Tips on how to return to work after children

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By Jenny Vanderhoek

There is no easy way to return back to work. You will feel every emotion that you can possibly have all in one week. Guilt, sadness, freedom, excitement, uncertainty, nervousness and endless questions at every turn. 

Everyone returns to work at different times but the emotions you feel will be the similar across all mums.

1 – Open communication with your partner 

When I returned to work, I just assumed that because I spent a whole year with my baby, that I’m her primary carer. But that is just simply not true. My husband was a willing and capable parent as well but I simply thought I’d make it easier for everyone if I did everything. So my first tip is to talk to your partner or your support person on how this is going to work; who does pickups and drops off? And don’t you dare put your hands up for everything! 

2 – Stay involved and in touch with your workplace 

I went to my work Christmas lunch and it was such a great way to connect with my co-workers in an informal environment after a year off. It actually made me excited about returning to work and helped relieve some of the guilt of leaving my child in childcare. 

3 – Complete a settling period at your childcare before you return to work 

You don’t want to go back to work and take your child into daycare all on the same day. Take your child into childcare a week or two before and allow him/her to have the time with you there and familiarise themselves with their new environment. It’s also a great way to find out what else you need to prepare or bring for them. 

4 – Plan dinners for the week 

Cook batches of food on Sunday nights so you can just quickly heat something up after getting home. Then you can pair it with some veggies in the steamer and boil up some pasta.

5 – Pack the night before 

Pack your kids’ bags and pack your bags the night before work. Put out your outfit and your child’s outfit the night before. Make all the necessary decisions the night before so you’re not rushing around finding your skirt in the morning. 

6 – Prepare for adult conversation 

For the first time in a while, your topic of conversation will no longer be about your baby’s poo consistency. People are actually going to want your expertise on something completely different. Be inquisitive in those first few weeks, ask lots of questions (this does not make you look incompetent) and meet as many new people as possible to find out “who’s who in the zoo.” Before long, you’ll find your groove again. 

7 – Don’t be hard on yourself 

You can plan all you want and pack as much as you want the night before. The reality is that your first day is going to be hectic because for the first time in awhile, you have to catch a certain bus at a certain time. The bus unfortunately doesn’t wait while you are trying to console your toddler who can’t decide what he/she wants to wear. 

8 – Share your burden with your fellow mums 

You don’t need to go through the ups and downs on your own. Understand that lots of fellow mums are doing this juggle with you and totally get everything you are feeling! I’ve been vomited on by my daughter on the way into work and had to continue the walk into work to grab my laptop so I could work from home. I’ve worn my dresses inside out and didn’t realise until I went to my bathroom break. A mum in my mums’ group went to work with two different shoes on her feet. So have a laugh about it with your fellow mums!


Mynder.com.au is run by a mum Jenny, who understands how difficult it can be to juggle work, family and social life. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that they’ve all been there when they have needed to find a babysitter for an unexpected last-minute work meeting, for a night off with their partners and friends or they have a job that doesn’t fit in with the formal child care system. Mynder was built to solve these problems, and more.

First published in Peninsula Kids – Summer 2018/19

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