Our new normal is up and running. I am well and truly back to work and our routine is in place. The only thing we are struggling with is having enough hours in a day, what’s new eh?!

As you may have seen I went back to work in April and my first week was not as expected, details are here.

Since that first week I have settled into a routine of working from home or heading to London, Manchester and wherever my team require me. It feels weird. It feels like I never left. I have found my rhythm quicker than I expected. There is still plenty to catch up on but it’s coming back to me.

Making our time together count

What I have found surprising is the speed of which my maternity cover (contracted for a year June – June) has disappeared. Within 3 days everything was being escalated back to me and other than a few calls the handover I expected has never come. I have been a little taken back by that as it has meant that I have had a lot of groundwork to do myself. Ah well.

Being busy at work has actually been great. I have very little downtime to wonder about Annabelle. In the moments that I do, and she’s at nursery, I log on and am able to reassure myself that she is okay. I miss her though. That phrase about your heart being in two places at once after you have a baby is true. It’s strange but I all I really want to do is hug her, all day, everyday. I know in reality that hug is with a wriggly little girl who can’t wait to get down to play with toys or anything else in the room, but it’s a nice thought.

That smile!

I console myself with the fact that if I was with her I would be playing with her just like the people taking care of her. I do nothing special in that sense so I know she’s not missing out.

In fact my main challenge is not the work/life balance right now it’s getting enough time with Annabelle while she is awake. After nursery she is tired, she will either come home and nap – usually 4.15 – 5pm or she will be grisly until bed making it hard to really spend time with her. The nap works well if it happens on time as I finish work and join Annabelle and Laura at 5.30pm.

Morning crew

BUT life isn’t always that easy and doesn’t always go to plan.

My trains often run delayed from London and instead of a 6pm arrival, I get in at 6.10pm. No biggy except my connecting train is at 6.10 or 6.25. If I get the 6.10 I am at our local station by 6.30 and home by 6.45 and half an hour with Annabelle. If I get the 6.25, I get in at 6.45 and home at 7. I literally just get to feed Annabelle and we have no time together.

Or, in the case of last night, Annabelle fights her nap until 5pm, then falls asleep until 6pm only for me to leave for netball at 6.30pm and return to put her to bed. Not ideal knowing I would be in London today and as usual my train is running 10 mins delayed.

Sneaking in a nap

Our girl loves her routine and her bed and while they are both great things it does leave very, very limited time for me to see her. That is hard, really hard.

When I am working from home I try to spend every minute with her until she leaves for nursery and I take a short lunch so I can grab some time with her as soon as she gets in. I try to make her laugh, get her to smile, get her to know that even though our time together is now so short it’s good time. That I love her and that her happiness is my priority. I just hope she doesn’t miss me like I miss her.

Nursery is doing what we hoped. Annabelle is now chatty, vocal and more confident. There are different numbers of children each day and they have different activities to do. Annabelle’s favourite is being outside in the garden. Her eating has improved and while their are some tears on drop-off they are over quickly (Laura is the hero that handles that). She now takes her bottle and has two naps – all signs that she is comfortable there.

And my parents looking after her is going really well. Laura and I both look forward to Thursday’s. While we enjoy checking in via video-link at nursery it’s not the same as seeing Annabelle’s smiley face in pictures or hearing her giggle in videos. I still wish it was me with her but if not Laura and I then my Mum’s the next best thing.

Laura in the meantime continues her relentless hard work. Dropping off and picking up Annabelle. Making sure Annabelle’s food is prepped, that she has a change of clothes. She entertains Annabelle until I get back, while doing what she can in the house. When we do get Annabelle to bed and I sit down it’s usually 8pm. We have some time checking phones, some time planning the next day and watch a show before falling into bed.

Off to nursery
Any tips on making more of the day? Where do you find your extra time?

We are Sarah + Laura, two wives, and now mums, who have been together since March 2009. As we are an international couple, we set up this blog in 2011 originally to share our travel and daily lives with friends and family around the world. Over time it has grown with us through personal highlights such as our coming out stories, documented our wedding planning and big day, our move from London to Birmingham UK, Sarah’s pregnancy and the birth and milestones of our daughter, Annabelle, in July 2018.

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