Outdoor Instructor | Work After Having a Baby
By Sam Phillips
Life is all about adventures, having a baby is a huge adventure...
I've worked at Land & Wave for 6 years and started maternity leave in September 2019, ready for my little boys arrival in October.
I then spent an incredible 9 months bonding with my baby, finding my feet as a new mum and, frankly, just surviving some of the time.
It's been my steepest learning curve to date and was such a dramatic change to life as I knew it.
We've had the best times, the worst times, times when I wanted to scream and times when I could burst with love and joy because of this little monkey.
Ultimately we'd had 9 months of intense closeness - I only ever left him for 2 hours max at a time for a weekend run or an evening paddle board.
Then maternity was somehow almost over and I was due to return to work. This left me with VERY mixed feelings.
I'd been out of the game for so long the prospect of leading sessions in the great outdoors was daunting.
What if I forgot what to do?! What if I just wasn't competent anymore?
Leaving Jack at Home
An even bigger worry was leaving my son. How would he cope? How would I cope? Could I even do it?!
I was contemplating handing in my notice.... but knew that I would really regret it. I love my job.
So, that first morning on my first day back I held him tighter than I ever had, cried a LOT and gave him as much boob as possible to ensure he had a full belly!
I drove to work fighting back tears and trying to compose myself.
I was anxious of my capabilities now and worried about being able to slot back in.
Getting Back Home
Within 5 minutes it was like I'd never been away from work. The day started and, amazingly, I did remember what I was doing.
I loved it and to be honest barely thought about my baby all day... I was too busy getting stuck back in.
I realised how good this was for me - to have a bit of 'me' back again. I left work excited to see my little one and hoping that he had been OK.
I burst through the door to greet him, expecting a grand display of joy at our reuniting. He barely batted an eyelid - turns out he had a lovely time with Nana and was good as gold.
Jumping Back In
The next day I was coasteering all day and it felt GOOD being back in the water doing what I love.
I feel refreshed and invigorated as a mum as having those breaks from him means that our time together now is even more special.
It's also great timing as he happens to be teething so passing his irritability to my husband or mum is actually a welcome relief every now and again.
I have returned to work part time for the moment, which gives me balance.
I am still with Jack plenty - I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.
but I also have a bit of 'me' back, the chance to use my brain again (for more than just baby stuff).
Being lucky enough to work outdoors means I can enjoy some of my favourite things without the responsibility of hauling around a 11 kg baby, changing nappies and dealing with nap schedules...
It was a tough, extremely emotional, process but I'm happy.
Words By Sam Phillips - Lead Instructor