It was a Thursday, seven weeks in. The mother of my infant son had a couple of sequential days off work and planned to take him back to Suffolk for her parents to dote and friends to coo. Given it’s not socially acceptable to go to parent and baby sessions without a baby, and everyone I know is generally at work during the week, I arranged a ‘keep in touch’ day.
KIT days are an opportunity to go to work without needing to do any work. The idea is to attend team meetings, training sessions, seminars and the like – so you keep loosely up-to-date and don’t go back to work totally cold. And, because they are paid, they are also one of the greatest wheezes of the parenting business. Imagine getting paid to go to work and, quite legitimately, not getting your laptop out, checking e-mails, answering your phone. Not really doing very much at all, in fact. And you can do ten of them, subject to your employer agreeing. If nothing else, they’re a handy top up to Shared Parental Pay – especially for those taking a longer period of time out.
But it was really useful. I sat in on a supplier meeting in the morning and our home team meeting in the afternoon. The time around and between was useful for general immersion in office life, a good opportunity to listen and observe while not needing to be doing anything else and not needing to be involved. I found it a valuable and interesting exercise, perhaps something to try and do from time to time in the future. It being a Thursday, the apres-work was also pretty good. Bear in mind, though, the trendy wine bar near your place of work is unlikely to subscribe to a pricing strategy where patrons can get drunk for a tenner. If your main alcohol intake has been at parent and baby sessions in a local working mens, sports, or political club, this will come as something of an unpleasant surprise, a bit like the first round you buy in London in January after you’ve spent the previous fortnight up north.
Being back at work for real is an altogether different experience. It’s not like work was before, even when he was around. It feels strange to drop him at nursery on a morning and continue on without him; the last couple of months we’ve been everywhere and done everything together. The doctors, stay and play, swimming, the pub. He’s my little dude and I am bereft without him. I am sad for me, not for him – I know he is having a great time at nursery and developing at pace. I am sad for me, not for him – I feel like we should be sharing as many great times as possible, adventuring out in the world together.
But at least we have the whole of the future.