back to school

How to go back to work once your kids start school?

A lot of women talk about going back to work once your kids start school when they are in nursery when dropping their little ones off and in the daytime “Tumble Tots” groups. Their kids are about to start primary school in September and they are thinking about returning to work.

Why do it?

Most of us want a bit of ‘me’ time. Some adult time where we can have adult discussion that’s not about nappies and drawing on the walls. We want time to use our brains again and show the world that we can exist outside of our houses and village halls. A lot of us secretly miss our careers and pine for our working status, which to be honest is not a bad thing, but why do we feel so guilty about it when our partners don’t! Let’s face it, we love our children dearly and we know they need us, but for those 6 hours when they will be at school, do you need to be at home? As far as I’m concerned there is only so much housework you can do short of being OCD about it!

What do you need to think about?

Okay, so you are tired enough as it is, looking after small people is no mean feat and you know by 4pm you’re ready to slump on the sofa and let them wreak havoc for half an hour while you have a coffee! So, are you ready to pack in an 8 hour day into that as well? I can see you running to the hills screaming now! Stop! It’s not that bad honestly! We get on with it, and it brings in the extra income for us to be able to take the kids out for the day or go on holiday, or get those expensive shoes we have been pining for!

Also, some Mums speak about lacking confidence. It’s a big part of coming out of the rat race and then having to throw yourself back into it again 5 or 10 years later. You know how fast technology moves, so it’s a realistic fear as to whether some young thing has nicked your old job or whether you will be able to work the systems they will have put in place. However, now is not the time to give up. You still have a brain and are very capable of using it and re-training it.

It’s also a great time to think about what you really want to do, and your old career might not be what your current values stand for. Go and have a coffee and write down all the things that you would like to achieve, more often than not, your new career path will come out of that list. Also, think about your new skills as a mother; you know do a lot every day; write them down and then re-word them into skills that you can use in the workplace, such as organised and disciplined – you get the kids to nursery/school on time with all their bags don’t you!?

There is a lot of support out there for Mums going back to work. Career advice, confidence classes, coaching and CV writing experts are aplenty. There are a lot of people who recognise the multitude of skills that Mums have and are able to assist with helping Mums believe that they can do it again. The Mumsnet conference in London last year heard from speakers who aim to help Mums find the right path back to work. Career consultants are becoming increasingly popular with Mums who want a new career path after having their children, but are nervous about taking the next step.

Then there is the aspect of time. So, you think you can go back to work full time? So, pack in a 37.5 hour working week alongside school hours? It can be done and many of us do it, however, if you want to do this there are a myriad of things to think about, such as:

  • The school run – can you fit it in? Who will do it instead?
  • School holidays – how many days annual leave do you get?
  • Staff development days – you didn’t think of these did you, but there are around 5 per year.
  • Sports days and Christmas Nativity’s – you can’t miss these!
  • After school clubs – you want your children to experience lots of different things, but you still have to pick them up! Mind you, it gives you an extra ½ hour onto your working day, but please make sure you children actually want to do it!
  • The possibilities of having to use breakfast clubs and after school care. They aren’t free and you have to organise someone to pick them up from school to take them there.

Now that’s on a good day! You also need to think about poorly kids and what you do when they are off sick from school. Sickness is normally a 24 ban from school premises in some schools its 48 hours. There are Doctors and dental appointments to factor in as well. I know some parents who have the argument about whose work is more important or who took the last sick day off – do you want or need that stress?  

So, have a serious think about it. You could go back to work full time, no one is stopping you, but you need to make contingency plans for all of these challenges well in advance. Also, take into consideration the cost of all of these too and weigh it up with the salary you are going to get, it needs to cover all this and more to be worth doing.

How are you going to achieve all of this?

To be honest, there is a lot of support out there for working Mums, but if anyone from the Government is reading this, it could be a lot better! Also, employers need to embrace it more too.

Flexible working

The easiest way round it is to look at flexible working, which is what I talked about in my article entitled “Baby steps to a secure financial future, Considerations and options of money and work entitlements for expectant and new mums going back to employment or starting their own business.”.

These options will allow you the flexibility of doing the school runs and being there for all the other things that go on at school. You still need to put plans in place for holidays and school closures, and having a chat with your boss in advance could be a great way of negotiating this time.

Working for yourself

The most flexible way of working around the kids is to start your own business and be your own boss. This allows you the freedom to work the hours you want to and be at home when your little ones need you.

It is, however, definitely not the easiest option and it involves a lot of commitment and self-motivation. You need to have the passion for what you are doing and the drive to make it work. There are many courses and workshops available to those who would like to take this route but are not sure of where to start.

You can either:

start from scratch which means a lot of planning time needed to set up your systems and processes. You also need to think about designing your brand and everything that goes with that, as well as establishing yourself in your market.


you can take the option of buying into a franchise, so you can become self employed but with the security of an established business, a ready-made website, existing customer service software, processes and programmes in place to follow, sales and marketing training and many marketing tools available to you.  This can be a great option for busy Mums who just want to get out there and get going without all the stress of planning and uncertainty. There is the initial outlay, which of course you will have with a start-up as well, but you are more likely to start earning money a lot quicker this way.

So, when you are going to start?

There is no time like the present! Stand up (yes, do it now..), dust the crumbs off (you know they are there!), take a deep breath and say out loud, “I can do this!

September is swiftly coming upon us and the kids will be off school for 6 weeks soon, which gives you a great opportunity to have a go at working around the school holidays before you really have to!

If you start planning now, you can be ready to kick off in September when your little treasure heads off into the playground in their smart new uniform and you feel like a part of you has been taken away – you can then smile and feel that tingle from knowing that there is a new, exciting challenge just about to start for you as well as your little one.

If you are thinking of working for yourself and are interested in a new direction, then give us a call as we are currently recruiting.

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