Returning to work after maternity leave is quite an emotionally fraught time for a mother. Even if you imagined that you would return to full time work after a year at home, many mothers don’t feel ready to do this, so often seek a part time arrangement, either permanently or as a way of easing into life as a working mother.
However your story unfolds, one thing that is consistent across many families is an increase in expenses, primarily generated by childcare costs. Combine this with an often reduced income resulting from part-time hours, retuning to work can be a financially frustrating time for parents.
The first thing you need to do, before you reach the end of your maternity leave, is discuss your return to work with your employer. Let them know as early as you can if you would like to negotiate part time hours, or flexible working arrangements.
Once you have worked out how many hours you will be working, you can set about looking for appropriate childcare and reorganising your family budget to suit your change in circumstances. For many families a return to work, even in a part time arrangement, will usually mean the financial pressure valve will be slightly released. But don’t get over excited by all this extra cash coming in, as you’ll probably find that a portion of it will go straight out again to cover childcare fees, travel to work, and appropriate work clothes.
Here are some things to think about doing while you are still on maternity leave:
It is worth doing the sums on returning to work, as for some women it turns out not to be financially viable to return to work. While you consider the numbers, also consider the other reasons you may be going back to work. Either way, going back to work after having a baby represents a significant change, so make sure you make your decision armed with all the facts and you’ll be better placed to make the right decision for you and your family.