Starting a family is one of the biggest life changes you can decide to make. A natural progression
as you get older, most couples will know when the time is right to start trying for a baby and will be
eager to introduce a new family member to the world. Having children is a blessing to be
cherished, a time to celebrate life, and new challenges along the way, but it certainly does not
come without its sacrifices.
If you’re quite career-driven before taking this next step in life, it might be difficult to get your head
around how much your daily routine will change. Leaving a job you’re incredibly passionate about,
even if it’s just for the minimal maternity leave period, can be a stressful and anxious time. Many
women feel having a child will hold them back in their career, and others feel it will stop them
altogether. Others actually welcome the changing path as a chance to focus their goals on family
life rather than work.
Whichever way you decide to tackle parenthood, you’ll be immersed in your new arrival so much
that work will become a distant memory rather quickly and it will be hard to get back into the swing
of things after time away. Whether you’re returning to a familiar office environment after the first
year of your child’s infancy or trying to embark on a whole new career after twenty years as a stay
at home parent, there are plenty of ways to make the transition back more bearable.
Returning to the Same Job After Maternity Leave
There are comforting elements to look forward to when returning to a familiar office after maternity
leave but definitely some concerning factors too. You’ll walk into a recognizable space, sit back at
your own desk and see lots of friendly faces around the room. You’ll have the opportunity to catch
up with old friends and make new connections with staff that has arrived in the interim.
It’s easy to worry about being left behind while you’re away, not remembering how to fulfill your
work properly and feeling nervous that someone has swopped in and filled your empty chair. To
put your mind at rest, try and incorporate these elements into your maternity leave period:
Visit the Office With Your Newborn
When you feel settled and ready, organize a day to visit your work colleagues with your new
arrival. It’ll be great for them to see you with your new bundle of joy and catch up with any news
that has occurred since your departure. Schedule in days to do this throughout your maternity
leave. Try and participate in social events outside of the office with your work colleagues too; it’s a
great way to stay connected to the outside world as parenthood can be quite isolating in the initial
Ask Whether You Can Be Kept in the Loop
It’s a given that you should not be actively working during maternity leave and you probably won’t
even have time to think about work with all the baby’s needs to keep up with. However, if it will help
relieve some anxiety, ask whether you can continue to have access to your work emails and be
informed of any significant changes while you are away. So long as you don’t infringe on the
individual carrying out your maternity cover, this tactic can make coming back to work a lot easier,
and everyone will know where they stand when you return.
Have a Handful of Welcome Back to Work Days
About a month before you are due to come back to work, start to visit the office for an afternoon or
a couple of days a week to get to grips with current projects and tasks. An extended handover
period between you and your maternity cover will ensure workflow continues, and you won’t be
dropped in at the deep end when they leave. See whether you can participate in meetings via
Skype if that helps you keep up to date.
Ask Whether You Can Work From Home
Many new parents find it difficult leaving their children to go back to work; it can be a stressful and
emotional time being torn between the two and parents often feel like they are not doing either role
to the best of their ability. Ease yourself into a new routine with a couple of home working days if
possible, you’ll be able to catch up with your emails without feeling guilty about leaving your infant
with a carer.
Embarking on a New Career Altogether
An alternative to taking traditional maternity leave from work after having a baby is to stop working
at your current job and take a break from work until your child is a bit older. This doesn’t always
have to be a negative thing. Not only will you have the chance to focus on your family, but it will
give you the opportunity to evaluate your next career step in life and decide what you really want to
With time and maturity on your side, you’ll be able to choose a new work-life that fits around your
infant’s needs without feeling guilty about leaving them at home or in a nursery. Some employers
may gravitate towards a candidate that has already started a family as they are usually more
settled in life and can become a dependable, long-term employee. Consider these following
options when starting a new career path:
Start an Online Course to Fit Around Your Family’s Needs
Having a newborn may be the perfect time to begin furthering your education as they’ll be times
when your baby is napping, and your hands will be free for a few hours. You may have a passion
you’ve always wanted to explore, or your new arrival may even inspire your next career path. A
percentage of parents opt to home school their kids so perhaps an online teaching course would
be wise. Others discover a passion for childcare after experiencing it first hand, and there are
plenty of online courses to get involved in. Click here to find out what you can learn.
Don’t Forget to Utilize Your Previous Work Experience
Just because you’ve become a parent does not mean your career needs to be put on hold. This
time away from the office can be used as a period of reflection and a great opportunity to updateyour resume. Spend time writing about your skill set and previous work experience. Include further
attributes you can bring to the role from becoming a parent as there are plenty of responsibilities
here that are transferable to office life.
Search for Flexible and Remote Job Roles
Parenthood doesn’t always have to feel like you’re tied down, it can actually feel quite freeing being
away from your desk position, which is usually compulsory from nine to five throughout the year.
Whether you’re homeschooling or taking advantage of the school holidays, it’s nice to explore the
world with your kids, and thanks to the digital age we all live in, work can come along with you if
needs be. Search for home-based roles or job opportunities online that can fit in with family life
even when you’re on the road.
Reach Out to Other Parents
Take inspiration from other parents around you or be active on online support forums. You’ll find a
lot of inspiration on the steps you want to take next and might find another parent in the same boat.
Two heads are always better than one when it comes to ideas and problem solving, so try and
build a new parent community around you.
Start Your Own Business From Home
Being around the house more often with your newborn could be the perfect opportunity to startyour own business from scratch. Who knows where this new work adventure could take you, it
might grow into an established family business providing work opportunities for your own children
when they are old enough. There are definitely more responsibilities to think about being your own
boss, and you’ll need to get your head around the basics of running a business, but it can provide
an incredible work-life balance if you get it right.
Whichever path you choose to take, it is important to keep a goal in mind and take out valuable
time for yourself. Your children will benefit immensely from a parent that sets an example and goes
out and achieves their goals. If you are happy and fulfilled in your own life outside of parenthood,
you will no doubt become a better, happy parent in return.
Setting limitations on what you can achieve will only have a negative effect on the family as a
whole. Returning to work can be achieved in multiple ways and there should be a pathway for all. If
you’re starting to get itchy feet, remember to stay connected and ask questions about potential
opportunities on the horizon, you’ll never know what could come your way.