Friday, 4 p.m. and it’s over. I’ll take a last look at my desk, chuck that slowly softening apple that clearly no one will ever eat, make sure everything is in it’s place, and hand over the reigns. I’m going to walk away from my office for at least three months, trusting my coworkers and replacement to make sure everything keeps rolling smoothly.
Two years ago I spent hours prepping for my first maternity leave. I color coded all of my files, wrote extensive procedures for everything I touch, emptied my email of all pending tasks, and made myself sick with worry over all the things that could go wrong. This time around I didn’t do half of it. (Well, granted, once the files were color coded I never had to go back and redo it, but still.)
Two years ago everything was perfectly organized and everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, but the world didn’t stop turning and no one really cared that I wasn’t there to fix the problems. This time around I’m much more relaxed. Whatever happens, happens, and in the end, after 4 p.m. on Friday, it’ll be someone else’s problem.
For the next two days I will do my best to get all of my work wrapped up, then I’ll gather my things, say goodbye to my friends and coworkers and head off on maternity leave without a single glance back. For three glorious months I won’t have to make a single photocopy, answer a single work question, do any data entry, or calendar anything for anyone other than C, M, the baby or me. I know that maternity leave isn’t a sinecure, but compared to being a working mom to a toddler it’s going to feel like a long vacation.