Top tips for returning to work after maternity or paternity leave

Taking time off to bond, look after and nurture your children is an incredible thing. But for many, at some point we have to think about heading back to work after maternity, paternity or shared parental leave. People return to work for many reasons. It can be for career-focused or financially-driven reasons. We go through all kinds of emotions when need to focus more on work again. Here’s seven top tips for helping you to return to work…

  1. Organise your week a little…You don’t need to go into military planning mode. Pick three things that you really want to be organised around the home. Three that will make you feel better during the week. Research some tricks to organise your week.
  2. Your little one will love you just the same when you’re at work…Kids luckily don’t have any concept of time. We will always be their parents wherever we are. Also remind yourself that you don’t love your child any less because you’re not spending each day or moment with them. I really believe being apart from our kids is good for their development (and ours!)
  3. Make nice plans for family time…Plan some nice activities that work for your lifestyle. They don’t have to be full on day trips across the country. Share the plans with your children so they know you will all be doing something together. Even talking to our babies and toddlers about our week ahead is good for the parents.
  4. Build your support network – I’m not just talking about child-care back up here. Just as important is the emotional side of things. Who can you speak to or message when you feel rubbish about being at work. None of us are robots and we will go through different emotions as working parents. Is there someone at work who you can talk to  about your return to work challenges? Or maybe a friend who understands you and your situation really well?
  5. What’s in it for you? Yes, be selfish! Focus on the pluses of  being at work. Many people joke and write about the fact you can enjoy a hot drink when you want. Are you looking forward to the social elements of being back at work?  Don’t forget the time you have to yourself commuting to work. How are you going to make the most of your journey into work? List out the benefits of returning to work for you as an individual. Don’t let mum guilt or dad guilt distract you. Check out some tips on dealing with mum guilt here. 
  6. Celebrate your WOW moments at work…It’s hard to focus on yourself when you’re in the swings of things at work. It’s good to remind yourself why you’re in your job; what are you great at? Don’t be afraid to celebrate your achievements. Jot down those winning moments at work. When you’re having a tough day at work you can pop back to your WOW moments list. It also comes in handy for any performance review or appraisal meetings.
  7. Take it easy on yourself…When you head back to work, keep the first few weekends free so you can play it by ear as a parent and a family. If this isn’t possible then carve out some me-time. Although you’ve been at work you still need to time to recharge. Working weeks are hectic, there’s not doubt about it. You might not get everything ticked off your home-chore list. We often worry about what we need to do on our lists. But how about thinking about what we don’t need to do on the list? Taking it easy on yourself  also means thinking of and planning  some practical me-treats so you can look after yourself a bit.

I’ll be sharing more tips about returning to work and managing your working life in the Career series on If there’s something you’d like to hear more about just let me know.

What top tips so you have about returning to work after maternity or paternity leave? Anything you looked forward to about going back to work? Anything you didn’t like? Leave a comment below if you have a free mo…

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7 thoughts on “Top tips for returning to work after maternity or paternity leave

  1. The Pramshed says:

    Brilliant post Sunita and I completely agree about writing down a list of wow moments, I think that’s a really confidence boost for anyone returning to work after a period of absence when we are most likely worrying a lot about our confidence. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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