Returning to Work After Parenthood

Returning to Work After Parenthood: A Comprehensive Guide

Crystal Rose

Making the Transition: Tips for Rejoining the Workforce After Parenthood.

Returning to work post-parenthood can be a tense and overwhelming time. From balancing new responsibilities, schedule changes and dealing with an identity shift, it's a major life transition that requires preparation.

In this guide we'll provide comprehensive advice on managing your emotional well-being, finding the right childcare solution, setting boundaries at work and much more. Ready for the journey? Let’s dive in!

Emotions You May Encounter

Returning to work after parenthood can be an emotional rollercoaster, with feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger, sadness, and excitement all coming into play.


Anxiety is a feeling you may face when you think about going back to work. It is okay to feel this way. Many moms and dads feel worried about leaving their baby at home or with a caregiver for the first time.

You might worry about the safety of your child while you are away. This is normal, but it can make things hard for you at work. Try not to let fear rule your day-to-day life as you plan for returning to work after parental leave.


Guilt can creep in when parents go back to work. It's normal, but you can do things to feel better. A planned schedule helps a lot. Let your team know about it too. Start with part-time work if you can.

This way, you get used to the new routine and tasks.

Childcare is crucial for working parents. Run tests at daycare or with a new caregiver ahead of time. This eases both the child and parent into the change. Also, reach out to other parents at work or online support community.

They will offer advice and make you feel less alone in dealing with guilt.


Going back to work after being a parent can make you feel angry. You might be upset about leaving your baby at home. Or, the new duties and stress at your job could make you mad. These feelings are normal, but they need care too.

If you let anger control your day, it will hurt how well you do at work and home. So, try to find out what makes you tick then search for ways to cool down when that happens.


Returning to work after having a baby can bring up feelings of sadness
Returning to work after having a baby can bring up feelings of sadness

Returning to work after having a baby can bring up feelings of sadness

Returning to work after having a baby can bring up feelings of sadness. It's normal to feel sad about leaving your child and missing out on moments with them. Hormonal changes, postpartum emotions, and adjusting to new responsibilities as a parent can contribute to these feelings.

However, it's important to remember that these emotions are temporary and part of the transition back to work. Taking care of your mental well-being, setting boundaries at work, and seeking support from colleagues or online communities can help you navigate through this sadness and find a balance between your career and parenthood.


Returning to work after parenthood can bring about a mix of emotions, including excitement. It's natural to feel eager and enthusiastic about getting back into the workforce and engaging in professional activities again.

The anticipation of challenging projects, reconnecting with colleagues, and achieving personal goals can be energizing. Being excited about returning to work is a positive mindset that can help you navigate the transition with enthusiasm and motivation.

So embrace this feeling of excitement as you embark on this new chapter in your career journey after becoming a parent.

Preparing to Return to Work

When preparing to return to work, it is important to find reliable childcare, create a feeding plan, consider flexible work hours, and schedule self-care.

Finding Reliable Childcare

When returning to work after parenthood, one of the most crucial tasks is finding reliable childcare for your child. It's important to do some research and consider various options before making a decision.

Practice runs with daycare or a new caregiver can help minimize stress and allow your child to become familiar with the situation. Planning and organization can also play a significant role in creating a smoother morning routine and reducing stress when getting ready for work.

By taking the time to find reliable childcare, you can have peace of mind knowing that your child is in good hands while you focus on your career.

Creating a Feeding Plan

  • A feeding plan is crucial for new parents preparing to return to work after parenthood.
  • Breastfeeding mothers have the right to take breaks for breastfeeding or expressing milk, and suitable spaces should be provided by employers.
  • Employers should create supportive and equitable work environments for new parents.
  • Planning and organization can reduce stress and create a smoother morning routine.
  • Maintaining contact with the boss and colleagues during maternity leave helps ease the transition back to work.
  • Gradual entry into daycare or a soft start at work eases the transition for new parents.

Considering Flexible Work Hours

Flexible work hours can be a great option for parents returning to work after having a child. It allows them to have more control over their schedule and balance their work and family responsibilities.

Research shows that women, in particular, prefer flexible hours because it gives them the flexibility they need to manage childcare arrangements and attend to their children's needs.

In some countries like Canada, employees even have the right to take unpaid family responsibility leave to care for their children. Employers should understand the importance of accommodating employees' childcare obligations and consider implementing flexible work hour policies to support working parents.

Scheduling Self-care

Scheduling self-care is really important for parents who are getting ready to go back to work after having a baby. It's easy to get caught up in taking care of the baby and forget about taking care of yourself, but it's essential for your well-being.

