Without wishing to sound morose, I’ve struggled to find a favourite photo this week from my Instagram uploads. We moved house earlier this month, and as soon as the last box was unpacked I was ironing my proper person clothes ready for my first day back at work.

My time off has FLOWN. My three biggest achievements from a year of pissing about were popping out a baby, running a long way, and starting this little blog right here. The office, while it never truly disappeared from my radar, tucked itself neatly behind a mental wall of baby wipes and SEO. But all good things come to an end, and so Monday saw me back at my desk making civilised conversation and trying not to cry.

I think the thing that strikes me most is that maternity leave is one of the only times, in a working life, where you can just swan out of your job for a year and be fairly assured that it’ll still be there waiting for you. There’s no expectation to do any work while you’re away, KIT days aren’t compulsory, and legally you tend to be treated with cotton wool gloves. I feel hugely lucky to have enjoyed such a privilege not once, but twice now.

Very close friends of ours in America are expecting their first baby soon. In fact, I wrote this for them. I’m well aware that the rights to maternity leave are far less favourable over in the States, with just 12 weeks of UNPAID leave granted following the birth or adoption of a child. I think of this, and feel quite embarrassed that I twatted on for quite some time about being bored shitless every day.

I realised, by about 09.26 on Monday morning, that little changes in a year. But four hours later, this felt kind of ok. I work on the edge of the New Forest and I religiously go out for a power walk every lunchtime to blow away the cobwebs and have a little cry / swear / daydream depending on how my day is going.

The New Forest means livestock, and this guy loomed out of the fog as if to say “yeah, all a bit shit really isn’t it?”.

Is it shit? I don’t know. I’ve got a bloody job, for god’s sake. I still get two days off with my children. I’ve just moved into a gorgeous house. Life has all the hallmarks of being pretty good. And yet…I feel exactly the same as when I first left Mouse at nursery. It took me a long time to adjust to the crushing feeling that I was failing as an employee, and failing as a Mummy, because I couldn’t seem to perform either role particularly well.

I’ll try and be a bit more cheery next week, promise.