Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, this means at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission if you purchase a product through them.
While maternity leave should be spent caring for yourself and your new arrival, there are plenty of opportunities to work on your own development or career progression too.
If you want to switch up your career or dive back into work as soon as maternity leave is over, we’re sharing a number of ways you can use your time off to propel yourself to success. Because having children doesn’t have to be the end of your career, mums across the world go on to enjoy lucrative and successful careers even with a baby in tow.
There are very few times in adult life where you’ll have a year to focus on your passion projects without having to manage your job responsibilities. So why not seize the opportunity with these tips:
Stay in the loop by heading to work
In the UK, new mums are entitled to head into the office for up to 10 days during their maternity leave without losing their pay. Taking a few days to stay in the loop and check-in with employers is a great way to prepare yourself for when you go back full time (or part-time if you’re planning to reduce your hours for child care). This also helps you to feel a lot less overwhelmed when you arrive back.
If your role involved particularly skillful responsibilities, nipping to work for the day can help you maintain your skill level so that you can dive right in when maternity leave is over.
What’s more, maternity leave is the perfect opportunity to work on any improvements or ideas you’ve had for the company – this could help you bag a promotion when you’re back or secure your place as an integral part of the workforce.
Take a course
Whether you want to continue on your current career path or would like to pursue a second career that fits into your newfound motherhood schedule, taking a course is a great way to utilize your maternity leave.
Motherhood can certainly change your perspective on the world and what’s important to you. And you may find that your previous role doesn’t quite fit in with your plans anymore. Alternatively, you might be ready to ask for that promotion you’ve always wanted and a new qualification you could cement your chances.
Click here to find out about online nursing courses for both current and new nurses at Carson-Newman University. Nursing is a great career for new mums, as there is plenty of room for growth and flexibility around shifts. Many health organizations offer ‘parent shifts’, which allow nurses to work during the times their children are at school or being cared for. Of course, this is easier when the kids are a little older; however, there’s no time like the present to get qualified. Online courses tend to be pre-recorded, so you’ll have the flexibility to study around caring for your new bundle. And, when you get back to work, you can continue your studies in the time that suits you.
Launch your own business
If those late-night feeds have left you with plenty of time to explore other skills, or you’ve recently taken on a passion for knitting and making candles, maternity leave could be the perfect time to launch your own business.
Whether you decide to create your own online store or want to move into consultancy and avoid your previous 9-5 daily grind, grab a notepad and get planning. Thanks to out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions, it’s now easier than ever to create your own online brand and build a website within minutes. You’ll have a lot of downtime during maternity leave to pour your heart and soul into your new venture, and who knows, you might not even need to go back to your old job.
Use your parenting skills to develop your career
Motherhood is the best and most challenging job you’ll ever have to do. And along the way, you’ll learn a huge number of skills. Everything from empathy, problem-solving, and communication will be learned and developed during those first few months of being a new parent, all of which are totally transferrable to your working life.
Combine these new soft skills with your recently obtained maternity leave qualification, and you’ve got yourself a brand new, killer CV.
Learn a new skill
There are plenty of other skills you might’ve always wanted to practice that don’t relate to your work. We all have a long list of things we’d love to do but never get around to finding the time. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn to draw or fancy learning to play the piano properly, you can use your maternity leave to get practicing. There are also plenty of skills that can boost your career that can be taught via free online courses or YouTube tutorials. This can help you offer your employer something new when you head back to the office or might just give you the skills to create your own business.
Work from home
Although a Newborn can offer plenty of distraction, there is always the option to take work home and work remotely. If your company allows it, it might work out more cost-effective to take shorter maternity leave and work remotely to go back to full-time pay while still caring for your new baby. This will put the pressure off returning to the office until you’re fully ready and able but will help you stay in the business loop.
Before attempting to work from home from the comfort of the sofa with the baby in tow, it’s a good idea to designate a small area specifically for work. The home office may have just been transformed into a nursery, but a small patch in the dining room or a desk in the bedroom will be just as effective for cracking down to focus on work.
Find a coach
Becoming a parent while also managing a career can seem hugely daunting for expectant mothers. Those that are worried about how they’ll cope with the change could consider finding a career advisor or coach. Mentors will be able to show their own experiences and help you navigate the new waters of the working mum. They’ll help you to create new plans and techniques to ‘have it all. There may even be the option to have a coach within your current workplace via HR. Speak to your employer about return-to-work policies and courses to help you manage anxiety and return at your own pace.
Hi, I’m Louise- mum of one to a little boy called Mason.
I am the Digital Marketing and Admin Assistant for MyBump2Baby.
I enjoy working to provide excellent service to MyBump2Baby’s growing families.
Nice to meet you!