5 strategies to help ease the transition back to work

Heading back to work after any kind of significant leave, such as maternity leave, parental leave, a career break, is undoubtedly one of the most challenging transitions a parent can face. The blend of emotions, ranging from excitement about resuming professional life to the inevitable separation anxiety, can be overwhelming. However, with careful planning and a supportive mindset, this transition can be navigated smoothly.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 strategies to ease the journey back to work:

1. Back to work soon? Identify and plan for setting boundaries that are important to you.

Identifying and setting boundaries for work/home balance can be an important part of helping make this transition a little smoother. Your boundaries won’t remain exactly the same as time passes, but coming back round these frequently to identify what you need, or what might push your values or beliefs can really support you overall.

For example; Will you work in the evenings? Will you answer emails/calls on your non-working day? Will you work if you are home alone with your child/children?

If your values are broken too much, it can cause you negative feelings (like anger or resentment towards work or home things) so it is key to identify and set your boundaries so your values do not become repeatable broken.

2. Speak to your manager before going back to work.

Communication and in particular, clarity in your communication, is essential to make the transition as smooth as possible for you. Write any questions or concerns you have down and don’t be afraid to speak to your manager about these.

It is important to plan for sufficient time to speak to your manager. Ensure you are clear on what your first day back will entail, your first week back etc. Gain clarity on what the re-onboarding plan looks like for you.  Lack of clarity can be one of the biggest stresses for parents before returning to work.

3. To phase or not to phase, that is the question!

Phasing back, is something that works for many parents, but sometimes this may not possible. If this is something that will support a smoother return for you, then ensure to have this conversation with work and outline what this will look like on the work side. Also then plan for what this may look like from the home side. For example, including a phased settling in for baby to childcare. Identify what this looks like for you, for example it can be shorter weeks or hours each day (this is why setting boundaries before you go back is really important).

4. Childcare back up.

Plan for your childcare backup when you are back to work. Plan for scenario A, B…… and C!

When a child starts in a childcare setting, they tend to pick up many of the bugs that are circulating as their immune system builds up. This can result in a particularly stressful transition for you if you are just getting back into a work routine, back up to speed, and are needed at home. Or perhaps feeling guilty as can’t be at home if your child is home sick. See blog post to support on this Help to overcome mum guilt when back to work
Planning for this may include identifying who is in your village to support when a child is sick. Identifying and communicating to the childcare facility who is the point of contact on given days if a caregiver does need to be contacted and the child picked up.

5. Don’t forget about YOU.

What supports you best when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious? Is it fresh air, talking to a friend, silence, getting lost in a book….whatever it may be, don’t forget to use it. When all the parental guilt and madness of back to work, balancing home and work kicks off, making sure you show your compassion is so important.

Don’t underestimate the importance of self-care during this transition. Balancing work and parenthood can be demanding, so it’s crucial to prioritise your well-being.


Returning to work after leave is undoubtedly a significant life transition, but with careful planning, open communication, and a strong support system, it can be a manageable and even rewarding experience. Embrace the journey, celebrate the small victories, and remember that you are not alone in this challenging but fulfilling balancing act.
back to work, boundaries, maternity leave, mum guilt, returning to work