Whether you are returning to work straight after maternity leave or after a longer break, then there are factors that you need to consider. These are the common ones that our candidates have experienced:

1) When is the right time to go back? The truth is, there is never a right time. If you feel that you want to do it, just go for it. Take the pressure off yourself and keep in mind that you can always makes changes if the situation isn’t working out how you want.

2) Childcare – This is the one that really does need planning and foresight. It is so important that you get this right for everyone concerned. Firstly, you need to leave your child with someone that you feel completely happy with. This may be family, which can save on hugely on cost and time. On the other hand, you may have mixed emotions about family help. Have you considered sharing childcare with a friend that is in a similar situation? Nurseries and childminders are also popular options but they need to be not only within your budget but work for you logistically i.e. Can you leave work and get there before the nursery closes? Ensure that you are up to speed with the latest childcare benefits too.

3) Emotional mindset: Your emotional mindset is possibly the hardest thing to rationalise. Strong feelings of guilt are always attached to whatever your decision but we have never spoken to someone who ultimately doesn’t feel an element of guilt. The thought of juggling a job and family can seem incredibly daunting and wondering how you are going to fit everything in can seem impossible.

4) Give yourself a break – Your days are going to be hugely different to when you were at home so accept that! If you leave your kids in front of the TV so you can jump in the shower, it’s really not the end of the world. If you give in and give your toddler a piece of chocolate during their latest meltdown as you’re trying to get them in a car seat, so what? – they’ll be fine. So remember you’re doing your best and needs must!

5) Milestones – Whether you choose to go back full time or part time, we all want to make every milestone. However in reality, this isn’t always possible. Be there for the ones that you can but accept that you are going to miss some and that this is perfectly normal. Instead enjoy the moment that they get to showcase to you their new skill.

6) Not one size fits all! If your first child went to a particular nursery and you always assumed your second childcare would go there too, accept that this may not be the case. There are numerous reasons that this might happen. Firstly, the nursery may no longer work logistically for you or your second child simply doesn’t like that particular nursery. We all assume that we are going to treat our children exactly the same, but in reality we react to their individual needs and personalities.

Next week, we will discuss your rights if returning after maternity leave and what to specifically consider if going back full-time.