Scheduling self-care
Scheduling self-care

Setting aside time each day or week to do something that makes you happy or relaxed can help prevent burnout and keep you feeling good. Whether it's going for a walk, reading a book, or getting a massage, finding time for self-care will make a big difference in how you feel as you transition back into the working world.

So don't forget to schedule some "me" time!

Navigating Your First Week Back

Setting boundaries, communicating with HR, and monitoring your emotions are just a few key strategies for successfully navigating your first week back at work after parenthood. Read on to discover practical tips and advice to make this transition smoother.

Setting Boundaries

Returning to work after parental leave requires setting boundaries to ensure a smooth transition. One way to do this is by creating a clear and realistic work schedule that takes into account your new responsibilities as a parent.

Communicating your availability and limitations with colleagues is also important in managing expectations. Furthermore, it's crucial to establish boundaries between work and personal life, so you can balance your parenting duties while maintaining focus on your job.

By setting these boundaries, you can create a healthy work-life balance and reduce the stress of trying to do everything at once.

Preparing for Unexpected Situations

  • Unexpected situations can arise when returning to work after parental leave.
  • It's important to be prepared and have a plan in place.
  • Keep a backup childcare option in case your usual arrangement falls through.
  • Create a list of emergency contacts who can step in if needed.
  • Have a contingency plan for when your child gets sick and can't attend daycare or school.
  • Communicate with your employer about your situation and what steps you will take if unexpected circumstances arise.
  • Consider using remote work tools or flexible arrangements to handle unexpected situations more easily.
  • Stay calm and remember that unexpected situations happen to everyone, so don't be too hard on yourself.

Communicating with HR

Communicating with HR is really important when you're going back to work after having a baby. They can help make the transition smoother and provide support. You should let them know about your priorities and any specific needs you have as a working parent.

It's also a good idea to stay in touch with your boss and colleagues during your maternity leave, so they are aware of your progress and can assist with the transition back to work.

If you're breastfeeding, it's important to inform HR so they can provide suitable spaces for expressing milk or taking breaks for breastfeeding. Remember, creating an open line of communication with HR can ensure that your needs as a new parent are met at the workplace.

Monitoring Your Emotions

Returning to work after becoming a parent can bring up a mix of emotions, and it's important to monitor and manage them. Feeling guilty about leaving your child or anxious about balancing work and family responsibilities is normal.

It's recommended not to constantly check in on your emotions during the first few weeks back on the job. Instead, focus on establishing a predictable schedule, communicating with colleagues about your plans, and easing back into work gradually if possible.

Maintaining contact with your boss and coworkers during maternity leave can also help ease the transition when you return to work. Remember, it's okay to prioritize self-care and seek support from online groups or professional resources if needed.

Redefining Your Priorities

Returning to work after parenthood requires redefining your priorities. When you become a parent, your focus naturally shifts to taking care of your child. However, as you transition back into the workforce, it's important to reassess what is most important for you and your family.

Redefining Your Priorities
Redefining Your Priorities

This may involve considering flexible work hours or finding reliable childcare options that align with your values. It also means understanding that some tasks may need to take precedence over others and practicing self-compassion when things don't go according to plan.

By redefining your priorities, you can create a better balance between work and family life as you navigate this new chapter.

Practicing Self-compassion

Practicing self-compassion is a crucial aspect of returning to work after becoming a parent. It can help new parents cope with the physical and emotional challenges that come with transitioning back to work after having a baby.

By practicing self-compassion, new parents can reduce feelings of guilt about leaving their child or not feeling ready to go back to work yet. Self-compassion also supports new parents in adjusting their job duties and prioritizing tasks effectively.

It is highly recommended for new parents to prioritize self-compassion as they navigate the complexities of returning to work after parenthood.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Returning to Work

Follow these essential guidelines for a smooth transition back into the workplace after parenthood.

Asking for Help

Returning to work after parenthood can feel overwhelming, and it's important to remember that you don't have to do it all on your own. Asking for help is a crucial step in navigating this transition successfully.

Whether it's reaching out to family members or friends for support with childcare, seeking advice from working parents who have been through similar experiences, or talking openly with your boss about your needs and concerns, asking for help can make a significant difference in managing the challenges of returning to work.

Remember that there are resources available such as online support communities and parenting networks where you can find guidance, encouragement, and practical tips from others who understand what you're going through.

Talking to Your Boss About Your Situation

Returning to work after having a baby can be overwhelming, and it's important to have open and honest communication with your boss about your situation. Start by scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss your return and any concerns you may have.

