching all the clothes and shoes over the course of my week but didn’t buy things there and then. If I thought something was going to go quick, I put it on hold and told them I’d be back. I then waited until my last day before work, had another nice breakfast to myself and selected the clothes I was going to get. It was then a few hours going from shop to shop, buying everything I wanted. It was the loveliest retail high! I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except the stores I was strutting out of were more Grafton Street than Rodeo Drive. It was a lovely moment though, nonetheless.

Avoided starting on a Monday
Got this advice from someone and it was a good one. Would have never thought of this myself to be honest but looking back it makes sense. While pre-baby working you would have thought that a Monday is an obvious day to start – it is a long first week to start back. So if you are, like me, back to work full time – it’s a great idea to start back on a Wednesday or any other non-Monday day. It means that your baby is probably in daycare
arrangements starting on the Monday so you’ve got a few days just to yourself – to do all the pampering you’d like!