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Working From Home After Maternity Leave: Conquering A Smooth Transition

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If you need to go back to work after having your baby, working from home after maternity leave is something I think every mother wants.

Today I want to show you how to go from being on maternity leave to working a remote job.

In fact, these are the things I did to make a smooth transition and become a work at home mom.

And even if you don’t have maternity leave because you work part-time, these tips still apply.

Let’s get to it.

A Dose Of Reality Goes A Long Way

It’s no secret that being a work from home mom is awesome but let’s face it –there are challenges when returning to work after maternity leave.

Like this one: Some jobs don’t transfer well to working from home.

For instance, Human Resources and Accounting.  I was an accountant in my pre-baby days so I know the importance of being “on location”.

But, lucky for all you new moms, a lot of jobs make going back to work easy…like anything related to customer service.  And if you have skilled hobbies, like social media and writing, there are a lot of remote jobs for you.

And this: As a new mom, you’re tied to your baby’s schedule. Newborns sleep a lot– like 2/3rds of the time – but the reality ?  They sleep for maybe two hours at a time…all day and all night.  Just when you’re on a roll, baby needs you.  Yes, it will happen.

Not to mention…you’ll have to learn how to manage baby, life, and work as it hits you.

Which can be really overwhelming.

So this is what I did…

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Honestly, don’t sweat the small stuff because when you start working again you’ll have a whole new set of stressors to think about like: will you make enough money ? Will you be able to find chunks of time to actually get work done ? How’s baby doing ?

These are huge things to be concerned with.

The secret is to not even try to do everything you used to do. As much as you want to be super-mom, it’s not worth it.

Here’s what I mean…

There’s nothing wrong with having your home looking lived-in. I would run around the house doing quick clean-ups every day instead of trying to carve out a big chunk of time to do a full house clean.  And that’s ok.

And forget about trying to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes because they probably won’t fit. It’ll take a while for your body to bounce back…like months…so why torture yourself ? In fact, some doctors tell us it takes 6-10 weeks for your uterus to get back in shape so bet on the rest of your body parts taking longer…and they probably won’t go back to where they were pre-pregnancy.

Believe me, you have bigger things to fret over.

For instance, for me, the biggest decision I had to make was deciding what to do with my baby when I went back to work.  Because, like I said earlier, I really, really wanted to work from home. I’ll touch on this in a minute.

Now, let’s…

Figure Out How Much Time You NEED To Work

Do you hope to go back to work part-time?

Do you need a full-time job ?

Well, to figure out exactly how much flexibility you need and how many hours you can work, you first need to figure out how much money you need to earn.

Take a look at your financial situation. Use a budgeting spreadsheet to track all your expenses and income.  Seriously, write it all down. Seeing it brings it to reality – and determines how much you should work based on what you think you’ll be earning.

I use this free personal budget spreadsheet from Vertex42 because it works with just about any spreadsheet platform.

Here are the steps to use it:

  1. Go here to get the spreadhseet
  2. Click the download button for whichever spreadsheet platform you use.
  3. Save it to your computer
  4. Start entering your income and expenses

The very top section will calculate how much money you have left after deducting expenses from income (Net Income-Expense).  Can you live off that ?

Now that you know how much money you need to earn, it’s time to…

Figure Out What Kind Of Work You Really Want To Do

First, here’s what you need to do…

…Take a hard look at what you liked most about your last job
…Narrow down some ideas for new jobs you would like to try

Then, write it all down.  What you liked, what you might like to do, your skills, your talents.

Next, take a look through the freelance platform Upwork.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to start freelancing.  I just want you to get an idea of types of jobs you might not have thought of.

For example, I clicked on the Admin Support link…

Remote Job Ideas

…then browsed through the highest rated Admin. Support freelancers.

Admin Support Work

See the different “things” these Admin Supporters do ?  Content writing, database management, social media marketing.

Now that you have your mind racing with new ideas, it’s time to…

Take Advantage Of Learning Something New

I have a background in accounting but this line of work doesn’t transfer well to working from home.

So I figured, what better time to change careers ?