Be clear about your availability, whether you need flexible hours or if there are certain days you can't work. Share any plans you've made for reliable childcare, as this will show that you are prepared and committed to balancing work and parenthood.

It's also important to express any emotional challenges you may be experiencing, such as anxiety or guilt, so that your boss can provide the necessary support. Remember, being transparent about your needs will help create a positive working environment for both you and your employer.

Prioritizing Your Mental Health

Returning to work after parenthood can be emotionally challenging, and it's important to prioritize your mental health during this transition. It is normal to experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, guilt, anger, sadness, and excitement.

To maintain your well-being, make sure you have strategies in place such as finding reliable childcare, creating a feeding plan if necessary, considering flexible work hours to balance parenting duties and self-care time, and seeking support from other working parents.

Redefining priorities and practicing self-compassion are also crucial for maintaining good mental health while managing the demands of both work and parenthood. Remember that it's okay to ask for help when needed and communicate with your boss about any challenges you may face as a working parent.

Connecting with Other Working Parents

Connecting with other working parents can be a valuable source of support and understanding as you navigate the challenges of returning to work after parental leave. Joining networks or groups specifically for working parents creates a sense of community where you can share your experiences, concerns, and advice.

These connections provide an opportunity for learning and growth as other working parents may have helpful insights and strategies to share. Building relationships with fellow working parents also gives you a support system that understands the unique demands of juggling parenting duties and career responsibilities.

Seeking out mentorship from experienced working parents can further enhance your transition back to work by providing guidance and reassurance along the way.

Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents Returning to Work

Find the right job, deal with tough topics, and consider part-time or temp work to ease your transition back into the workforce. Read more for valuable advice on returning to work after parenthood.

Finding the Right Job

When returning to work after being a stay-at-home parent, finding the right job is crucial. It's important to consider what kind of work will fit well with your new responsibilities as a parent.

Finding the Right Job
Finding the Right Job

Look for jobs that offer flexibility in terms of hours and location, so you can balance work and family life effectively. Additionally, think about your career goals and what type of job will help you achieve them.

Take into account any skills or experience you gained during your time off and how they can be applied to different positions. Consider part-time or freelance work as a transition step before taking on full-time employment again.

Dealing with Tough Topics

Returning to work after parental leave can bring up tough emotions and topics that you may need to address. It's normal to feel anxious, guilty, angry, sad, and excited as you navigate this transition.

You might worry about finding reliable childcare or creating a feeding plan for your baby while you're away. Considering flexible work hours and scheduling self-care are also important aspects to think about.

Additionally, it's crucial to communicate with your HR department about any arrangements or concerns you have. Throughout this process, remember that it's okay to redefine your priorities and practice self-compassion as you adjust back into the workforce.

Considering Part-Time and Temp Work

Returning to work after being home with a new baby can be overwhelming, especially if you're trying to find the right balance between your career and parenting duties. One option to consider is part-time or temporary work, as it allows for a smoother transition back into the workforce.

Working part-time initially can help in learning to do the job differently and prioritize important tasks while still having time for childcare responsibilities. Additionally, part-time work can provide the flexibility needed to attend doctor's appointments or other important events related to your child's safety and well-being.

It's also worth noting that some companies offer phased programs or opportunities for employees returning from parental leave to gradually increase their hours over time.

Another option is considering temp work. This type of employment gives you more flexibility in terms of scheduling and allows you to gain valuable skills and experiences while testing out different industries or roles.

Temp work can serve as a transition step before committing fully to regular full-time employment again.

Considering Part-Time and Temp Work
Considering Part-Time and Temp Work

A Challenging Transition

Returning to work after parenthood can be a challenging and emotional transition. It's normal to feel anxious, guilty, or excited during this time. However, with proper preparation and support, navigating this journey can become easier.

By finding reliable childcare, creating a feeding plan, considering flexible work hours, and prioritizing self-care, you can set yourself up for success. Remember to communicate with HR about your needs and emotions while practicing self-compassion.

Connecting with other working parents and seeking support will also help in making this transition smoother. So take a deep breath, have faith in yourself, and embrace the new chapter of balancing work and parenthood.

Related Topics: You may also be interested in learning about preparing to return to work after parental leave, how to handle childcare when returning to work and tips for staying productive at work as a new parent.

Crystal Rose

Crystal Rose is a spirited digital nomad and lifestyle blogger, advocating for remote work and independent living. A bold dream chaser, Crystal swapped the traditional 9-5 grind for a laptop and a worldwide adventure. She passionately shares her insights on work-life balance, productivity, and travel through her blog. Known for her feisty writing and honest advice, she empowers readers to embrace freedom and create their own dream life.

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