On Friday I received a letter from my boss at work, just a gentle reminder that I had agreed to pop in to do what work call "keep in touch days" and could I call in before Tuesday to set some possible dates. I am very, very aware that the team are missing me, although one of the team has stepped upto my position whilest I've been off, no one has covered her job and with all companies working their staff to capacity during these difficult economic times, everyone at work already works really, really hard. Also I know from experience that taking time out of my job makes it really hard to pick up where I left, on my return. I took a year maternity leave after having child 3 and on my return so much had changed. Working 2 days a week makes it really hard to learn the new procedures and computer systems after all I have to work 5 weeks for me to have worked two 35 hour weeks.
I have kept work up to date with what is happening, my last contact was that I had a nursery place sorted for child 4 as of January and that once he was settled I could come in. I have always planned to return March time. Of course I don't know how he will settle, will he settle into a new routine with new people with ease or will he become clinging and worried. How will I handle having to leave him.
I am also very aware that social services would firstly prefer for me to take a year off work as adoption leave, but as I can only claim 6 months statutory adoption leave, financially taking a year is not really possible. They would also prefer for me to remain at home with child 4 for as long as possible, I don't think they really want him to start attending nursery yet, although family and child services have offered child 4 a free nursery place for upto 15 hours a week as he is still technically a looked after child.
So here I am feeling like I am stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, that I think is something many working mums have to live with, I often feel that whatever my choices are, someone is affected or suffers, so how do we choose? Returning to work too early could place child 4 at an emotional disadvantage but not returning to work in the next couple of months could potentially effect my "career" or my standing with my team, do they feel abandoned or left carrying my job whilst I am off?
What about ME, where do I fit in to this emotional turmoil? I could say that I am entitled to take a year out of work if that's what I want and if that's what is best for my family but returning in September will definitely be financially damaging to our family and a year out could be detrimental to my sanity, it's hard work looking after a two year old and it's hard learning new systems. Then there is the emotional side, how do I really feel about placing child 4 into nursery it's only 9am to 3pm two days a week, we've set it so that my husband can drop him in and pick him up so it's not like he will be left all day.
Am I in reality projecting all my concerns on to my work colleagues and my family. I am viewing myself as I may view others in a similar situation. What do I know, I know that work is important to me, I need something other than family life but I also know that I want to give my children the best possible start in life.
If someone asked me all these questions what would my answer be? Life is made up of hard and scary decisions, if child 4 doesn't settle into nursery life I may need to rethink but if he isn't given the opportunity to attend I won't know the answer. So I guess I'll introduce him in the next couple of weeks and we will see what will be