Getting mums back to work – what are the options? 2023 update

As I write this post, all across the land there are mums….frustrated mums….who have between them so many fantastic skills they could rule the world, yet somehow for so many of them….getting back to work…and work that is flexible seems to be such a challenge.

So if you’re a mum whose time of maternity leave is coming to a close, or perhaps you chose to be a stay-at-home mum for those formative years but now are getting itchy and thinking about returning to work, what are your options?

Go back to your old job

For some mums, maternity leave leads naturally to resuming your old job. That works for some mums, and not for others. You might decide that the reality of this is all too much and in fact perhaps you might need a more flexible way of working like job sharing. If you’re planning on going back to your old job make sure you keep in touch with your colleagues throughout, and keep up to speed on what is happening in the industry by staying in touch with your industry press.

Find a new job

This can be a huge step change as a mum, as it can feel hugely daunting coming from what feels like a very different place, to dancing with the prospect of a new employer again. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start working on your CV first and remember all the things you were great at before your life was taken over my nappies and puke.  Because yes! you were once great and still are. There are some really great networks out there that advertise jobs specifically for mums like 2to3days and you can also check out Mumsnet Jobs too.

Become self-employed

In this day and age, there was never an easier time to be self-employed and quite frankly mums EVERYWHERE are doing it. Whether you decide to finally pursue your dream of setting up your own online shop, party planning business or perhaps join an already existing direct sales or franchise network, the choice is yours, and when you find the ideal franchise opportunity, you’ll be amazed at the way it can change your life for the better.

Whilst being self-employed does take a huge amount of discipline, the flexibility it brings in my view….if it’s the right thing….can be worth its weight in gold. If you’re thinking of setting up your own venture it’s always worth talking to a business consultant who can help set you in the right direction.

Go off-piste

Apart from the obvious above, a return to work doesn’t have to be vanilla. I was quite clear about the fact that I didn’t want to return to work as I knew it, and that I didn’t want to work for someone else. Although I started my blog two years ago on a whim, I did have the tiniest inkling it could turn into something. After two years it provided me with a sustainable part-time income and all the benefits of flexible working that I quite frankly feel eternally blessed for.

Of course…it doesn’t have to be a blog. It could be something entirely different that doesn’t conform to the usual “back to work” train of thought. I have mum friends who have become child minders, have retrained as beauticians, taken the Digital Mums Social Media course and become social media managers or have become dog walkers. They are all phenomenally happy with their new way of bringing in income.

Go back to the books

Going back to work doesn’t have to be immediate and if you’re looking to take a longer-term view and do something new. This crossroads can be the perfect opportunity to do just that. Today there are so many ways to retrain in a flexible manner that can sit more practically alongside mum life. Deciding to retrain however, is a big step but if it’s something you’re considering Netmums has a handy guide on getting back to education here which is well worth a read.

Leverage the power of networking

Don’t underestimate the power of networking, even during your time away from work. Attend industry events, webinars, and conferences, and maintain connections with former colleagues. Networking can lead to unexpected opportunities and keep you informed about industry trends, making your reentry smoother.

Consider remote work and freelancing

Remote work and freelancing have gained immense popularity. This offers mums the chance to engage in meaningful projects while maintaining a flexible schedule. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr can connect you with freelance gigs that align with your skills and interests.

Explore job sharing and flexible contracts

Traditional full-time roles aren’t your only option. Explore job-sharing arrangements, where responsibilities are divided between two part-time employees. Additionally, many companies now offer flexible contracts that allow you to work part-time, remotely, or during specific hours, catering to your family’s needs.

Final thoughts

In the grand tapestry of life, the role of a mum stands as one of the most vital and transformative. Yet, within every mum resides a reservoir of talents, skills, and aspirations that extend beyond the boundaries of parenthood. As you stand at the crossroads, contemplating your return to the professional realm, remember that the journey ahead is brimming with possibilities.

Whether you choose to tread familiar paths or forge new trails, the choices you make are a testament to your resilience and determination. The landscape of work has evolved, offering a spectrum of avenues that can seamlessly intertwine with your role as a mum. From rekindling past passions to embracing novel ventures, the road back to work is uniquely yours to traverse.

In this journey, celebrate your achievements – both big and small – for they embody your commitment to personal growth and empowerment. Whether you’re returning to the familiar hum of a workspace or embracing the autonomy of self-employment, your choices paint a mosaic of resilience and adaptability.

Are you a mum who is at a crossroads and thinking about going back to work? Which of the above are you considering? Do leave a comment and share.


  1. There are far more options these days than there were when I had my first child. It’s taken me two decades to find something I love doing, though I’ve still no idea if I’m going to be successful at it or not.

  2. My mummy when back to work full time on a compressed hours (flexible working) package. There are a lot of options out there these days, thanks for highlighting them in this post.

  3. Great post there really are some great options to get back into working. I’m hoping to find something flexible when my son is school age.

  4. It’s such a hard decision to make. I went back to work for a year and couldn’t stand being away from Sophie so have now become self-employed: best decision I have ever made!

  5. Oh I’m dreadful. I change my mind like the weather. It’s hard being at home to then go back to work. I had an idea of becoming a teaching assistant, then I was going to run a mum market, then own a coffee shop and now I’m earning nothing blogging lol. There’s certainly a lot more options nowadays

  6. I retrained as an early years worker when I had my fourth and after childminding for a few years I now work in a pre-school

  7. I originally wanted to go back to my job but the child care was more than my wages. I felt quite lost. Then when my 2nd child started preschool I found a part time job and whilst pregnant with my third I got 2 more part time jobs and have now started a blog. Busy, Busy, Busy!

  8. Great post!
    I think the website that matches employers with mummy employees is FANTASTIC, so helpful.

    So hard isn’t it BUT this post will help so many

  9. It can be so hard for us mums. When I finished my maternity, I did not realise how much we are penalised just for having a child, hence why my blog came about.

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