Deciding to return to work is a personal decision and one that does not come lightly to many new mums. Whether you are looking forward to going back or are a little anxious about leaving your baby, it can be an overwhelming and busy time.
To help ladies who are finishing up maternity leave or getting back into the workforce after a big absence, we asked our mums how they handled the transition, and this is what they said:
1. Dipa Patel: "Find a good balance"
2. Vicki Huggins: "I couldn't return to my job after the birth of my second child for financial reasons, but after my first I returned three days a week. I worked over a 100 mile round trip from home so baby was in care from 7am until her dad picked her up. I wasn't home until 7pm - it was tough I'm not going to lie. I would recommend good childcare, accept the guilt you will feel, do a meal plan and invest in a slow cooker ...also have to admit that I miss work now...I loved my job."
3. Tracey Hearn: "I'm very lucky as have 9 - 5ish hours and juggle as much as possible, but girls go to nursery two days a week. Little one only started today but had such a great time. Fortunately, it's the nursery where my eldest is so I know the staff really well and feel confident they will look after her well. I also only work across the car park so I know a) they will call me if there's a problem and b) I can run across if there is a problem (they called straight away when eldest had an allergic reaction). Best advice I can give is trust your instincts and trust whoever your child goes to for childcare."
4. Shelly Dickinson: "If you can, save up your annual leave so that you can use it to return to work part-time for the first few months. For two months, I used two days leave per week so I was only part-time. It gave me a really good balance and made the transition to returning full-time smoother for both me and my son. Also, be totally comfortable with your childcare choice. It takes worry and concern away from returning. Don't feel guilty. Be strict and planned with yourself, leave work at set times to be home for playtime/ bath time/ nursery runs."
5. Sharon Crampton: "Preparation is key. Slow cookers are great or you can cook large amounts and freeze it at the weekend so you have healthy 'microwave' dinners. Shop in bulk where possible so you know it will be in the cupboard when you get home - running to the shop can be more hassle than it's worth. And most importantly enjoy your days off. Who cares if the windows are dirty or the car needs washing, your child deserves a fun day with their mom. Arts and crafts, games, trips to the park, zoo, etc - forget the housework and just enjoy your time together."
6. Sarah Wren: "Look for the positives: it's a time where you are you, and can talk to adults about more than just poo!"
7. Louise Fritchley: "If it's parents or partner caring for your child ask them to send you a picture of your baby having fun. It'll keep you going!"
8. Julie Clark: "Find the best childcare you can."
9. Louise C M Sharpe: "Definitely agree about the pictures - I've been back at work 18 months now and still love the pictures I get during the day! I also recommend doing keep-in-touch days while on maternity leave - was good way of getting used to leaving baby so I wasn't too daunted about going back properly."
10. Cassie Maria: "I recently went back to work - my daughter is two and I'm a single parent. I found a nursery that me and my child daughter both love - she loves going and the staff are lovely. I know she's well looked after and she has a male key worker she adores. Getting out, speaking to other adults and having a good routine is great!"