One of my favourite words in Portuguese is saudades. It doesn't really have an exact translation to English. The closest word we have is missing but it's more than just missing something. It's a longing for something that's not there, a nostalgia for it even though it's not necessarily totally gone. The dictionary describes it as a melancholy yearning.

It's the exact word I need to describe how I'm feeling this week in the final few days of my maternity leave.

I know the reality of returning to work won't be all that bad. And I know I'll still have a day off each week with the kids plus weekends. And with half my time being spent working at home I'll be around for bedtimes more too. But it really does feel like the end of something, even more so than last time with Skye.

The last few weeks together as a family have been truly wonderful - full of slow days, playtime, being silly, eating meals together, long walks, special day trips and lots of cuddles. I'm so grateful we've had them and I actually think lockdown has helped us to enjoy and appreciate them more. It's going to be hard to leave them behind for our new normal.

I'm also worried about how everyone else is going to adapt to the change in routine. The days I'm in the office will be long which means long days for Kevin on his own with them both now he's taking over on parental leave. He'll be totally fine looking after them but with Max still battling bedtimes without me that will be a challenge. Skye is so used to me being here all the time I think she'll find the shift harder than we think too. I just hope it doesn't affect her behaviour too much.

There are positives I'm trying to think about too though. It will be nice to engage my brain with work again and to wear something other than loungewear for a day or two a week! I'm looking forward to seeing colleagues again (from afar) and catching up with other friends too.

It's just that the last 9 months have gone so quickly and I'm not quite ready for this stage to be over just yet. Now I'll be the one waiting on picture updates of the day and wondering if I've missed any big milestones. I'll be the one wanting every detail of the funny things Skye has said and how much Max ate for lunch and how much mess he made. I'll be the one trying to focus all my energy on a demanding job after another night's broken sleep when half the time my mind will be elsewhere.

I know once we all get into the swing of things it will be fine but for now all I feel is saudades.

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