A recent survey conducted by PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) has shown that 9 out of 10 mothers who have been on maternity leave and are due to return to work feel very anxious about the prospect.

The main reasons provided for this are:

  1. Missing their children too much (61%)
  2. Finding suitable childcare (48%)
  3. Their working arrangements not being compatible with having children (40%)

The thought of returning to work for many mothers is a daunting prospect and it is not surprising that the emotional impact on both mother and child can by high.

The survey went on to explain what factors would alleviate some of the anxiety that mothers might be experiencing regarding a return to work. These were listed as follows:

  1. The ability to work part time or flexibly (82%)
  2. Finding suitable childcare (54%)
  3. Having a manager that understands the pressure of having a family (50%)

How an employer manages the return to work process for a mother is clearly a big factor in this and having an organisation that can be flexible in its working arrangements certainly goes a long way in making the transition from maternity leave back into the work environment as smooth as possible.

It is natural for mothers to feel anxious and the necessity for mothers to contribute to the financial burden of family life is more apparent than ever. With the added turmoil of guilt for not being with your child and the concerns around separation anxiety too it is little wonder how stressful this period can be for both mother and child.

As a mother myself all of these challenges are a reality and the need to ease mothers back into the work place is an essential part of being an employer of choice for many mothers. Great communication and developing a real understanding of the key anxieties the mother will be experiencing is a crucial part of this. If there is an option to enable the mother to work more flexibly then this will go a long way in reducing their anxiety and enabling them to return to work in a focussed and productive manner.

Let us not forget that a return to work for many women can also be a very positive experience, which allows them to integrate back into an ‘adult’ environment. It provides a sense of them being back in a situation where they are contributing to Company results rather than just catering for their baby’s needs. This can be very important to many mothers.

My view on this is the most rewarding and valuable role in the world is being able to nurture and care for your baby but it is also important for many mothers to have a non-parental role that enables them to express their talents in other ways. With the help of forward thinking employers then this can be a reality for many mothers.

Donna Fairbrother


The Nursery HR People



01509 833 121