Back to Work After a Long Break & What It’s Like

Sixteen years ago this July I went on maternity leave. In the end I opted not to return as it would make breastfeeding more difficult, and the eldest was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome that year and needed extra support. Since then we have managed on any disability related benefits and my husband’s wage. But now recently it felt like I should go back to work.

Back to work after a long break caring for the family

Difficulty Getting a Job with No Experience

So I ended up applying for quite a few jobs really. You may recall I was thinking about it ages ago! Starting with ones I really would like to do and eventually I applied to Cineworld for their VIP section. They told me that I didn’t have the desired skills. But at least they replied.

Before I went back to work I started volunteering

Trouble is I have a first degree but only worked in a school, a supermarket and a fast food chain – and then I have been a carer and blogging for just over a decade. Actually I even started volunteering to help get back into the swing of things, and have something else I could put down.

Why I Wanted to Go Back to Work

My husband does the school runs and I really just need to be available for when he can’t be. So that means if there’s an appointments in the day, school strikes, or if he has a meeting. Therefore I am free to do what I like but also need to be just available.

The Financial Side

Now I appreciate that not many people have this luxury but it really wasn’t a nice feeling. Having to pay for all my dental care, prescriptions (including my HRT) and opticians’ appointments out of my measly carers’ allowance I just felt I wasn’t really contributing. Plus with rising energy costs and living month to month on my credit card isn’t ideal.

Plus the fact that I spend money on massages, my gym membership and cold water swimming – I felt like a bit of a sponge. It made me feel like I should be doing stuff all the time to make up for it – cleaning, cooking and the like. But I hate that stuff so felt like I should always be doing it but without always doing it!

In a nutshell I felt like I would be able to allow myself time to relax if I worked – because it would be like I deserved it. Plus I would be contributing financially – making presents I bought for my other half feel like they were properly from me.

The Mind Side

A lot of this I imagine is due to the perimenopause. Feelings of anxiety about what would happen if I no longer had my husband. My life slipping away and what is my purpose now my children are starting to all leave home.

Back to work now my children are all growing up and leaving home

But also the brain fog had started to reappear again and I just felt that I needed to do something more to keep my mind active again.

Oh plus people have been really taking the mic with asking me to work for them. At least with paid employment you are guaranteed a wage and everyone gets it rather than taking it personally when people treat you like rubbish.

Back to Work At McDonalds

Then one night I just applied to go back to work at McDonalds on my phone. It was really easy and I even skipped the section about references. Within 2 days I had an interview and got the job. Lots has changed and it’s been really overwhelming. Getting used to not having a break when I want, being on my feet all day – told different things all the time – and generally just not having the freedoms that I am used to.

How’s It Going

Well it is hard to say at the moment. There have been many times when I have felt like quitting already but feel that that will just make me feel worse. Hopefully as I get used to things it will get easier. Also I am only part time so that should make things easier.

Adapting to the changes and getting my head around who is who. Luckily there’s some really nice people who work there. One of the changes is also that a lot more is online – which makes a lot of things much easier.

Also I am really lucky to have such a supportive family. Our fifteen year old son has taken over a lot of the cooking side of things for us – which helps enormously.

My first pay was disappointing. Still not seen a Pay Slip but I can only assume it is due to emergency tax – fingers crossed.

You may also be interested in:


3 thoughts on “Back to Work After a Long Break & What It’s Like”

  1. Congrats with the job! I have been trying to get back into work but so far I’ve had no luck. I even tried with McDonalds but they wanted people to do early mornings or evenings and I can’t as the bus service here is rubbish. I am sure something will come up soon.
    It sounds like the job is taking some getting used to, I worked in McDonalds when I was 17 years old and it is such hard work. That’s a shame that the first pay was disappointing, I hope you get the emergency tax sorted soon. x

  2. It is such a big change for you, but well done for going for it and sticking at it. No doubt it will get easier as you go along.
    I worked in McDonald’s for four years and remember it being physically tiring work!

  3. Its about so many things isnt it, do what makes you happy, what gives you that mental balance, what works for your family and it sounds as though they are, as always, supportive of your choice! Be kind to yourself and embrace the stretch of new x


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.