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Retrospect Series #2: “Grafton Street’s a wonderland…” - Strength Within
Dublin, Ireland 00353868057761 claire@strengthwithin.ie

Retrospect Series #2: “Grafton Street’s a wonderland…”


Retrospect Series #2: “Grafton Street’s a wonderland…”


It’s now been exactly two months since my littlest joined his big brother in crèche and I waved goodbye to my second little baba at the crèche door for the first time. Two months after my first return to work, I wrote the post below. I still remember that day…it was a beautiful sunny day on Grafton Street and I was feeling pensive; I had settled into the routine of being back in work but the emotions lingered and some days I still struggled with the transition from ‘we’ to ‘I’, of being just one person and not having my little baba around.

I can honestly say I haven’t really felt the same this time around. Perhaps it’s because I had been working for some time before he went to crèche; working around naps, Daddy’s availability and family help. Perhaps it’s because I’m now self-employed and that can bring its own loneliness challenges, and benefits. As I write this today, I’m sitting at my kitchen table at home, having booked a day without clients so I can catch up on my admin. It’s great, but lonely.

I also think a big part of it is that I’m a few years down the track and long enough to know that having little chubby hands grasping for you is gorgeous, and fleeting; and having none for a few hours is blissful, and peaceful. And I have learnt to savour each of these different moments more successfully.



Snapshot of my sunny lunch on Grafton Street in the Summer of 2015:

Today I had lunch (7th August 2015)

Today I had lunch. On my own.

I sat in a café overlooking Grafton street on this gloriously sunny day and silently ate my healthy paleo nut loaf (no judgement) and watched the goings-on below. I watched the busy office workers rushing about. The tourists meandering by. The families out and about in the sun. Some musicians setting up for the afternoon. Laura Lynn fundraisers trying to get people to pose in a cardboard photo frame. A sketch artist taping pictures to Bewleys window.

I watched the builders refurbishing Bewleys building sit out on the 2nd floor balcony taking their break. I watched them watch people.

It was still, calm, peaceful, and quiet - save for some indistinguishable background music and chatter. It was bliss. And lonely…I kind of wanted to cry.

I felt like my mind was clear and I thought about what I wanted ahead of me, personally and professionally. I thought about starting this blog and captured some ideas on my phone while eating some chocolate mousse.

And then I walked briskly up Grafton street and went back to work.


I remember how time spent using my brain to focus on work again had really helped me to clear my mind, and crystallize my thoughts…and work on the beginnings of a plan that would bring me to where I am today. Within the following 6 weeks I had signed up for a post grad Diploma in Business, Executive and Personal Coaching with the Coach Institute, had joined Cuidiú Board and had discovered I was expecting baba #2. Fueled by some lunchtime head space and a surprisingly tasty nut-loaf 😛


Other Mamas of 2 or more children, did you find going back differed each time? How long did it take you to settle back in? I’d love to hear your stories…


Claire Flannery is the Founder and Owner of Strength Within coaching and consultancy, where she focuses on helping people create the headspace and mental clarity to discover, cultivate and maximise their strength within. She is a qualified Business Psychologist, Executive, Business & Personal Coach and Gentlebirth Instructor with over a decade of experience working in HR leadership in Financial Services. She is also a Mum to two small boys and has personal experience of successfully managing her career while preparing to transition out of, and back into, the workforce; and is passionate about helping people to successfully navigate the huge identity and life transition involved in starting and growing a family. As a large part of her work, she is privileged to work with women and their partners as they make their journey through pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Along with Coaching services, she runs Gentlebirth and Return-to-Work workshops in Dublin, Ireland.

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