My first week back at work after adoption leave

My stay-at-home-dad journey is now over, my adoption leave has ended and I have joined the rat-race again. Oh how I’ve missed standing squashed under someone’s armpit, head tilted 45 degrees, trying to read my paper, while relying on the other sardines squashed onto the train to stop me from falling over as the train comes to a stop.

I’m sitting typing this as the girls nap upstairs on my first TFI Friday. I went back to work this week and I now work Monday to Thursday, so my TFI Friday is not about the weekend approaching but for it having already arrived. Yay!

I eased myself back into work this week as I had hit the jackpot with my new manager being away at a conference all week. I therefore spent most of the first day sharing stories, photos and videos of the girls with as many people as possible. I can’t tell you how many times people at work  have bored me with endless photos of their holidays, children or pets. A few choice photos are fine but I don’t need to see every detail. Yet even knowing this didn’t stop me from becoming one of those people and I merrily showed as many photos and videos of the girls as I could get away with without having my phone thrown out of the office window.

Having been starved of office gossip for over a year I sought out those loose-lipped colleagues who could give me the low-down on all the juicy office gossip. And boy was there some gossip. Lot’s of it.

It suddenly dawned on me as I looked at my holiday entitlement for the year that I should probably have gone back onto the payroll earlier, using some of my entitlement for this year. It would have meant those three hard months of being on zero pay would have been reduced. But I didn’t and I now find that I have got a ridiculous amount of leave to take. When I say ridiculous I obviously mean ridiculously fabulous! I spent a good chunk of a morning working out that I’ll need to take one week off every four weeks between now and March and planning when best to take it. The other half is very jealous of all the lie-ins I will get.

The rest of the week was filled with the inevitable calls to the IT department to get passwords reset for every bit of IT that I use. So lots of irritating music and being on hold. I attended a few meetings here and there and had the pleasure of experiencing the absolute novelty of receiving hardly any emails. All in all it was a good first week back, particularly because having started the girls at nursery four weeks before returning to work I knew they were happy and settled, which took a huge weight off my mind. When Thursday evening came I wandered around the office with such a smug grin on my face as I told people ‘see you on Monday’. It won’t last though. By next week I am sure it’ll feel like I never left. The work will pile up, the emails will come streaming in and the novelty of it all will have worn off.

It’s certainly not going to be easy juggling everything. I’m really not happy about setting the alarm clock for 6am; necessary so that I have enough time to get ready before the girls wake up like clock-work at about 6.50am. I am so not a morning person. It’s a mad dash to get them up, washed and dressed and out of the door by 7.50am for a brisk 10 minute walk to nursery before hoping that my three-part commute goes smoothly so that I can get into the office for 9am. The evening pick-up is not much easier either. I’ve already been that harassed looking parent running down the road trying not to get a lateness fine from the nursery.

Having said that I feel that once everything has settled down though that this phase of parenthood is going to be good. I get to engage my brain again, which I’m happy about but still get to spend a decent amount of time with my girls, including my special Friday when it’s just the three of us!

Our children are meeting their other siblings for the first time

It doesn’t feel like we ever stand still at the moment. Having returned from our holiday on Monday afternoon, then started back at work for the first time in a year on Tuesday; tomorrow we are taking the the girls to meet their two older brothers (who have been adopted together by the same family) for the first time.

We met up with the boys adoptive parents a couple of months ago, I suppose with the idea that we’d suss each other out and check we were all normal before introducing our children. They are a lovely couple and we got on really well with them and were both keen for our children to have direct contact with each other. To be honest they had me once they suggested they open a bottle of champagne!

We did actually end up meeting the boys and they were adorable, so well-mannered and there was definitely something about them that reminded us of our girls. Hopefully ours will turn out similarly well-behaved! We shared lots of photos and stories about our experiences, the boys asked us a few questions, which to my surprise didn’t include ‘why do they girls have two dads’ (maybe they saved that one for their parents). We all agreed to meet again soon to introduce the girls.

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Now that it’s approaching I am getting a bit nervous. I’m not sure what to expect to be honest. We’ve tried doing some very basic life-story work with the girls, mostly drawings with the girls of our little family and the boys with their parents and tried to explain that the boys are also a part of their family but it’s quite hard when they are both so young. They’ve not that long been used to the idea they themselves are sisters (they only met for the first time a year ago), let alone that they have these two older brothers that we’re only just mentioning.

We’re not sure how the boys, both at the older end of primary school age, will react to having two little sisters running around and probably attempting to climb all over them! Hopefully though it will be the start of a lifetime-lasting relationship. It’s really important to us for the girls to know who they are and where they’ve come from and knowing their older brothers is an important part of this.

Have you been in a similar situation? How has it all worked out? Any advice? Let me know in the comments.