Tag Archives: maternity leave

Share Your Return To Work Story

26 Feb

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a real worry, no matter what your family and job situation. There is so much to think about, and everyone’s worries will be different. It’s important that you consider your options but don’t let these worries take over your maternity leave – it’s such a special time and you should enjoy getting to know your baby. If you have any concerns about returning to work, please get in touch with us for free helpful tips and advice, or just someone to talk to. Call us on 0800 043 2440, or join our friendly Flexi-Mum group on Facebook.

  • How will my baby cope without me all day?
  • How can I sit still and concentrate all day?
  • What am I going to wear?
  • What are “Keeping in Touch” days?
  • Which childcare option is best for me?
  • What hours do I want to work?
  • What if my baby is poorly?
  • How on earth am I going to get to work on time?
  • When should I go back?
  • I’m not as passionate about my job as I used to be!
  • How will I cope without my baby?
  • What are my rights?
  • I don’t remember how to do my job!
  • I’m so tired, how will I get through the day?
  • Will I have to stop breastfeeding?
  • How flexible will my employer be?
  • Will I get any in-work benefits?
  • Can I afford not to go back?
  • Can I afford to take a full year off?

Most Mums on maternity leave have asked these questions, and many more. Luckily, most of these Mums find a solution that works for them, their children and their employer, and many more find that going back to work allows them to regain their own identity, which can get a little lost when they become a Mum. We would love to hear your stories about returning to work, your worries and how you overcame them. Please email us at info@opsw.co.uk to share your story – we might even feature you in a future edition of our Flexi-Mum magazine!

Flexi-Mum Project

22 Apr

We are delighted to announce that Flexi-Mum, a pilot project set up by Opportunity Plus South West to support Mums of all ages to develop and improve their work-life balance, has been supported by the Big Lottery and has received an Awards for All grant.  This funding will allow us to inspire Mums of all ages and backgrounds across Devon and Somerset, and beyond, to pursue their goals, and make the most of their local resources.


We started running Flexi-Mum as part of the second phase of the main Opportunity Plus South West project.  A large proportion of our customers seeking business start up support in the first phase of the project were Mums looking to start their own business to gain more flexibility, or to top up their part time employment income, often using new skills and passions they had discovered since becoming a parent.  Flexi-Mum is designed to support Mums (with children of any age) with the specific difficulties they can face.  This includes things like:

  • Returning to employment after maternity leave
  • Starting your own business
  • Seeking new, flexible employment
  • Volunteering
  • Retraining
  • Choosing to take a career break to focus on parenting

We have been out and about meeting Mums across Devon and Somerset to discuss their needs/worries and have come across a range of inspirational stories and ways of managing work-life balance as a working parent.


With the funding we have been awarded, we will be publishing three magazines as part of this project, to inspire and motivate Mums.  If you would like to write an article for the magazine, please get in touch.  We are looking for a range of articles, and would love to hear your ideas.  This is a really exciting opportunity for anyone looking to get into any kind of journalism, or wanting to promote their business, or just share their story to inspire others.

You can find out more about Flexi-Mum by following us on Facebook, joining our Facebook group for peer support, and reading our blog.  If you would like to discuss your own situation, call our friendly advisors on 0800 043 2440.

View the Fleximum advert.

4 Simple Steps to Beat the September Slump

3 Sep

This is a guest post written by Soozi Hadj Lazib.  Soozi runs her own business and blog, Maternity Leavers [www.maternityleavers.com] which is all about supporting women on maternity leave with their career choices.  She is also the resident career coach on Mum and Working [www.mumandworking.co.uk] and a featured expert on Greatvine [www.greatvine.com].

Have you ever had that problem where the more time you have, the less you get done?

September heralds new beginnings (I know, traditionally it’s meant to be Spring, but with school terms and summer holidays, September is when everyone feels like starting or re-energising things) so if you’ve got kids of school age or are dealing with people who do, you’ve probably treated summer as a bit of down time and have been waiting it out until you’ve got more time.

Only, then September comes, and despite having more time than you did before, your productivity hits rock bottom. You find yourself overwhelmed and completely unable to get anything done.

The good news is that it happens to everyone and there are a few simple steps to get back on track. So if you’re feeling a bit unfocused, here are some tips to get focused again:

1. Know what your aim is

What are you ultimately trying to achieve? If you’re not clear on this, it’s impossible to work out what the important things are that you need to do in order to achieve it.

2. Make lists – lots of them!

If you have one big To Do list that gets added to quicker than items are crossed off, what you end up with is a huge list – most of which you ignore. Admit it – do you find yourself skim reading and plucking off the things you want to do, rather than the things you should do? You keep yourself busy, but on the wrong things.

Make smaller – more focused – lists instead.

Try making a new list every day, so you have to decide what to carry across from the previous day. Writing the same task down day after day will either make you do it, or realise it doesn’t need to be done.

Or rank your list by importance – and then follow it through by only doing the things you’ve ranked with the highest importance.

3. Establish a routine

If you’re working for yourself it can be tempting to just work whenever you feel like it. You may be putting in lots of hours, but spending unfocused time can be as bad as not spending any time on it. For instance, while you’re sat in front of your computer are you really doing what you think you’re doing? Or do you have lots of things open that you’re constantly flicking between?

Instead, decide which hours you’re going to work each day, and what tasks you’re going to do during those hours. If it helps, you could even book ‘appointments’ into your diary for each of the tasks. That way you don’t waste your time wondering what to do next, and you can assign your time realistically.

4. Plan your day at night

The night before, obviously. The last task you should do each day is to make your list for tomorrow. That way, you can start each day without faffing over what you’re going to do.

So instead of letting a September slump happen to you, be ready for the extra time – and when it hits you, use it wisely. Be clear on what you should be doing, and then be disciplined enough to do it.

Told you it was simple!