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    Pregnancy Online Course – Module 5: Career & Childcare Arrangements

    returning to work

    Returning to work 

    mother returning to work

    It’s impossible to fully predict how you are going to feel once your baby arrives. You may want to return to work sooner, later, or not at all. However, this won’t be crystal clear until you’re already on maternity leave. So, it’s a good idea to cover your basis and prepare for every possible scenario. That way when the time comes to make a decision about returning to work, you can do so effectively and with minimal stress.

    Coordinating your maternity leave

    Here are some things to consider when arranging your maternity leave:

    • talk to your boss about ways to stay in touch whilst you’re on leave
    • set a return date that has some flexibility – just in case you change your mind about when to return
    • arrange to maintain an open dialogue with your boss whilst you’re on leave
    • set things up well before your leave commences, so you can seamlessly step out and back into your role

    Opening communication about career choices

    One of the major issues impacting modern families is financial stress and strain. Couples need to be working as a team when it comes to making decisions about working arrangements and childcare arrangements both within and outside of the home. This way you set clear expectations and boundaries around work commitments and desires from the outset of parenting.

    Below is a client story to illustrate how a lack of clear ‘career based conversations’ can significantly impact a partnership.

    Client Example

    Jenny was a professional researcher working in a large government firm. Her husband was a high level executive who often worked long hours and would stay overnight in the city’s corporate suite whenever project timelines demanded.

    Jenny and Mike never discussed how the birth of their child would impact Mike’s work. All the focus was on the maternity leave Jenny was taking, the childcare places their baby would need to attend and the number of days Jenny would need to return to work in order to sustain their current lifestyle.

    When their baby Sarah was born, both parents were overjoyed. Mike took 2 weeks of leave from work and was a wonderful and supportive father during this time. However, once Mike returned to work, his Manager’s expectation was that fatherhood would not change Mike’s work commitments, especially due to the fact that Jenny was at home to look after the baby.

    Due to the expectations at Mike’s work, he was unable to take additional time off, leave the office early, or refuse to stay overnight to complete projects. These restrictions began to take their toll on the relationship within 6 months after Sarah’s birth. Mike’s absence began to frustrate Jenny and she began to feel very resentful of Mike’s apparent lack of priorities. When Mike returned home from work in the evening, Jenny would already be asleep. Mike felt lonely, trapped in his current job and a huge sense of pressure to please his boss now that his was the primary breadwinner.

    Jenny and Mike began to live separate lives. Their sex life diminished. Resentment escalated and they argued constantly. By the time they attended couples counselling, they were ready to separate. The saddest part of this was that their disharmony could have been dramatically reduced if they had set time aside prior to becoming parents to discuss their career expectations. They would have had time and clarity to put things in place to ensure all the family’s needs were being met; even if it meant Mike looking for a career change down the track.

    The key is ensuring your expectations match. Taking time out to discuss you desires, expectations and needs around work prior to becoming parents, is vital to the overall success of your partnership.

    Choosing a more flexible career

    If you are struggling to find a job that provides more flexible working arrangements, you may find Flex Career’s website helpful. They are a job agency that specialises in helping mothers find more suitable working arrangements with their growing families. This is what they note on their About Us Page:

    There are millions of talented women who need to be enabled to realise their career goals, without sacrificing their lifestyle and commitments. FlexCareers was hatched to do just that… The initial focus is the underutilised talent pool of 2.1 million career mums, so that qualified and experienced women are contributing to the economic success of this generation and inspiring the next.

    You can search for jobs in their Job Opportunities Page here:

    Deciding on the best childcare arrangements

    When thinking about who is going to look after your baby, there are 4 primary things to consider:

    1. Is my child going to be safe?

    2. Is my child going to be healthy?

    3. Is my child going to be happy?

    4. Is my child going to be secure?


    Let’s imagine you thought you could leave your child in the care of an ageing parent. However, now that the time has come to ask for help, you have realised this parent is more forgetful and has much less energy than she used to. This parent no longer answers “yes’ to all 4 questions. It doesn’t mean you can never leave your child with this parent, but it does mean you will need to put things in place to ensure the lowered energy and memory loss does not impact on your child’s health, happiness, security or safety.

    When considering organised childcare, the same 4 questions need to be answered correctly. Your child is going to feel more secure if she is greeted by the same carers every time you leave her. She is going to be healthier if the chef at your childcare has a good menu. She is going to be happier if she feels comfortable in the environment and it’s engaging for her. She is going to feel safe if the centre is well established and has qualified health care professionals in charge.

    Trust your instincts when you visit a childcare for the first time and make sure you can confidently state that you child will feel safe, secure, happy and healthy before enrolling your child. It will help you immensely to cope whenever your child is upset at drop off.




    Help For Mums does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. Help For Mums provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.


    Now that you have completed Module 5, all the core modules are complete. However, we have added a bonus section to assist you with things such as gaining confidence breastfeeding and setting appropriate boundaries once your baby arrives. You can access this section via the Bonus tab below.