Readiness to work is one thing, but for many of us, transforming that willingness into a ‘reality’, can be another! Have you found that your mind shouts “go”, but your heart, body, and emotions whisper “stay”?

When it comes to moving back into the workforce, there are so many elements at play – energy levels, budgets for child-care, non-elicited opinions of friends and family, and the big one…confidence levels. We get so immersed in the fairy tale that is motherhood that we lose touch with our ‘professional identity’, and find ourselves in a tug of war between the complexities of the spirit – ”I’d really like to work now, but…”

If you’re smiling to yourself as you read this, and can finish that sentence, here are 5 tips to help you cut through the mental chaos, and turn your desire into a workable reality.

1) Review your professional strengths

Having been immersed in a world of nappies, breastfeeding and sleepless nights, any level of professional confidence can seem hard to conjure up and the mere thought of interviewing for a job gives us shivers. Other than being familiar with the price of prams, what do we have to offer?

The answer is “Plenty”, but you may need to channel the pre-parenthood-you to remember the details. Remember your passions, talents, and all the traits and characteristics that make you both YOU, and also a great employee. List them and bring them back into your conscious being to reintegrate them with the beautiful Mum that you are now.

2) Shift unproductive emotions

Some of our feelings are positive and serve to move us forward toward our goal, (e.g. excitement) whereas others can deter us from succeeding (e.g. low confidence). Take a few minutes to explore what’s going on in your head and heart and write down the details.

Circle the emotions you think might be holding you back and experiment with finding a more positive interpretation for each one, an example is below. Repeat your new thinking for days, over and over again in your head until it’s your new default mindset.

Current unproductive thinking: “I don’t know what professional value I hold – I feel so removed from that world.”

New productive thinking: “I have a lot to offer an employer and once I’m back in a working environment I’ll adjust quickly to that world again.”

3) Create a vision

Next we need to gain crystal clarity about what it is that we want – what type of work, how many hours, where, with who? Use your imagination to visualise it, as if you were sitting in a movie theatre. See yourself at your job, then returning home to find your happy, healthy child running to you for a big hug. If you can visualise it, you can make it real. What we ‘think about’ with vivid detail and passionate intention, functions as a catalyst for our real life experience.

4) Build a strategy

Now that you have a picture of what you want, it’s time to create a plan to make it happen. List all the things that you could do, large or small, to begin the process. Various steps to take toward finding the job, refreshing your CV, sourcing a solution for child-care, organising the wardrobe that you’ll need, transport plans etc.

5) Get started

And now, each day, take some action based on your strategy. It doesn’t have to be anything significant, perhaps just an enquiring phone call, but know that all small steps taken with perseverance, will eventually lead you to your envisioned destination! Your beautifully balanced new life is now right around the corner!

Muffy Churches is the author of Coach Yourself, and is an internationally renowned integrative success coach. Born in the US and settled in Sydney, she works as a corporate trainer, executive coach, speaker, author, and counsellor. She has extensive experience in inspiring and initiating positive behavioural change in clients around the world. For more information visit here

Did you ever struggle with going back to work? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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  • I was out of the work force for 34yrs before returning. That was a huge step and quite scary,.


  • yeah just take it day by day and sort through it


  • We need to stop putting ourselves down.


  • Absolutely, I struggled. Being at work was the easy part. It was the organisation and coordination needed to get to work – Nan to look after baby, food prep, sleep routines, clothing. Then at the end of the day – dinner, baby time, bath time, sleep, hubby time, me time. Some days you felt like it wasn’t work it. I was fortunate to return to a short-term contract and have worked at home for many years, but it was certainly a challenge.


  • I think it can be daunting returning to work after having children but not everyone feels this way. My sister didn’t. She had 4 kids and was super confident returning each time. She said it was because she made sure she was still in the loop with work by catching up with work colleagues fairly regularly, keeping up with current affairs in the news and doing something for herself each day (no matter how small a time it was). I found it a bit difficult to do these things with my first bub, but made the effort with my second and I felt much more prepared and confident going back to work.


  • It is amazing how your confidence returns when you end up the only bread winner because your husband lands in hospital when your little one is only 6 months old and the rent has to be paid or you’re out on the street, etc. And a small problem of buying food to eat is another great confidence builder.


  • Great article! I am in the Armed Forces and I am very nervous about returning to work at the end of the year. I know it can be done as millions of mothers do it, but it is still scary. Not to mention, I am a changed woman now with different career goals and aspirations!!


  • Good advise my oldest is 7 my youngest 3 We have decided i will return to work when the youngest is at school. as my hubby has the early morning start at 5 or 6 in morning so if i can get a job where i can start after school drop off that will be half the problem solved… But getting back out there when been out of the workplace for so many years is scary… Who wants a 40+ person who hasnt worked in years.. Since having kids.. but once my youngest is at school i hope to go to tafe and get my dream job.. I always wanted to be a state enrolled Nurse but 24 years ago they were all been sacked or had there hours cut.. Now good ones are in demand.. I was given really bad advise by the careers adviser at school years ago, not to follow my dream as there were no jobs.. If only i didnt listern to the advise i could of had my dream job, but that will happen.. I only hope now i am smart enough to do what i should of years ago… IM Scared… But to prove to my kids you have to follow your heart i have to do it…


  • Some things that may be a factor. How long you have not been working.
    Are you going back to the same company? Are looking to be doing part time or full time? Are either or both of you likely to be doing shift work?–that is when childminding can be really difficult. I mind some little ones when their parents’ work times over-lap. Sometimes it is basically their travelling time. In their case sometimes one parent meets the other outside the workplace buildiong and hands the child over to the other one….or they may simpy swap cars and the baby doesn’t have to be lifted between cars. If you have been out of a job for awhile, retrurning to the same company and have a friend still working there you may be able to find out what changes have been made. That way you won’t get as big a shock. Good Luck starting another job.


  • Fantastic tips. I can’t wait to get back into workforce.


  • There are great tips here. I returned to my corporate job after 10 months at home and it was incredibly difficult. I had lost a lot of confidence which led to depression and that was no fun for anyone.


  • These are all good tips. I think it’s always scarier to think about doing something than to actually do it.


  • I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mum. My daughter in law will be heading back to work after 4 months of parental leave though. I can’t imagine having to leave my baby. Lucky for her, she works at a Childcare centre and that’s where Bub is booked in


  • Yes I did. I was made redundant 3 months after my daughter was born. I was offered a temp job in a differ ent field when she was 6 months and I did have little confidence but I have it back now


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