*As featured in Mummys Busy Blogging*

I was greeted by laughter when I told my colleagues that I was having 9 months of maternity leave. “Two weeks,” they said, “we’ll give you two weeks before you’re back” they were obviously joking but I knew where they were coming from. I’d been a workaholic since the age of 18, working for a convenience chain of a supermarket for the past 7 years, across 3 different stores, I had made each my baby. I would itch after a few days holiday, wondering how things were ticking, did (insert colleagues name here) return after their bout of absence? did my peers remember to do (insert boring admin task here)?

When I was there, I worked long hours. Although granted, in the past 2 years it had been more out of necessity for the store than for love of the job. My last few months before my maternity leave was tough. Yes I was a wobbling beached whale but it was more than that, it was mentally tough, there was stress being thrown at us from every direction and without going into the details, that stress put my manager in the hospital. Naturally, it would be down to me to step up to the mark and take on that dump truck of stinking stress manure being tipped on top of us.

Leah will deal with it. Leah will do the extra day this week. Leah will stay a few more hours… but Leah was 7 months pregnant and Leah had had enough. I’m not sure what it was that switched inside me. Whether it was the growing little human telling me to slow down, or the realisation I was no longer killing myself for this job, but killing us both. And all for a company that would replace me in a second if it was me laying in that hospital bed. Either way, I’d checked out, I was riding the pregnancy wave all the way to mat leave and out of that door, keys dumped on the desk behind me.

Two weeks. Two weeks passed and then two months until I got my first phone call. I hadn’t given work a single thought. I no longer cared about that record week of sales or who had been absent and I most certainly didn’t want to be asked how to do that boring admin task, that no-one but me knew how to do. So why the hell were they ringing?

Redundancy. Holy shit that’s a scary word and one that took me back. I had the option to reapply for a ‘similar’ role in which I could be stationed in any location within an hours drive from home. Required to do any shift at the drop of a hat. These things were already pretty much a given, however now it was written in a contract… and now I had a baby. It took a few consultation meetings for them to openly come out and say I could choose not to apply and still get the redundancy pay, and without even giving them a second to breathe I had made my decision and I was gone.

If it hadn’t been for my gorgeous little boy I would have applied for the new role, and I probably would have got it. And I would still be stuck in a pile of stinking stress manure… or in a hospital bed… or worse
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