A year seemed like such a long time, but it wasn't enough. Four additional months of parental leave came and went and I still wasn't ready to leave my baby... And yet that's what had to be done. That's what has to be done for so many mothers and fathers every single day.
The cost of living means a double income family is not only standard but necessary.
I struggled when I was on unpaid leave because I felt like I wasn't contributing to the household. Yes, I was raising, minding, educating and attending to all other needs of our child but it was the first time I was not regularly earning and I felt guilty about it.
Children are expensive, you want to provide as best you can for them and that means working. Fast forward to being back in work and I feel guilty that I am leaving my child with someone else for the sake of going to work.
There is no right answer. There is no outcome where I feel I am doing the right thing, where I do not feel guilty for letting my baby down.
We are extremely lucky that my husband's aunt is minding our son. It means individual attention and the extra love and care of a family member, especially one you can trust. Still, returning to work was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.
A simple and casual comment about how the family were looking forward to having my son around made me realise it wasn't just the case of someone minding my son while I was in work, but that I would be sending my baby off to another family, for most of his day, five days a week.
I was devastated and it took a long time for me to come to terms with that realisation.
There is an upside though. Back in the office you have no choice but to be the most productive and efficient you can be.
Any form of procrastination delays getting home to my baby boy and so I avoid it at all costs. I'm back in work over a year now and still have the motivation to avoid the tea breaks and chats to ensure work is completed for an expedient exit.
Weekends also have a new meaning- family time. If you looked forward to them before, wait until it means catching up on snuggles with your toddler.