Hi guys,

Happy Monday to you all.

Hope you are all doing good and had a nice weekend. I’m so excited for this weekend as it’s Lily’s first birthday. Her outfit is sorted but I still need to find something nice. It’s an all pink party so everything is going to be pink. I can’t wait to see her little face. I’m back to work tomorrow for the next few days then I have the weekend off. I had mentioned about doing this post before I returned to work so I said I would wait a little while before I put it up.

This wasn’t a requested post but I said I’d share my thoughts about returning to work after maternity leave. So I had been off work for a total of 11 months. I was so lucky to be able to have that amount of time with her and I’m so grateful that I took the extra time off with her. My initial thoughts on returning to work was that I didn’t want to go back at all. I liked the job but I just had got so used to it being me and Lily and having so much fun together. I debated about taking more time off and then I just said look I’ll take some parental leave next year so it’ll be fine. I’m the weeks running up to going back I was sick. I was sick with worry thinking about having to go back to ‘real life’. I was going to have to go back to showering every day & wearing makeup. I wasn’t going to be able to stay in my pjs with Lily rocking my hun bun, reading books, playing in the ball pit and watching Sing on repeat chilling on the couch. How was I going to do it all? How was I going to be the best mum to Lily, work full time, do my blog and study?

I had to go back and do two weeks training before I started flying. I knew one girl in the group but didn’t know the rest of the girls. The night before going back I was so nervous. This was it, no going back now. The first few days were actually fine, I cried on the third day because I really started to miss her. Sean was away on a flight so she stayed with her nana & grandad and I was home alone. I came in the door to an empty house and just bawled. I was asking myself what am I doing? Why am I doing this? All I wanted was to bewith Lily and nothing else. The girls in the group couldn’t have been more supportive, nice and friendly. We all got on like a house on fire. We have a what’s app group and it’s just so nice. They were such a lovely bunch and I think without each other we wouldn’t have got through it. The two weeks flew by and before I knew it my line check was over and done with. That’s our annual check to certify us to fly for another year.

Now was the REAL test. This was to juggle everything whilst flying. Shift work is crazy hours and days aren’t set in stone. The first roster back was fine thank god so it was an easy way to settle in. The second has been sooooo much harder. I’ve come home upset twice in the past few weeks from pure exhaustion. I’ve felt very overwhelmed with everything and lack of sleep wasn’t helping. I’ve had to kind of explain a few times on Instagram about my job because people don’t really get it. When I go to Chicago, I’m working. Yes I have a nice time when I’m there but then I work the flight home. The best thing about doing a long haul trip is that although I’m away for two nights (second night I’m flying home through the night) I’m then off that day I land and two more days. So I get to spend three full days with Lily which is amazing. If I do a west coast trip to LA, I get the day I land off plus THREE more full days off. It’s a no brainer for me and spending time with her is my priority when I’m back.

I’m trying to work on my blog when I’m away so do posts, write captions, sort emails, do proposals. Everything blog related I do on trips so then when I’m back I’m focused on doing stuff as a family. It works for us and we are happy this way. I know every parent and mother is different but I personally think that everyone should just do what’s suits them best. I debated whether to be REALLY honest in this post and tell you how I really feel. I know a few people have messaged me and ask how I’m getting on and am I loving being back to work. Yes hot coffee is amazing and adult interaction is too however can I be really honest with you? I’m just hating leaving her so much. I would love more than anything in this world to be part time but I can’t apply for part time in my job until January 2022 which I am so beyond upset about. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to keep working full time and doing it all from now until then. It’s far too hard to try juggle it all. It’s really sad as I do enjoy the job I do but with the rosters I’m getting at the moment it’s just impossible. If I was part time, it would be perfect but unfortunately it’s not in my reach for another while.

So what am I going to do you ask? Well I’m going to give it until Christmas and revisit the situation then. I’m going to stick the 6 months like I said to Sean and my family. I’m going to give it more time and see. I’ve applied for a good chunk of parental leave next year so I’m focusing on that and the parental leave has just gone up another 4 weeks now so it’s brilliant. As Sean and myself are working for the same company, I can use his parental leave too so we will work it out. I have Christmas off this year so that will be lovely. Sean will have to work but we will do a Christmas trip together to the states so it will be nice. I’m focusing on the end of the year and thinking about getting to Christmas. I wish I could tell you all that it’s been amazing, I’ve loved every minute of getting my old life back and that it’s all glitter and unicorns but sadly the reality is it’s extremely hard trying to do it all with Lily, my blog, work, running a house and study. I know I’m not the first mother to have to ‘do it all’ but I’m just sharing my thoughts and feelings about my experience to returning to work.

Some women go back to work and they smash it. Some women go back to work and struggle. It’s ok to admit you’re struggling, it’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to cry about it all too. It’s overwhelming trying to do it all and there’s no point hiding it. The only person that will suffer is you. The reality is, I could most definitely leave my full time job to work on my blog full time and make way more money however I like my stable job and I like the job I do. We get great perks from the job and we get to travel the world as a family, with our friends and our family get the benefits of it too. It’s amazing to be able to give my parents, brother and friends that opportunity. If I didn’t enjoy the job absolutely I’d be gone, out the door but I’m the opposite. People keep asking me also what are we doing with Lily when we are away or one is on a trip etc? When I’m not working and Sean is, I’m minding her. When I’m working and Seans off, he’s minding her. If we do a trip together then she’s with her nana and grandad overnight. She’s in very good hands when we are away and I rest easy knowing she’s out playing in the playground or at the beach with them. Spending time with my grandparents was my favourite thing to do as a child growing up.

So there you have it, my honest and open as always feelings about the reality of returning to work. My advice for anyone going back to work is to take your time. It’s not going to be easy or smooth sailing straight away. You’re going to have to find your feet and find a balance. I’m only back 7 weeks and I’m still finding my feet so really give it time. Any other mums I’ve spoken too in my job said it took them 6 months at least so I’m rolling with that. Remember that you’re not superwoman even if sometimes we think we are. Give yourself some you time too even if you feel guilty about it. You’ll be a better mum for taking that extra hour before picking them up or extra hour if your husband is minding them. So we will see what happens. It’s 20 weeks until my Christmas holidays not that I’m counting or anything 😉 but that’s my focus now. I’ve Vegas in 7 weeks for Sean’s 30th birthday then we have two family holidays before the end of the year so I’ve a good bit to be excited about.

Rest assured as always I’ll keep you posted about trying to ‘do it all’. Remember that on Instagram you only see a snippet of someone’s life, you’re not seeing the meltdowns or crying, you’re not seeing the REALLY bad days so never ever assume that because I’m showing you the trips to Chicago or Orlando, I’m not secretly having a pure melt behind the phone. I do share my bad days and good days too but it’s just to bare that in mind with anyone really on Instagram. Don’t assume as you just never ever know. For now, I’m plodding along feeling extremely overwhelmed with everything, my friends I haven’t seen properly in weeks, my family I’m down to seeing them one day a week if even and I’m constantly wrecked. It’ll be a good eye cream I’ll be needing soon enough.

Love Aoibhe xxx

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