Of course you’ll feel sad when maternity leave is over. But Cat Neilan’s here to remind you that there are a few perks too…

The long days where minutes seemed to go backwards have passed. The short days, where suddenly you’d realise the baby wasn’t crying for no reason but the very good reason of not having been fed, have also passed. It’s time to swap cuddles for commuting and weaning for work. But it’s not all bad. Here are eight reasons to be cheerful about getting back in the saddle.

1) Going to the toilet alone

In the real world, it’s acceptable to shut the door to your loo. In fact, it’s positively encouraged. The unbound bliss of peeing in private is yours once again.

2) Finishing your lunch

You’ve probably forgotten what this feels like, so let me remind you. The food is still fresh – who knows, maybe even hot – when it goes into your mouth. There are no sad bits left taunting you from the table while you soothe a crying child who, naturally, fell headfirst into the fireplace while you dared to grab a bite to eat. You are full by the end of it. Amazing.

3) You are no longer a professional puree-er/bottom cleaner/skivvy/ball collector

Unless of course that is your job, but at least then you might actually get some gratitude for your efforts. In which case, where do I apply to become a ball collector?

4) You can wear jewellery that isn’t made out of rubber

The joy that is putting on a necklace made of metal, knowing it’s not going to be eaten/ripped off, is intense. And don’t even get me started on hooped earrings.

5) You can wear a real bra

Sorry Germaine, this is heaven.

6) You can have a conversation with someone who responds with more than a grunt

Assuming it’s not Monday morning of course. Just make sure you avoid talking about baby poo/lack of sleep. Oh, and your colleagues are really not interested in pictures of your pride and joy. Seriously, politics is more acceptable.

7) “Me time”

Aka the hour commute. Yes, you might be squashed into some sweaty City boy’s armpit in the height of summer but this is your time. Enjoy.

8) Getting paid

Savour those brief seconds before your pay gets sucked into the vortex of childcare, the mortgage, bills and travel. And then wonder what on earth you used to spend it all on before you became a parent.

@CatNeilan @mushmums