Helping parents make confident choices

Going back to work now you’re a mum

You’re ready to go back to work, but finding a job that fits around being a mum is top priority. Here’s how to find the right part-time work for you

"I like my job - can I do it part-time?"

Love the role you did before giving birth, but not the hours? It's time to talk to your boss. But remember, while you're entitled to ask to go part-time, your employer is not legally obliged to say yes. The key is to make part-time working sound like a good option.


Do your homework
"Many employers find that part-timers work more productively as they're used to having to get a lot done in a short space of time. It's all about getting this across to your employer," says Clare Birtles, editor of A Return To Work. Investigate the company's policy with the HR department before meeting with your boss, and talk to other members of staff who've gone part-time. "Everyone's company is different, so the key is to be prepared," says Gillian Nissim, founder of

"I need to find a new part-time role"

If going back to your old role just won't work, you might find yourself thinking about a new role. Don't assume that a year off has left you rusty. It can also add new strings to your bow. "Adapt your CV and use what you've absorbed in bringing up children to add additional skills to your repertoire such as time management or creativity. If you've learned first aid or set up a mum's circle then use this if it's relevant to skills you might need in your chosen part-time role," advises Clare Birtles.

Aim high
Don't assume a job would be too much for you - give the application a try. "Apply for both full and part-time jobs. If you impress at interview, an employer might even consider a job share. Check out all avenues for job adverts, from the internet to your local paper. Most of all, be confident. You've brought a new life into the world, what a fantastic contribution you've already made to society," says Clare.

"I'd like to work for myself part-time"

Heard the term 'mumpreneuer'? It's highly likely as more and more mums are setting up their own businesses. The benefits are huge - you work flexible hours and you're the boss. Whether it's a company or a new product, the sky's the limit. But where do you start? "Many mums look for new roles - you can get really creative with how you tailor the skills you have to a new role," says Gillian Nissim. "One area of our site that does well is the self-employed and franchisee area, as those options give you more control over when you work."

"Where do I start with my own business?"

"Look at your skills - a writer could consider freelance writing, teachers might offer private tuition, IT professionals could set up their own consultancy or work on a contract basis. Have you got a hobby you could develop into a small business? If you're looking for help starting up, there are plenty of government schemes and initiatives," says Clare Birtles.

The Enterprise Agency (look in the Yellow Pages for your local branch) offers help with writing a business plan, gaining funding and getting in touch with local assistance, while Business Link is an organisation set up to promote businesses locally and nationally. You can have an advisor visit your home or business to give mentoring advice.


Follow our stress-free guide to returning to work.


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