The guilt is real. At this stage in the process, with baby somewhere around the six-month mark, I’d wager that most mothers are either eager to be back to work, or dreading the end of maternity leave. Of course, there’ll be those who are somewhere between the two.
And it might depend on how you felt about your job before you left.
The frustrating thing is there’s no right answer. Necessity may trump your preference. And you’ll be judged whatever you choose.
Of course, that happens with quite a lot of child-rearing. About sleeping arrangements or sleep training; about feeding and weaning; about routines, screen-time, toys. From people who had children ages ago; from people who had children more recently; from those without children; from the marketers with something to sell you. I’ll admit, I’ve done my fair share of (quiet) judging.
And that’s before you get to the conflicting advice from the health professionals.
In the end, though, you have to do what’s best for you, your child, and your family. Never mind what anyone else says.
The trouble is in deciding what’s best. And how to reconcile the different Bests if what’s best for you is different to what’s best for Baby which might be different to what’s best for the family. If you’re lucky, all the bests will coincide and the decision is an easy one. Or one of the Bests trumps all the others.
I still don’t know what the answer is for me. I had hoped that writing this would help me make a decision. Spoiler: It hasn’t.
Instead, I shall continue baking. Bread, brownies, fairy cakes. New recipes, old recipes, adapted recipes.