But, most of all, I'd feel guilty about working.
I can't really fully remember my maternity leave anymore. I have little moments that I can recall - like the time I fell asleep watching Formula 1, cuddling Max, and William did the longest nap of his tiny life and I just felt so peaceful and happy. Or the time William and I went to the pub and enjoyed drinks in the sunshine with my mum, brother and grandparents.
It was eight weeks. And the older William gets, the shorter eight weeks feels.
I don't know if any other parents do this, but, with every season, I find myself looking back to the one the year before. "This time last year he was only six months..."
This time last year I think I was on the cusp of depression.
That's a hard thing to write.
I was struggling without my baby. I was struggling not to feel frustrated at having to fit in work around expressing twice a day. I was desperately unhappy. So much so that, when Christmas rolled around, I felt such an intense relief that I realised that I needed a change.
You see, I've realised that I do enjoy being a working mother.
It's not that I don't miss my baby and want to be with him all the time. But I enjoy having time for myself. I enjoy using my skills. I enjoy making things happen. Meeting new people. Changing things.
I just needed to find a place where I could do that and be happy.
Early this year, I decided I wanted to make a big leap and change jobs. I was fussy. I waited. But the dream job came along and I've been here for six months now.
Last week, on the day of our Christmas party, I found myself looking around the office and grinning. I love these people. They have changed my life. They don't really know that. But they have.
I still feel sad when I kiss my baby boy goodbye, but I get on that train to work with my train buddy, Mica, and I smile as we chat away. I love fumbling in my coat pocket for my office keys and wondering if I'll be the first in or not today. I love that my job pushes me. I love that it helps me make a difference. I love that my colleagues all have big hearts and hilarious personalities.
I had the best time on that night out. My first night out in a whole year - the last time being the last Christmas party I attended. I laughed. I definitely drank too much. And I may have almost fallen over a few times. I thought of William at 7:30pm rolled around, his bedtime. I woke up early, the body clock of a mother will fight any hangover.
But I didn't feel guilty.
In the past few months I've realised that I don't need to apologise anymore.
And that sometimes, change is a good thing.
And that hangovers and motherhood don't go very well, but they are worth it for a good night out with friends.
|My selfies really come into their own when I'm drunk.|