Hint and tips on going back to work after maternity leave

Hints and tips for going back to work

I’ve been back at work for 6 weeks working full time, and my daughter has been going to nursery for 4-days a week. It was really difficult at first, I felt like I was running a marathon before arriving into the office, and life became a juggling act, keeping the plates spinning was a fine art. But now 6 weeks in we are finding a balance, after lots of sickness to deal with at the beginning. It’s now lovely seeing her face at the end of a long day, and having a little bit of time together in the evenings before bedtime. I wanted to share this post as a hints and tips guide for mum’s going back to work, and offer some lovely bits of advice. 

Have some “me” time

In the week before I went back to work, my daughter started nursery. This allowed me to feel confident that she would be ok when I did return to work, but also allowed me to have some time to myself. I enjoyed this time by going on a lunch date with my husband to a fancy restaurant in London which was truly well deserved. You could spend this time going shopping, having a massage, getting your nails done. Do whatever you want to do, for you.

Stock up on Vitamin C, Orange Juice and Paracetamol

I had no idea that I would be so ill when my daughter started nursery. In her second week and my first week back, she managed to pick up conjunctivitis and I got tonsillitis. It was awful, and I ended up only being in the office for 2.5 hours in my first week (not good!). So my advice to you is stock pile on vitamins and orange juice, and keep a packet of Cold & Flu tablets in your bathroom cupboard. Plus get lots of rest, doing the nursery run and dashing into work is exhausting in itself.

Lower your expectations of keeping a clean home

Now that I’m back at work I barely have time to keep on top of the housework, the cooking, the cleaning, the washing etc. I find that I do little bits here and there, and often end up cleaning the bathroom at 9pm after work. I have learnt that my house will never be tip top again, and lowering my expectations has helped. I have tried to keep a rota so that one night a week I do the bathroom, and then at the weekends I’ll hoover. The kitchen tends to take care of itself, as the work top is wiped down every day, as well as the dishwasher being emptied.

Get up a little earlier each day

This is vital for getting yourself ready in the morning without your child being awake. There is nothing worse than having to have a shower with your baby in the bathroom, and then running around finding something to wear, putting your make-up on, and drying your hair whilst keeping little one entertained. So I find that getting up at least 45 minutes before she would normally wakes up really helps.

Time block your day

This is the one piece of advice my husband gave to me, to time block my day. What this means is; in the morning when you’re getting up focus on your child, getting you and her out of the house to nursery. Don’t worry about work and your day ahead. Only think about work once the nursery drop off is complete and you’re on the train. And then the same again when you’re on your way home. I have found this to be really helpful, as it means that I’m not feeling overwhelming by too many thoughts whizzing around my head.


Having to leave the office at 5pm every day means that I am on a strict schedule at work. There is no time to be sitting in meetings that I don’t really need to be in. So every day I prioritise what I need to do, and what has to be done for the next morning. I also try to block my diary in the afternoon to allow me to focus on work, rather than having loads of meetings. I have found that this has really helped. Obviously there are some late nights, that’s the nature of what I do. But prioritisation and managing expectations I’m finding is key to not feeling overwhelmed or stressed that you need to dash out the door at 5pm to do the nursery run.

I hope that you have found this post useful, it’s not easy going back to work and having a child to take care off at the same time. But just by making some simple changes to my life and looking at things differently has really helped.

Claire x

This post first featured on Meet Other Mums on the 19th July 2016.


  • Bridie By The Sea

    Hi Claire, this is super useful as I may be going back to work very soon…all a bit unexpected and not 100% confirmed yet but preparing myself all the same. This sounds like fantastic advice. I’m a bit daunted by it all but time blocking hours is a great idea and also me time at the weekend. So glad to hear you guys are in the swing of things 🙂 xx #triballove

  • A Mum Track Mind (@amumtrackmind)

    I can’t believe you have been back for six weeks already! Where is this year going to?! Seriously though, this is such a helpful post. I’m due back to work soon and I will definitely be referring back to this to help me get going again! Thanks for sharing this. #fortheloveofBLOG x

  • themotherhub

    Love the time block idea – hadn’t heard of that before. Totally agree re housework – that is bottom of my list of priorities. Do you know I actually thought when I went back to work it would be easier to keep house tidy as we would all be out of the house all day! Hahahha – totally underestimating mess two children can make in three hours ! #fortheloveofblog

  • rightroyalmother

    Lovely, calm tips and just what I need having been back to work for a week now. I agree it is hard at the beginning (and I haven’t been ill – yet, touch wood! :)) I think we do need to be nice to ourselves and our family as much as we can – something I sometimes forget – as this also helps things run smoothly when it all seems a bit overwhelming! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Nicole Edmondson

    These are great tips. I’m a working mum too and I completely agree with all them – especially not worrying about what’s happening next, and having some me time. I decided to get a cleaner as I thought I’d rather spend more time with my family than clean the toilets, and that working outside the home could justify the expense. I’m very lucky to be able to have one and she makes me so happy! #fortheloveofblog

  • Susie Hawes

    I definitely agree about the vitamin C! I went back to work in Jan and my daughter did 3 days a week in nursery. Winter baby going to nursery in winter = constant illness! My first week I had a day off sick with sinusitis and we were regularly at the GP two or three times a week with conjunctivitis, ear infections, viruses etc etc! I found it so stressful. It sounds like you are a calmer person than me (lol who isn’t?!) but I like the idea of time blocks. Sounds like you’ve found your stride with it all now. It took me 6 weeks to feel happier in a new routine… But I left anyways. That’s another story! Some great tips here for others. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed

      Oh gosh I feel for you. We have been exactly the same. We have been back and forth at the doctors in the last 10 weeks. It’s a nightmare. It looks like we all have another cold now too. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • alisonlonghurst

    Such a great post which mums returning to work will find invaluable. I love your husband’s idea of time blocking your day. This definitely works – good advice.Alison x #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Squirmy Popple

    I went back to work at the end of June so I’m still adjusting to it too, and I totally agree with your tips. I’m really strict about prioritising at work because I have to leave at 4 to get the Popple every day – because there’s no staying late (I already get in early), I need to work as efficiently as possible when I’m there. Oh, and my house is definitely never clean anymore, because when I have free time at night, I’d rather blog than clean the toilet! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Angela Watling

    You’ve got everything spot on here! I’ve been back for almost 8 months and it’s only in the last 4-6 weeks we’ve finally got on top of the housework again. I’m expecting well trip again at some point too! The illness thing was also a real shock. After never having stomach bugs, we’ve all been taken down by 2 this year alongside the colds. But you just get through it and are stronger as a result!

    Sounds like you’ve learnt the same thing I did too – you’re never truly productive at work until you’re a working mum!

    Hope you continue to find your rhythm x


  • thetaleofmummyhood

    This is a really helpful post, especially the point about time blocking your day. It can be so easy to worry about the next thing when your still in the middle of doing another. I must put that one into practice!


  • Sunita - Lucky Things blog

    I’ve been back 6 months now. I was really worried about getting us all ready in the morning as i knew my hubby wouldn’t be able to help me out (not his fault). But somehow me and the girls have managed it OK. Blocking out hours in your day is really important especially if you have to leave for pick ups (which I do too). Some really handy tips, I’ll be borrowing quite a few!

    • The Pramshed

      Thank you! I was worried about the mornings too but actually it isn’t that bad especially once my little girl stopped having breakfast at home, and had it at nursery. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • Kirsty - Motherhoodery

    I’m currently a SAHM mum but just wanted to give a little fist pump and ‘go girl’ to you. Before I was made redundant, I was starting to plan how I would handle the transition after maternity leave and couldn’t imagine getting out the door so early. But as you say, it eventually becomes your ‘normal’ and you get on with it. So glad to hear you’ve found some balance. x #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Tooting Mama

    Great advice. I always had a leave work now calendar event in my diary. So true about the house – but so what. And I had lots and lots of Berocca as well as Spatone iron supplements to help with the sheer exhaustion! #fortheloveofBlog

  • justsayingmum

    Oh I really don’t know how you do it all! But seriously well done – I know you’ll settle into more of a pattern. You’re so right about the getting up earlier – I used to do that – just makes for a good start to the day. Look after yourself lovely and don’t pile the pressure on #triballove

  • My Petit Canard

    Great post! Returning to work the first time is really difficult, but after a while you do start to find a balance just like you are. I remember having lots of time off here and there and having to work from home in my first few weeks and months because our little one kept picking up bugs from nursery too. At some point things do get more manageable, but never any easier – its a continuous juggling act! We were just about to resort to hiring a cleaner before we found out we were pregnant again as there was just never any time in the week to keep on top of the house work. Perhaps something to think about 😉 Emily

  • Grounded Mummy

    I honestly don’t know how working mums do it, you’ve handled it really well and this is a lovely bit of advice for anyone going back to work, but also just for all of us really. Life becomes so hectic day when we have kids, I feel this would help me just to get the most out of my time before I do go back to work. We are all stretched so thin! If I got up 45 min before my little ones I’d currently be up at 4:30am, I’m totally not ready for that Need my sleep! Guess the makeup will have to wait #fortheloveofblog

  • Silly Mummy

    This is all great advice. As I have just become a single parent, I now need to return to work imminently rather than when youngest starts school as was always plan, so I will have two needing to go to day care. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • The Pramshed

      Thanks for your comment. It’s tricky to blog and work full time. The trick is to getting as much done as you can at the weekend, and on the train to and from work. I’m definitely not blogging as much as I was. I find the scheduling tweets really helps, at least if you can’t tweet because you’re working, scheduler is keeping your twitter feed going. I hope that helps. Enjoy the rest of your maternity leave x

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