10 Best Tips For Going Back To Word After Maternity Leave

10 Best Tips For Going Back To Word After Maternity Leave

Returning to work after maternity leave is a significant milestone for mothers. It marks the beginning of a new chapter, blending the responsibilities of parenthood with professional life. This transition, however, comes with its own unique set of challenges and emotions.  

Why is it so hard to return from maternity leave? 

As new mothers, you may relate to the feeling of exhaustion and uncertainty about how to get back to working at full capacity after being on maternity leave. The process of returning to work can become difficult as you would have formed an emotional bond with your baby during this leave period, making it difficult to leave them and return to the office.  

Emotions you may feel and how to cope with them 

It is normal to experience a mix of emotions from excitement, fear and apprehension while you are planning this transition. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, and the pressure to balance work and family responsibilities also contribute to the complexity of this transition. However, there is hope in knowing that there are ways to manage and transition smoothly into this phase of life post maternity leave. 

What do I need to know before going back? 

According to a study done in 2022 (Costantini Arianna, et al), returning to work after maternity leave can be less emotionally taxing if you have adequate social support from people you trust, which also leads to better focus while getting back to work.  

Hence it is important to understand and manage these emotions at the right time, identify and strengthen your support systems and be well-prepared before getting back to full-time work.  

10 Tips for Going Back to Work after Maternity Leave 

Let us look at a few tips to make the transition back to work post maternity leave, a smoother one for you:  

Understand your “why”

Before becoming a parent, you would have actively decided and chosen a job/career for a particular reason (for example, out of interest or necessity). It can help to remind yourself of that reason – what was it that made you say “yes” to your current role? What makes you want to resume work now? For example, resuming work post maternity leave can aid financial security, boost confidence and self-image, provide intellectual stimulation, gaining skills and raises in the upcoming years that you might have missed out on if you were to stay at home, and many more. It can therefore help to strengthen your motivation and preparation by reflecting on this.  


Organizing your return well in advance involves creating a schedule for yourself that accommodates both work and family responsibilities, planning for childcare, and ensuring you have a reliable support system in place (or taking time to identify and build on resources and support you may require) before and during your return to work. If possible, you can also consider a phased return to work, starting with part-time hours or shorter workdays to help you adjust gradually. 

Stay connected during Leave

There could be times when you are apprehensive about how to catch up on all the changes and pending work that might have come up during your leave, which would continue to keep you in a state of uncertainty and fear. However, it can help to stay in touch with people from your workplace during maternity leave itself. For example, staying informed about changes and updates, maintaining connections with colleagues in some form to make it easier when you return to the office, or having a check list of tasks or updates you would want to learn about once you return to work.  

Update Your Skills

Try to refresh your professional skills and knowledge during your maternity leave to stay updated about your industry and boost your confidence by learning new skills or re-familiarizing yourself with the skills/knowledge you already have. For example, attending workshops, online courses, or industry events, or getting in touch with colleagues or friends who can guide you on the same.  

Open Communication

While returning to work, even if you are prepared with how to gradually get back to your full capacity of work, there could be challenges that come up once you start work again. Hence, it can help to communicate openly with your employer/manager about your needs, expectations and challenges if any, or even to discuss flexible work arrangements and any other adjustments if you are noticing difficulties with balancing responsibilities upon your return to work.  

    Reframe Your Mindset

    While it can certainly be difficult to fulfill the responsibilities of being a “working mom”, it helps to remind yourself of how lucky you are to be one! Gratitude has a compounded positive influence on happiness, which you can read about here. This also means your choice of words matters the most when you are talking to yourself or thinking about a situation/event.

    Hence, it can help to stop thinking of the things you have to do as a working mother and instead reframe these thoughts as things you get to do. For example, if you say you “have to” leave work early to feed your child, it’s framed negatively, whereas if you say you “get to” go home early to feed your child, the same situation is automatically perceived with more gratitude. This technique of reframing may take time, but experimenting with this can help you observe whether it is helpful or not.  

      Reconnecting and building relationships with colleagues

      For some, the role of being a new mother can be quite isolating, as juggling responsibilities (that may still be quite new to you) can drain your energy and free time, making it difficult to attend social events (at work or otherwise). But it could be worth the effort to start rebuilding relationships with your colleagues at this time. For example, having lunch or coffee with a colleague, going for walks, or taking breaks to connect with colleagues at work even for a few minutes a day.  

        More than just filling time or checking the “social” box, these relationships can be important sources of professional support. When you are friendly with colleagues, they are more likely to help you when you are unavailable or are facing an emergency, support with delegation of your tasks where required, and they are also more likely to include you on important projects that can advance your career and give you visibility for your efforts. Trying to work towards this can ease the tension of transitioning back to work after maternity leave and can help you make space for more in your life while also being a great parent!  

          Set realistic goals

          Establish realistic and achievable goals both at home and work. For example, ideally you may want to take care of household chores and taking care of your child every single day, but a kinder and more realistic expectation would be to do this a few days a week while getting additional support to manage other days. Managing your expectations and being kind to yourself is extremely important. After all, you are human and after a significant time away from professional life, it would not be fair to expect yourself to function at 100% capacity or efficiency.  Manage expectations and be kind to yourself as you transition back into your professional role. 

          Setting Clear Boundaries

          It is inevitable for you to sometimes feel torn between demands and expectations at home and at work, but it is important to remember that we can’t do it all. Setting boundaries with your partner, colleagues and your managers would be helpful to work towards.

          To do this, first reflect on what matters most to you. For example, you would prefer to not work on weekends but can be available for a few hours in the evening after your child is asleep, or discussing a routine with your partner where you are clearly identifying which days you would require your partner’s support and in what specific ways.

          Once you identify these boundaries, it is important to communicate these boundaries directly. It could be awkward to have a conversation like this sometimes, but these awkward conversations actually prevent further stress, frustration and burnout. Communicating also ensures that while people may not consistently respect your boundaries, at least they would not be blindsided when you are sharing/reminding them about what your boundaries are.  

          Celebrate Achievements and continue to prioritize self-care

          Prioritizing your self-care and emotional well-being by taking care of yourself is important to renew your energy and motivation levels to continue managing the demands of both work and motherhood. It is also important to recognize if you tend to constantly strive for more without appreciating how far you have come. If so, try to consciously start appreciating even the smallest wins at this time when you are resuming work post maternity leave.

          Acknowledging progress triggers the brain’s reward circuit and motivates people to keep working towards their goals. Some ways to do this include keeping a daily work journal where you write down a few of your accomplishments or “wins” from the day (like connecting with a colleague for coffee, being able to ask for help when you needed it, or simply getting through the day itself!) Especially on difficult days, looking back at written entries from the past few days/weeks can bring you comfort and reassurance, and remind you of your resilience during this transformative period.  

          The dos and donts of going back to work after maternity leave: 


          • Do communicate openly with your employer about your needs and expectations. 
          • Do seek support from your colleagues and family. 
          • Do prioritize self-care and well-being. 
          • Do establish a flexible routine that suits both work and family commitments. 


          • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. 
          • Don’t hesitate to ask for help or delegate tasks. 
          • Don’t neglect your own needs and self-care. 
          • Don’t compare yourself to others; everyone’s journey is unique. 


          Returning to work after maternity leave is undoubtedly a significant life transition, but with thoughtful planning and self-care, it can be a rewarding experience. By staying well-prepared, managing emotions, and implementing practical tips, you can successfully navigate this important phase and find a balance between your professional and personal life, all while celebrating how wonderfully unique, determined and resilient you are! 



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