Returning to work after having a child

Returning to work after having a child

Heading back to work after taking a career break can be difficult, especially in today’s job climate. Whether you have been on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, the prospect of heading back to normality, and into the workplace, can be daunting. From worries about being ‘out of touch’ with your job, to worrying about leaving your children under the care of someone other than yourself; there is a lot to digest, and it is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive.

Here are some things to bear in mind when you have had a break from the workplace:



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Some say the hardest challenge is building up the confidence to apply to jobs, as the lack of assurance becomes a barrier to parents who have opted to take a few years out of the workplace to look after their children. However, despite having some time away from the workplace, the experience you have gained – both from inside the workplace and at home – is highly valuable to employers.

Many parents who have taken time away from the workplace feel incredibly nervous about returning to work. After spending a considerable amount of time away, it is normal to feel uneasy about returning. It is advised to seek advice from other parents who have taken a break in their career and ask them how they managed to deal with the change in routine. Additionally, it is worth speaking to your employer or HR department and asking if it is possible to be flexible in the first few months, to help ease you into the new schedule and settle your youngster into new childcare arrangements.

Keep in touch with colleagues

Keep in touch with colleagues

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Keeping in touch with colleagues is a great opportunity to keep your relationships with your work friends and bosses. Taking time to visit your old workplace is a good way of familiarising yourself in the workplace and keeping up to date with what is going on. By doing this, it helps to remind you of the key skills you have learnt and keeps you in touch with the routine you had, therefore, not making it a complete shock to the system when you don’t have unpleasant surprises waiting for you when returning to work. Adding to this, these days are often paid by your employer, so efforts to keep in touch will not go amiss.



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Don’t be afraid to upskill to keep on top of current processes, policies and practices before you head back to the workplace. It is worth spending some of your free time sharpening up on some key skills, or learning something new, to put you in good stead when returning to work. Employers like to see that you have spent your own time to advance your skills and abilities and keep up with the ever-changing trends, as it shows you are eager to learn and work hard.

There are hundreds of courses available, depending on your industry, from IT to business management, to programming courses. Project Management is a popular choice as it is a widely respected and accredited course, offered by world leading Prince2 training providers. These courses can be completed at any time that suits you, with both Prince2 training online and weekend courses available, to avoid childcare issues.



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It is only human for a parent to feel anxious when placing your child into the care of someone else, whether this be another family member, a friend, a childminder or even nursery or school – especially if it is your first child. It is worth settling your child into their full childcare routine before you begin work again, to allow yourself and your child to become familiarised with the new schedule. Consequently, by the time you start back at work, you will know what works, and what doesn’t, for you and your child.


Organisation is key – it is important to plan your time effectively, to avoid rushing around when running to a tight schedule. For example, it is wise to plan your child’s outfit/uniform the night before and pack their bag – and do the same for yourself as well. This can help save you valuable time, as there’s nothing worse than trying to find items of clothing and your trusty notepad five minutes before you have to leave the house.

Going back to work needn’t be a massive shock to the system if you can plan and prepare for the next in advance. Lots of parents do it now and employers are far more flexible with parenting/work arrangements than they were ten years ago – so the system is on your side.

Good luck with your next chapter!

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Leyla Preston (583 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 6. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: