Return to work mothers

Returning to work for mothers can be an exciting yet challenging time. On the one hand, it allows you to consider your options, refresh your skills and seek out a career change. On the other hand, the list of options, and the prospect of finding a job while managing and enjoying parenthood can be extremely daunting. Here are some of the things for return to work mothers to consider to make the transition easier.


Question everything

When thinking about re-entering the workforce, there are a few key questions that return to work mothers should ask themselves. This will allow you to identify what’s important and keep focussed on acquiring a work arrangement that complements your lifestyle.

  • What days and hours would you ideally like to work?
  • What childcare arrangements are available and what are your particular needs?
  • How can you prepare your family for your return to work?
  • Will you resume your old job or would you like to pursue a new career?
  • What kind of flexibility do you require from your job? i.e. working from home, location, leave entitlements

Finding support

For mothers returning to work, the task can be daunting, so finding a support network or someone who you can help you is vital. You might want to contact other return to work mothers or past colleagues you know and ask for their advice. They may be able to help you with finding work and suggest work options. Career counsellors may also help you clarify your work objectives, and you can also take part in active forums and websites that offer support and advice.

Refreshing your skills

If you’re harbouring concerns that your professional skills may have become stale, or you’re opting for a career change, find ways to refresh your knowledge and skill set. You might want to start volunteering when you can spare time, read up on the latest news about your relevant industry, or get in touch with people within the industry – old colleagues, industry associations – that can help you.

With the range of online courses you can also undertake flexible study to refresh your skills or up-skill to a new role. The at-home learning experience even allows you to get qualified while you’re on maternity leave or parental leave, so you will have the credentials to find a relevant job when you’re ready to return to work.

Be prepared for the job hunt

When looking for a job, start by devising a plan of exactly what type of job and arrangement you want, and write out a list of questions or negotiations you may have with your future employer. Once you have outlined your needs, work on updating your resume. Add any new study you may have undertaken, explain your full-time parenting absence and include any extracurricular activity or volunteer work you may have participated in during this time. When it comes to actually searching for a job, look at the traditional career service sites like Seek and Careerone, but also register with recruitment agencies and register with ‘mum friendly’ job advertisers such as Career MumsHire My Mum and Mums@work.

Preparing your family

For mothers returning to work, preparing your family is just as important as preparing yourself. Take the time before you start searching for employment to plan and prioritise. Identify the things that you may need to consider – childcare, flexible work options, shorter commute – and then create a list of ways you can address them. For example, you may want to look for a job with flexible working hours so you can make it home when school ends. If you have a partner, devise a plan together about any changes in the household and how you can make the transition easier for your children. If you’re a single parent, speak to any close family or friends about similar plans. Schedules are vital to ease the added workload for mothers returning to work.

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