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!

My back-to-work life spring-clean starts here

Gosh when I wrote in my opening post that I didn’t know when I’d find the time to write I didn’t expect to have a gap of seven weeks between posts! I just don’t know where the time goes? Well actually I do – trips to A&E, family bereavements and funerals and kids birthday parties galore are just some of the things that have happened over the last few weeks.

Quite what it will be like once I’m back at work is anyones guess. Maybe I’ll have to take a days annual leave to write my next blog post? Anyway I’m here now and all it’s taken is a double wisdom teeth extraction this morning to give me the chance to sit still, guilt free, for long enough to write a blog post. As long as the pain-killers continue to work I might even finish it.

Time is flying by at the moment and I now find myself with just under four weeks until I go back to work (eek – this definitely warrants a separate post). One of those weeks will be spent in the French countryside with the other-half, the girls and my in-laws on a much needed holiday. For the rest of the time I have the luxury of some me-time as both girls are now at nursery four days a week (sob/hooray – depending on my mood). The other-half has not stopped going on about my free-time, dishing out jobs he thinks I should be doing and complaining that he hasn’t had any free time to himself; but I deserve it. It’s been a hard year. I think of this as my annual leave entitlement from my ‘job’ as a stay-at-home-dad all rolled into one.

As tempting as it is to spend the whole time sitting on the sofa stuffing my face whilst watching Netflix box-sets, or just generally procrastinating and wasting my time on a whole host of useless activities (see previous blog post); I’ve actually decided to use this time to do a much needed spring-clean of my life. Yes yes, obviously I know it’s autumn, but it feels appropriate and timely to do something to mark my transition from stay-at-home-dad to full-time-(squashed into a four-day week) worker.

I’m going to focus on four key areas of my life – Home, Mind, Body and Soul – and I plan to make some hopefully simple but effective improvements to make coping with the busy juggling of family, work and personal-life that little bit easier. Hopefully this will all result in a happier, healthier, calmer and more fun me that will benefit the girls, the other half and myself. I live in hope anyway.

I’ve decided I’m going to a write a separate post for each different area, to keep each one a decent length and, if I’m being completely honest, to ensure that I’ve got four posts lined up to keep me motivated to blog even when I might struggle to find the time! Wish me luck.