Going Back To Work After Parental Leave
Going Back To Work After Parental Leave

Bringing a new baby into the world is exciting and demands a lot of time. However, after a while, you might be thinking about another big milestone: going back to work. This transition from parental leave to going back to work is never easy. It involves balancing the demands of your career and your responsibilities as a parent. 

However, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. While going back to work can feel scary, you can navigate it successfully with the right mindset and by planning ahead. There are also many options for generating additional income that will benefit your entire family. Here are some practical tips and ideas to make going back to work after parental leave as smooth as possible. 

Think about your strengths, skills, and interests.

One of the first things you’ll need to do when going back to work is to make sure that your resume is up to date. No matter how long you have been out of the traditional workforce, there are plenty of transferable skills that you can take from your time as a stay-at-home parent. For example, you might have learned new skills like time management and multitasking during parental leave. It also takes patience and conflict management. Child care itself is a valuable skill that can be used to your advantage if you want to start a career working with children. 

You can also take this time to think about your personal interests. Consider your priorities and passions so that you can narrow down your job search and find a more fulfilling career. 

Look into flexible work options. 

Finding ways to balance your work and family life is one of the biggest challenges for parents going back to work after parental leave. Traditional 9-to-5 work schedules might not work for all families if they do not have the right child care options. Luckily, you don’t need to be tied to a schedule that does not work for you. 

Instead, try to find jobs that offer more flexible schedules that are better suited to your family’s needs. Part-time and remote work schedules may be better suited for you since they can allow you to spend more time with your child. Freelancing or contract positions might also be good since they allow you to have more freedom and control over your own schedule. 

Consider a career in child care. 

If you want a job that helps you balance your career and family responsibilities, consider looking into jobs in child care. Starting a career in child care is a great option for parents who are transitioning out of parental leave. It allows them to use transferable skills gained during their leave while helping their community. It’s also an ideal option for work if their employer allows them to enroll their own children in their care program. There are many different career paths you can choose from. For example, you can pursue a career in early childhood education or find a job at a child care facility. Depending on your child care job, you may need to receive specific training. Learn more about child care training courses here

Start a child care business in your home. 

If you are interested in child care but want a flexible schedule, consider opening your own licensed in-home child care business. This career path allows for the most flexibility and balance since you can be your own boss while still helping meet a need in your community. It’s also ideal for many parents since it allows them to take care of their own child during work hours. Finally, it’s a good option for parents who are interested in starting their own business. 

You will need to get the correct licensing in order to open your own facility. Specific requirements will vary depending on your state. In the state of Illinois, licensing is done by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Learn more about the requirements for starting your own child care program in Illinois here

Plan ahead and budget accordingly. 

No matter what career you choose when you go back to work, you will need to plan ahead to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Going back to work will require figuring out a new schedule. Sit down with your family and discuss how the routines are going to change. This lets everyone know what the expectations are and gets everyone prepared for the new day-to-day needs. You can also work on starting new routines to make the days easier. For example, preparing outfits and meals ahead of time will make busy mornings more efficient. 

In addition, you may also need to take another look at your budget and how it will change when you go back to work. You may be making more money as a household when you start a new job, but you might also be spending more if you need to enroll your child in a child care program. Take some time to balance your expected income with your family’s needs. 

Set realistic expectations for this transition. 

Finally, it’s important to remember to stay realistic during this big change. Even if you prepare ahead of time, you’re still likely to face some challenges. It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, or even guilty. You might also be dealing with sleep deprivation or heightened emotions. On top of it all, learning new skills and starting a new job can make this period hard in the beginning. 

Remember, this is a phase that all parents go through after parental leave, and the transition is hard for most people. Give yourself grace and empathy if things get hard, and lean on your support system for help when needed. 


Going back to work after parental leave can be challenging for many parents. However, there are plenty of options for generating income that still allow you to take care of your family. Consider starting a rewarding new career in child care to give your kids the time, attention, and care they need while generating an income to support your family.

Photo by Keira Burton: https://www.pexels.com/photo/diverse-family-in-living-room-6623853/