Three tips to help you return to work after maternity leave

If you have taken time off work due to maternity leave, then at some point that time off will end, and you will need to head back to the office.

This can be a scary, emotional, and sometimes exciting time for mothers, and it can be hard to prepare for.

To help you, here are three useful tips to ensure that the transition from being at home with your baby to going back to work once again is as smooth as possible. 

1) Work out if this is really what you want

Before you go back to work you need to decide whether this is actually something you want to do. Not everyone is able to choose not to work and to stay at home with their children, but if that option is open to you and you want to explore, now is the chance to do it. 

Alternatively, you may be worried that your job is all about long hours and stress and that you don’t want that when you also have a child to care for. In that case, you can use this time to search for another job that will give you the work-life balance and flexibility you need. 

Make sure you update your CV and look at LiveCareer to get your cover letter just right, especially if it has been a long time since you last applied for a job. 

2) Plan ahead 

The further in advance, you can plan your return to work, the easier it will be. You will feel a lot more prepared and you will have been able to organise the childcare that you are happy with.

It’s often not the work that is the biggest worry, but the fact that the child is going to be left with a child minder or in a nursery – once this part is sorted out to your liking, the rest follows on much more easily. So planning this particular element in advance and looking at all the available options is going to be for the best. 

You will also need to plan your routine. Before the baby you will have left the house at a certain time, caught a particular train, or driven a specific route, for example.

Is that going to be the same now, or will you need to change your old routine to ensure that you are able to give your baby breakfast and drop them off where they need to go? 

Also, what will happen if your child is unwell? Do you have a contingency plan in place? If not, it is wise to come up with one to save any panic if you find you cannot take them to nursery as expected one day. 

3) Look for training courses if you need them

You may have taken up to a year off from work, and in that time you won’t necessarily have been thinking about your old job and the tasks you used to do there – you will have been concentrating on and enjoying your new baby.

So when the time comes to start getting ready to go back to work, you might feel that you don’t remember enough or that your skills have become rusty. 

Why not organise some training? Going on a refresher course before you start back in your job will improve your confidence and ensure there is no skills gap. It is also a good opportunity to test the waters when it comes to leaving your child with someone else. 

Photo by Charisse Kenion