Top 10 Resources for Mums Returning to Work
Going back to work after having a baby is one of the hardest things you can do. This is made more difficult with every additional month that you stay on maternity leave.
If you are going back to the same role after six months off, you might not feel too daunted. But if you are returning after 1-2 years, or longer, or if you are returning to a new role or a whole new job, the prospects can be downright nerve-wracking.
And then if you add to the stress of getting back to work the worries of leaving your child in care, or wondering how your housework will ever get done, it is completely natural to feel a bit uncertain of yourself.
Fortunately, there are many services and resources to help you come back, and almost all of them are free.
One of the best things you can do is prepare early for your return, don’t wait until the last minute because you don’t want to think about it. Keep your brain in the game a little while you are on leave, this will help your skills and your confidence immensely when you do come back.
The resources we’ve listed below will be an enormous help to you, with all aspects of getting back to work.
#1 Australian Breastfeeding Association
This incredible not-for-profit community group has been around for decades and works tirelessly to help mothers everywhere breastfeed whenever they can. Their website has so much information and fact sheets, including assistance with how to express to breastfeed, and what your rights are with regard to breastfeeding/expressing when you go back to work.
Through their website, you can get access to one on one advice, online forums, and local support groups, as well as their shop of helpful products.
They also have a page with heaps of help specifically about work, including their promotion of Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces (BFWs). Check out their extensive resources here.
Visit Website: Australian Breastfeeding Association
#2 Fair Work Ombudsman
You have legal rights regarding returning to work after maternity leave, which we discussed further in our article here.You have the right not to discriminate against because you are a woman, a mother, breastfeeding, or a bunch of other reasons that employers might discriminate against you.
You have the right to negotiate a part-time return to work, as long as the workplace can reasonably support it. If you are unsure if you are being treated fairly with regard to being allowed to come back, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman to get some more advice.
Their website is also full of resources and links to handy pages.
Visit Website: Fair Work Australia
#3 Online training
There is an absolute plethora of online training you can partake in, including short and long courses, and free and fee-paying ones. You can access videos on YouTube teaching all sorts of things, or subscribe to an app like Skillshare which has unlimited training courses and webinars for everything under the sun.
If you are looking to change careers or just brush up on developments in your industry, before you return could be a very good time to do this. It will keep your brain active and alert, give you something to do that is not watching Peppa Pig 24-7 and will increase your confidence when it does come time to go back.
If you are returning to the same employer, talk to them about possible accredited training you can do that will go towards your current career.
If you are looking into a whole new role this is an excellent way to get started. And if you have no idea where to start, why not try some online career aptitude testing for some ideas.
Helpful websites for training include:
#4 Jobsearch assistance
If you have applied for a government jobseeking benefit payment such as Newstart, then you have automatic access to providers of Jobsearch Assistance. These are paid by the government to offer free services to the public such as resume writing, interview skills, access to vacancies and more.
Mums returning to work don’t have to be on a Newstart benefit to access these services and should be able to get help from them looking for new work. Matchworks is one of these providers that can help you, contact them here.
#5 Social Media
Mums at home are usually very active on social media, and this is one medium they have got down.
Social media is not just for getting social however, it is a fantastic place to look for work or let people know that you are available.
#6 Forums and group support
You can access online forums and chat groups of women in the same boat as you, to get career advice, be sure your employer is treating you fairly, or just vent if you need to. Some great forums or groups that can provide support for you include:
Facebook Page: Working Mothers Connect
Facebook Page: Mums with hustle biz club
Facebook Page: Life Business Motherhood Community
Facebook Page: Working Mothers Support Group
Discussion Forum: Breastfeeding Forum
If you have been out of the paid workforce for some time, you might need to get your confidence back up again before you look for work. Volunteering can be a great resource for this; it is again something to keep your mind in work mode while you are at home with the baby and can teach you new skills.
It doesn’t necessarily mean working in an op-shop or running meals to elderly people (although you can do this if you want), but can be anything including digital marketing, counselling, tender writing, event planning, basic administration, fundraising and so much more.
Volunteering while you are on maternity leave can be a great way to boost your resume.
Your local council usually has a volunteer resource centre with local vacancies, but you could also search for volunteer positions through the following websites:
Visit Website: Go Volunteer
Visit Website: Seek Volunteer
Now I might be showing my age on this one, but your library is a great resource as well. You can access the computers and internet there if you have none at home, as well as read books on retraining for work, interviewing, resumes and more.
Also, libraries have free magazines, let you breastfeed without embarrassment, have air conditioning, have songs for babies and activities for toddlers, and you can stay there all day. Personally, I think all new mums should hang out at the library more often.
#9 Your Mothers’ group and friends
Talk to the women around you who are or have been in the same shoes as you. It is likely that many members of your Mothers’ Group will be returning to work at a similar time, and some of them may have the same apprehensions about this as you.
Or if your employer has not been as welcoming back as you would like, perhaps one of your Mothers’ Group might have a job going with their more family-friendly workplace.
Even just the women around you who have small children have been where you are and faced many of the same stresses and difficulties. Lean on them and talk to them, bend their ears and get some advice whenever you can. Learn from their mistakes; mothers seem to love telling people about their mistakes so someone can learn from them.
#10 Specific companies
As well as these general resources, there are some specific companies and groups set up exactly to help mums get back to work. You may also want to contact the following:
10.1 Just Mums Recruitment
This recruitment agency specialises in vacancies for mothers getting back to work, so advertise only family friendly, part-time or work from home positions. All employers that advertise with them have specifically asked for a mum because they know how hard they work, how skilled they are, how high their level of focus and awesome their ability to multitask.
Just Mums Recruitment is growing everyday and always have new vacancies. They are a free resource for mums.
Visit Website: Just Mums Recruitment
10.2 Mums at Work
This service offers support, advice, advocacy, employment vacancies, jobsearch assistance and much more for a subscription fee of under $16 a month.
Visit Website: Mums At Work