You know how I made the point of narrowing down ideas for a new job to try ? Here’s your opportunity to do that.

For example:

My friend Anita started doing podcast-to-blog transcription after 10 years in the hospitality business. She learned how to do transcription by taking this inexpensive online course and studying when she had the time. Eventually, she took this transcription course and got her first high-paying job in 5 weeks.

And another example:

My friend Cyndi is a Social Media Specialist with a company based in Florida…and she lives in Michigan. Before she had her baby she was a Purchasing Coordinator who wanted to have the flexibility to stay at home after her baby was born.  She HAD to work so she found this social media management course. Within 2 months of learning what she needed to know, she landed the remote job with the company in Florida.


My friend Connie sells Mary Kay Cosmetics. She used to be a Dental Hygienist.

Our “new” work is completely different than what we knew but with a little help from awesome training courses we have been able to start making a decent living.  Oh…we also beefed-up our skill set.

Which brings me to this:

Expand Your Skills And Learn New Tools

No matter what type of work you decide to do from home, you’ll be using tools.

Not just a computer and phone, but video conferencing tools like FaceTime and Skype because a lot of companies looking for home-based and remote employees want to talk face-to-face.

It’s also important to be familiar with other video communication / group chat tools:

And collaboration tools, like:

And time/project management tools like:

All these tools are used by businesses of all sizes, which is why they are able to hire remote employees.

Now, I’m not saying you should buy these tools – leave that for the companies.

Here’s what I suggest:

Get to know these tools. If they have a free-to-try version, check it out.

And, if you find a great job with a cool company that has a product that helps their customers, get to know what that product does.

OK, now you’re ready to…

Start Looking For A Work From Home Job

Believe it or not, when I was on maternity leave I actually had an hour or so of precious free time every day.

I could have spent it watching TV.

Or napping. I love napping.

But – because I knew maternity leave would not last forever and I was growing more and more attached to the thought of working at home after having my baby, I had to spend my time wisely.

There are a LOT of companies that have flexible work schedules, perfect after having a baby.  And when it comes to finding work from home jobs, there’s no shortage of blogs out there telling us the best jobs for stay at home moms. Making it so easy to get side-tracked !

So this is how I reigned in my time:

  • I went from reading every work from home blog out there to only a few of the best: ones that actually taught me something about working from home and gave me legitimate jobs with real companies – not a bunch of garbage.
  • I didn’t waste my time applying to every remote job. Although I was tempted. Truth be told, I knew I wasn’t qualified for a lot of the jobs I was interested in so I didn’t waste my time.
  • I didn’t waste my time on those simple “get paid to…” jobs. The pay is crap and it takes a lot of time to make just a few bucks.

When I figured out what kind of work I really wanted to do (as explained a few paragraphs above), it became easier to actually find work.

I then checked out my absolute favorite place to find remote jobs: We Work Remotely.

A few other great places to find jobs are Problogger (for writing jobs) and RemoteOK (curated list of virtual jobs)

If you’re considering doing freelance work, Hubstaff Talent is awesome

And, of course, there’re a lot of companies and jobs here.

Now it’s time for the biggest decision yet:

Setting Up Child Care And Do You Really Need It ?

I’m just going to say it: working from home with a baby is tough. You know what it’s like having to cater to baby’s every need so how are you supposed to get any work done ?

To be honest, my husband and I went back and forth on our child care decision. Turns out, My job allowed me to have our little guy right there with me all the time. I didn’t have a phone job so his occasional crying didn’t affect anyone.

And while I’m being truthful here, I can’t tell you what to do. It depends on your job and your situation.

But I will say this: Phone-based customer service jobs almost always require you to have a quiet environment. Some moms get away with using noise-canceling ear pieces, some moms have a sitter, some moms use daycare.

And if you are fortunate to snag a job where you can have your baby with you all day, I have some tips on how to work at home with a toddler.

Ready To Go Back To Work After Maternity Leave ?

I hope you found this guide on returning to work after maternity leave helpful.

Now I’d like to hear from you;

Have you found a job ?

Do you have the flexibility you want ?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

Working From Home After Maternity Leave
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