Stacey Solomon is 'nervous' about the end of maternity leave - here's how to cope

Watch: Stacey Solomon reveals daughter's name

TV presenter and tidying guru Stacey Solomon has admitted that she's nervous about returning to work after maternity leave.

Posting to social media, the Loose Women presenter said she loved her job but was “so sad” that three months had already gone by since she gave birth to her daughter Rose.

The much-loved star, who is also mother to son Rex with fiancé Joe Swash, and sons Zachary, 13, and Leighton, nine, from previous relationships, gave birth to her youngest child on 4 October, which also marked her 32nd birthday.

Solomon shared photos of her newborn daughter to her Instagram story and wrote: “I love my job so so much but oh my gosh I’m sad that my maternity leave is almost over.

"I’m getting so nervous to go back.”

She also posted a video collage from when Rose was born, and added: “I’m actually so sad that three months has gone by already.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Stacey Solomon and baby son Rex attend the
Stacey with baby Rex in 2019. (Getty Images)

“I’m so grateful to have had these beautiful months but why oh why does it go so quick.

“It’s been the most magical three months Rose. I can still smell your newborn smell.”

The TV presenter also posted a photo to Instagram of her holding her baby daughter with the pair dressed all in pink to mark the newborn turning three months old.

She wrote: “Three Whole Months. How did this happen Rose?

Three wonderful months of loving you. My daughter. My Rose. Now can we please just stop time for a little while - my heart can’t take it.”

She's not alone in feeling regretful that her maternity leave is drawing to a close. One Show presenter Alex Jones has also admitted this week that she feels 'anxious'.

Read more: Stacey Solomon marks three months of baby Rose with gorgeous photo of the pair

Alex Jones, with her baby daughter Annie, arrives at the TRIC (Television and Radio Industries Club) Christmas lunch at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London. Picture date: Tuesday December 7, 2021.
Alex Jones, with her baby daughter Annie, just before Christmas. (Getty Images)

The TV presenter had been on maternity leave since giving birth to her daughter, Annie, on August 21.

She’s now back in The One Show's studio.

‘My husband Charlie's on paternity," she said, "and I need to learn to let go a bit of things at home. Let him do it his way. Tricky.’

She added that she was "a little bit anxious, but it’s fine.’

The presenters' nerves will resonate with many mums who have just returned to work after maternity leave.

Feeling nervy and afraid that things will have changed - perhaps not for the better - in your absence is normal, says parenting expert Kirsty Ketley - and so is feeling guilty.

"Mum guilt arrives along with the baby and is something that you may never fully be rid of," she says, "but heading back to work is not something to feel guilty about.

"There will undoubtedly be bad days but there is no reason that you can't be successful in both jobs, you just have to embrace the choices that you have made and look for the positives to you being a working mum."

Read more: Maternity leave rights all new mums should know about, according to a personal finance expert

Young family at home
You can't do everything at once - so let go of the guilt... (Getty Images)

When you do return to work, adds Ketley, "you are no use to work or your family if you are burnt out, so scheduling in some time for yourself is important.

"In my experience, working mums are the worst for not looking after themselves - they are dedicated to both their jobs, which is great but it can lead to burnout and subsequently being unable to fulfil both their roles."

If you can, practice a little self care. "Fit time in to exercise, read a book or meet up with friends and try to eat well and get enough sleep."

Business psychologist Lee Chambers adds that "the maternity transition back to work is often challenging, being out of the flow and rhythm, with new priorities and a differing life balance.

"The first thing to do is to accept it's a situation like no other, and everything will be in flux, from your sleep, to your identity and potential feelings of guilt.

Those lovely calm back-to-work mornings... (Getty Images)
Those lovely calm back-to-work mornings... (Getty Images)

"It is vital that you are gentle with yourself," he adds, "especially during the first month, which will feel like chaos no matter how prepared you are.

"Life will have changed significantly, and just like the weather, this period will pass in time, and it’s important to find that bit of kindness and compassion for ourselves."

It's equally important to try and set realistic expectations of what you can achieve and the time it will take to find a rhythm between work and home, he adds.

"Sticking to a schedule and making others aware of this helps to create routine, which is a positive anchor in a challenging time.

"Doing this also allows you to be flexible when you need to be. And seek support and encouragement from other parents - they will have been there and have great advice."

Get together with fellow parents to share advice. (Getty Images)
Get together with fellow parents to share advice. (Getty Images)

Chambers suggests at least one 'practice run' before your return, with a dry run for the childminder and your commuting time.

"I'd always suggest some practice runs to help make an informed decision about your working pattern for returning," he explains. "Ideally, try to not go all in, with five long days in the first week."

And don't be afraid of speaking to your employer and being clear on boundaries, Chambers says.

"Be proactive in trying to get them to see how you would like the future to play out. An honest and direct conversation can get some clarity for you about how flexible your employer will be, and how you can work this to your advantage."

Watch: Mom uses thousands of data points to show the workload of maternity leave

Additional reporting, PA Media