6 things I learned returning to work full time

6 things I learned returning to work full time
I recently returned to work full time – albeit for only three months before I go on maternity leave and embark on the next chapter – three kids under 4! But I’ve learned a lot in this short time, and I thought I’d share it with you:

1. Working is not “me time”

Nor, for that matter, is commuting to and from work. Nor is the “luxury” of a lunch break, which is usually spent eating last night’s leftovers or nori rolls at my desk. While I work.

I used to begrudge my husband for wanting personal time to catch up with friends or do things independent of us because he already spent up to 60 hours a week at work. I get it now. It’s not me time. It’s work. And as much as you might love your work or enjoy the company of your colleagues, it’s still work.

2. I don’t want to do anything on the weekend

6 things I learned returning to work full time

When I was working part-time I’d have the weekends planned in advance with interesting events and social occasions. These days, I just want to stay at home, potter and chill. I used to get so frustrated with my husband for “not contributing” to our social plans. But I get it now. Weekends are currently for rest, doing the things we really enjoy and our immediate family. Anything outside of that just hasn’t had a look-in.

3. I became a shit friend

Building on the above, I became a shit friend. I also have much more empathy for friends that work full time with children. I get it. I get why it takes days to reply to text messages, if at all. Because that’s me now. If you get me when I’m on the train or the 45 minutes between the kids going to bed and me going to bed, you might get a response. Otherwise I’m a shit friend. Sorry. I’m hoping it’s a temporary thing.

4. Outsource

Sweet baby cheeses if you can outsource – DO IT! Whether it’s buying your groceries online, or getting a fortnightly cleaner, or a nanny a couple of days of week so you come home to bathed and fed children – DO IT! Try and free up some of your time and outsource what you can. My cleaner is like dry shampoo these days – I seriously don’t know how I’d survive without either of them!

5. Children will adapt and trade you in

When I went back full time, my girls (1 and 3 years old) had a few behavioural things go on for a couple of weeks, but they adapted. It’s me who gets emotional these days – usually when I get over-tired or read too much hideous news. The girls see their dad more under this current arrangement and he’s become their go-to person at home. He is loving it and as much as it breaks my heart to not be that person anymore, I’m so happy to see their bond strengthen. It’s beautiful.

6. I appreciate my partner much more

6 things I learned returning to work full time

I appreciate my husband so much more than I used to. I have a much better understanding of what he goes through trying to juggle a full-time work load, progress his career, and be a good dad and husband; not to mention a good son, friend and brother. We’ve become closer through this process and his support during this time and modern approach to sharing the responsibility of ALL OF THE THINGS has made it possible.

Did you have any epiphanies when you returned to full-time work? Any tips on raising three kids under 4? I don’t know what’s going to be more challenging!

Disclaimer: I am not trying to spark a working mothers v SAHM debate. I recently wrote about owning choices and supporting each other no matter what that choice is. Returning to work full time is a choice I made and own, and I am grateful to have had.


Written By

Sarah is a worker, writer, reader, feminist, avid cook, gardener, mother of two small girls and wife to a crane driver. She enjoys the feeling of grass under her feet, the smell of a mid-week roast chook in the oven, heated debates about politics and online shopping. She's working hard to know she is enough in a world that is trying hard to tell her otherwise.

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