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  • Writer's pictureGemma Newton

Adjusting to work after maternity leave; setting an important intention this spring

Updated: Mar 22

As the evenings lighten and buds blossom, we welcome spring with open arms in our family. The winter has felt long and wet, with many days spent longing for the warmth of Summer. A winter with a child in the house is long enough, let alone when that child is a rambunctious and curious toddler still yet to communicate effectively. Today, the shining sun welcomes us into the new astrological year, and I am reminded of the renewing feeling of spring. Its warmth revives me, melting away winter hibernation to reveal promising months ahead. For me, the spring equinox also marks a shift in parenting routine, as my little girl flies the nest to spend a few days a week with a childminder. After 18 months of full-time parenting, I peep my head above ground, wandering around my suddenly quiet home with a mixture of fear, guilt, and absolute exhilaration at my freedom.


Becoming a parent has been equally brilliant and traumatising. No one can really describe it beforehand, but when you've been through it, you share a common smile or nod with those who have been there too. I sit at my desk now, looking back over the last year and a half with a blank page in front of me, wondering what my career looks like now. In taking extended time away from work, I've built an incredible bond with my daughter but sacrificed my freelance portfolio. And while much of maternity leave is nappies and naps, parenthood has reinforced many skills too. Resilience, patience, negotiation, creativity, flexibility; there is nothing like wrangling a screaming toddler in the supermarket when your fridge is empty to teach you how to focus and think on your feet under pressure.


With some thinking space, I can now appreciate my parenting journey. The imposter syndrome has been rife in the weeks approaching my return to work. "I've been out of work for ages", "what if I can't write anymore?", "I feel so out of touch". But what I've failed to see in the thick of parent mode is that becoming a parent has given me a new perspective and motivation. My time-keeping skills are now top-notch, and so is my productivity. I use every second efficiently, and what I wanted before having a child is a world away from what I need now. The time away from work was necessary and revealing. My interests are different, as are my priorities. I've not been out of work; I've been on an intense crash course in life and have graduated with honours.


With all that said, I only have one true intention this spring: finding a healthy balance. In the beginning, little humans demand the balance to be tipped in their favour; however, as she grows, I must too. I dream of spending days in the sun with my daughter and working with incredible clients who are changing the face of nutrition, food, mental health, wellness, and sustainability. Planting sunflower seeds one day and helping my clients grow the next. In indulging my passions and career goals, I'll set an example for her to do the same - that's the plan anyway. It won't be easy and never perfect, but I've at least made a start on the blank page.


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