We are actually on holiday in France at the moment but over the week before we went away we had the end of Mr Spouse's studying and the first session at nursery for Baby Spouse. He sailed in and was fine and loved the baby room (and so did Baby Spouse... joking). I was sad that he didn't miss me/us! I am not sure if he just hasn't got to the stage of stranger anxiety or if he is anxious but does not cry always when anxious. He has several more mornings in nursery when I am not yet back at work so we can ease him in gradually. Mr Spouse is jobhunting so we have a little time together as a family.
But I am really beginning to see why people decide not to go back to work at all. It's not actually because I'll miss Baby Spouse while I'm at work, or because I want to spend all my time with him - I will miss him, but I don't want to spend all my time with him, or at least not just us at home - I'd still want him to go to a formal setting, with more of a variety of activities than I can provide. And it's not that I don't like my work, because I do, it's interesting and (often) rewarding. It's the relentlessness of it.
I've already had complaints that I didn't host a visitor I had invited at about the six week stage, complaints that I didn't provide some paperwork someone wanted immediately (because I was doing "other work" - the arrangement here is that you can do a limited amount of work on maternity/adoption leave by agreement with your line manager, but it's supposed to be limited or you lose your adoption pay as, after all, why should the government pay you not to work when you are, in fact, working? so you pick the urgent work, and pile up work until you have a day's worth/everyone's told you all the stuff that needs doing on X project - also a more efficient use of child care).
I may have said that I sorted out with my old line manager (who's now moved away) part time working and I also sorted out (which is legally my choice, not theirs) a return to work date. It's particularly important for us to make sure that childcare is a settled arrangement - for Baby Spouse's security especially. It's not something I will be discussing with my new line manager, or really with any other colleagues.
Now I've been told by my new line manager that I agreed to go back to work the previous week (wishful thinking on his part in fact) and two or three people have been moaning that it won't make much difference etc. etc., why not get Y person to babysit (who is qualified it is true, but who has met Baby Spouse once when awake, when he was 5 months old). I have not actually said but really felt like shouting IT IS OUR BUSINESS WHO CARES FOR HIM. The only reason he wants me to go back to work the previous week is because he didn't get his act together to get someone else to do something happening that week, which is not really my problem, and which actually doesn't even fit my timetabled schedule anyway (old line manager helpfully agreed to set working days for my part time work, rather than a random "you're working 3 days a week but when we feel like making you work them" which is useless for childcare). Again, new line manager has tried to suggest I "find" extra childcare.
And I have an ongoing issue with some paperwork that really needs doing but I can either wait till next year (which is to my detriment), scramble to do it now (which means it might not be done properly, which is also to my detriment), or moan that actually they should allow me extra time owing to having been on adoption leave (if the due date was while I was still on leave, I'd be looking at a discrimination case, but it isn't, so it's a grey area). I've talked to my union about this in fact but although retired union guy was very sympathetic, new union guy was more of a chocolate teapot and, you guessed it, suggested that going back to work early would solve everyone's problems in this area.
So do I feel excited and enthusiastic about going back to work? Funnily enough, no.