Tips for returning to work (after baby and or illness)

6 May 2019

Returning to work after the weekend can be painful enough but going back after a long period of time off can be even worse. I'll be returning to work (for the second time in a year) after taking three months off to recover from a Stroke. The first time I went back was in November and I was in fact starting a whole new job and leaving the kid at nursery. This time around I've gotten to know my colleagues and can just about remember my job so it's not as daunting but there are definitely some measures that I can put into place to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Beat the Baby 

The morning routine is solely my responsibility so I have run it with military precision to ensure that we are both out of the door on time and not for a day of number crunching and finger painting (I'll leave you to guess who does what). At his earliest (I've probably jinxed this now) Fred wakes up at around 7am. Whilst I've been off work and our mornings haven't needed to be rushed, he's been my little alarm clock but we can't be starting our day on his terms anymore. It's hard to try and get us both dressed, fed and ready to leave at the same time so I've found that beating the baby albeit a struggle to begin with, is a much easier and stress-free way of getting ready to go; I tend to get up an hour to forty-five minutes before Fred to give myself chance to down coffee, get dressed and ready, down more coffee as well as pack his nursery bag, feed the cats and anything else that I can fit in that time. This means that once he's up I can totally focus on him and even give him time to have  a little play with the washing machine if he's lucky.

Choosing the right breakfast 

Fred is now at the age where he can feed himself pretty well (we're still working on spoon feeding) but I'm confident with leaving him to eat without leaning over him making sure he chews and swallows every bite without choking. Sometimes mornings don't go to plan and I need some baby-free time to find clean trousers for him, work out where he's hidden my work pass and try and dissuade the cat from living in the cupboard. In these cases some toast and fruit (let's be honest it's mostly chocolate spread on toast) is an ideal breakfast to let Fred enjoy / throw on the carpet whilst I run around like a lunatic. In other situations, letting Fred banquet alone isn't ideal and he needs speed-feeding some porridge in record timing whilst I simultaneously down record timing

Plan the night before 

I can't stress how handy this tip is, I do everything the night before starting with choosing and planning the next day's outfits for both of us (plus a couple of back up outfits for Fred), packing both our bags and double checking we have everything we need, planning my makeup and hair and keeping the items needed in an easily accessible box next to my mirror where I get ready. I prepare Freddie's morning bottle the night before (he's on cow's milk so it's just poured and popped in the fridge) and make sure that if I'm having a packed lunch it's also prepped and ready to go. This means that in the morning (providing that all things are going to plan), we just get up, dressed, eat and go.

Make a list 

Since my Stroke, a to do list is my new favourite thing; my memory isn't what it used to be and I often second guess and don't trust myself. Writing everything that needs to be done down ensures that I don't forget anything but I've also found that writing down questions (for appointments) that I may forget in the moment down ensures that they get asked. This applies to returning to work when you'll be asked if you need anything, if there's anything that can help you and if you're unsure of your duties and how to complete them. There's a lot of my job that I'll have forgotten but I know that there's no expectation for me to suddenly remember everything, I'll have lots of questions, things that I need re-training on and some time to gain some confidence and that's ok. Being prepared and aware of it is the first step to improving. 

New Clobber 

If you can afford it I highly recommend getting a new work outfit or something that you'd wear to work to help you feel the part, there's a saying that goes something along the lines of "dress as the boss you want to be" for me it's "dress like you can remember where you are". I've spent the past three months in leggings, jeans and baggy jumpers and I've got to root out some smart trousers, get my heels on and dress for the office and looking the part also makes me feel the part. (In addition to this, I can't seem to find my black trousers anywhere and need to get some new ones), having a new outfit, coat or shoes can really help make a day of work feel much better. 

Have an evening routine 

Having a structured plan for the evening helps make sure that you stay on top of home and work life. Returning to work is exhausting and by Friday (presuming you work Mon-Fri) you'll be ready to sleep for a week but making sure you've got things done in the week means that you can factor in some well deserved chill time. I'be found the concept of a 'Hinch half-hour' really useful in making sure that housework gets done, in that time I can hoover and mop the floors, put some washing on and quickly clean the bathroom and kitchen each day I can mix it up so that by the weekend I have time for family (and sleeping). 


As I mentioned above, the transition back to work after a long period of time off and especially for reasons due to illness and maternity leave is exhausting and it's all about balance and making sure that you don't become too overwhelmed but also stay organised. Finding a routine can take it's time as can adjusting to the change and if you're struggling seek help from friends, family and employers to avoid any additional stress and worry.


  1. I'm delighted that you are well enough to go back to work. Great tips here. My Mam always prepped the night before (I always remember her setting the table for breakfast as we were going to bed) - it definitely helps, especially with getting clothes ready. Wishing you the very best of luck, Issy xx

    Beautylymin | L'Occitane Perfume Giveaway

  2. Good luck with your first day / week back - I hope it all goes smoothly. It looks like your work were happy to see you back :-) x

  3. I was SO proud of you yesterday going back, and their little party for you was SO cute! Really hoping your week goes well - and you are so right a new outfit can make all the difference in confidence!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  4. Glad things are going well for you! Routine and preparing ahead make life so much easier and weekday mornings a lot less stressful

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  5. I needed this post. This is the last week of my maternity leave. Absolutely dreading it.

    Roxie |

  6. Oh it's been so amazing seeing you go back to work xx

  7. So proud of you for getting back into your routine so easily x

  8. Ah I loved this, so many fab tips lovely and that's fab you're back at work x
    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

  9. It's amazing to see how quickly you've bounced back! Good luck with everything x

  10. You’re super organised! I need to take a leaf of out your book.

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