I went back to work for the first time when my eldest daughter was 14 months old, (I was rather embarrassingly five months pregnant with daughter number two) so we were able to experience quite a lot together. Since she was my only child at that point, I was able to dedicate myself to her fully. We had so much fun together, getting to know one another whilst taking on the world.
When my maternity leave ended and I went back to work pregnant (ooops) I was only going to be back for three months so my eldest was looked after by my sister. This arrangement meant she never experienced nursery life when she was very small. When my second daughter was born I stayed at home and pottered along with two children 17 months apart.
As my second stint of maternity leave drew to a close, money was tight, so I had to cut it short and go back to work when my baby was 9 months and my eldest nearly 2 and a half. This time they both went to nursery and the guilt was immense. Especially where my youngest was concerned. After the first week they had both picked up chicken pox.
Then my baby at only 10 months caught hand, foot and mouth. I was gob smacked. I had heard of livestock getting this, but humans? The two are very different, but it still racked me with guilt to see her have to go through these yucky illnesses, just so I could go to work yet still struggle to get by.
Then on her first birthday she was sick with hand foot and mouth again. The vomiting, not being herself, plus the blisters on her mouth, hands and feet were the horrible tale, tale signs. I was so sad for her. Poorly AGAIN, but this time on her first birthday. I was angry and again guilt ridden.
On a weekly basis there seemed to be some awful illness or another circulating the nursery: vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, colds, flu, nits, the icing on the cake was when scarlet fever was doing the rounds. Sorry what? Scarlet fever? I thought this had been consigned to Victorian times.
I was forever stressed and worried about the health of my children. Were they going to be sick again this week. Was I going to have to take yet more time off work. I particularly felt bad for my middle daughter, she was no more than one yet the amount of sickness she had endured in her little life was ridiculous. Maybe that's why she's such a tough cookie.
I look back now and at the 'big' ages of four and a half and three my girls are hardly ever sick at all. They have immune systems of steel. And are well prepared for when they start school. Looking at my son I know we have all this to come. But at least he will be older than my daughter was, and I will hopefully be working in a flexible environment where I am able to feel like I am properly caring for my children without neglecting my work.
Only time will tell.
In the meantime I'm enjoying all of this......
|Bubbles in the park|