I've had the same two books on my bedside table for the past three months - two lots of Louise Candlish, an author I've loved. Pre-baby me would have devoured those books in a week. Post-baby me has just ordered two new books on - you guessed it - motherhood. I have been swallowed whole by the motherhood whale. Just call me Jonah.

Tomorrow marks my last official working day of maternity leave.

Unsurprisingly, owing to the current global crisis, this was not the original plan.

I planned to take the full year off - something I really battled with pre-baby. I finished up work shortly before my 29th birthday and felt almost guilty. How would I fill a year without work... even with a baby in tow?

Naturally, as I became a mother, I received the mother of all shocks: life with a baby is all consuming. I haven't learned a new language, written a novel or taken up sewing. I haven't got particularly fit (although carrying an 8.5kg baby will tone your arms for sure). I haven't polished my professional skills. I haven't redecorated the house. Heck I haven't even shaved my legs recently.

It's all I can do to stay on top of the ever-growing pile of laundry alongside meal planning for an almost-10 month old and diving for her every time she pulls herself up on the coffee table/sofa/playpen (choose any, they all apply). Oh and remember my work email password. What is my work email password?

Mission maternity: complete. Ish. I've kept her alive and well and happy, that's the job I took on (for life).

The first month or two were 80% awful and I won't apologise for that admission. I really struggled with those first few weeks; surviving on 2-3 hours broken sleep a night with a reflux-y baby, a healing you-know-what and sore nipples. Not to mention the anxiety. Did I mention the anxiety?

Every month brought with it new delights and new challenges. All the amazing milestones - smiling, rolling over, saying "Mama" and "Dada", sitting, standing, clapping - have brought uncomplicated joy so pure I could cry. I'm so proud of my girl for growing so well... and damn proud of myself, too. There's growth there, too.

So I'm back to work on Monday for my mental health, as much as the bonus of being paid, talking to adults that aren't my husband and actually using my brain for something more than nursery rhyme lyric storage. I'm lucky to work for an amazing company who are super flexible in their approach, so I'm hopeful that juggling childcare won't be too awful. It'll be tough, for sure. But I've got a militant routine calendar on the kitchen wall with details for nappies, meals, milk feeds, naps, the Milton tank. It's going to be fine, right? Right.

Throughout the last 10 months, I've been honoured, humoured and humbled. In spite of the tough bits, having a daughter has been my life's greatest privilege... and becoming a mother has truly been the breaking and the making of me.

But it's time. I have to get a little 'me' back.

Starting... Monday.