Parents' favourite things about returning to work after having a baby

A family
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A study of 750 mums and dads who have recently returned from parental leave found that a change of scenery and having more structure to the day are among the unexpected pleasures they enjoy after going back to work post-baby. It also emerged that new mums and dads love the variety of resuming their careers (12 per cent), and relish the chance to get dressed up (nine per cent).

Seven in 10 (69 per cent) admit that going to work offers them a welcome break from home life, yet almost half (49 per cent) eagerly anticipate being reunited with their children at the end of the day. As many as 80 per cent enjoy spending time with colleagues, while 72 per cent feel that returning to work has made them appreciate the time they spend with their children even more.

Gill Jones, group chief quality officer at Busy Bees, which commissioned the research, commented: "Returning to work after having a child is a big step for all mums and dads, whether you're eager to resume your career or have made the decision for other, more functional reasons. But this research highlights that the return to work can bring pleasure in lots of small and unexpected ways.

"We love our children, but we also love uninterrupted toilet breaks and not having to microwave our coffee. Our focus is to support parents to make the most of those moments, safe in the knowledge that their little ones are in good hands."

The study also highlighted several ways childcare providers can alleviate the worries of new parents when their child starts at a nursery or with a childminder. It discovered that 46 per cent of parents felt reassured by regular updates on their child's progress throughout the day, while 36 per cent appreciated receiving photos and 37 per cent valued clear communication with their childcare provider.

Furthermore, over eight in 10 (82 per cent) parents who use a nursery believe it has a positive impact on their child. The benefits include developing social skills (50 per cent), boosting confidence (33 per cent), and encouraging them to try new activities (23 per cent).

People in an office
Flexibility from employers is also important for working parents, as the study also found the majority (82 per cent) of returning parents wouldn’t work somewhere that didn’t offer flexibility around their children or childcare. -Credit:Getty Images

The research also emphasised the importance of flexibility from employers for working parents. It found that the majority (82 per cent) of parents returning to work would not consider a job that did not offer flexibility around their children or childcare. The study, conducted via OnePoll, revealed that the most appreciated support offered by employers includes emotional understanding from managers (23 per cent), paid time off for child sickness (27 per cent), and the ability to work from home at short notice when necessary (22 per cent).

Gill Jones from Busy Bees, which has published a guide for helping families adjust to returning to work after maternity or paternity leave, said: "Parents and their children deserve support from their employers and childcare providers to ensure the transition is a positive experience for everyone.

"We understand how important it is for families to strike a balance between spending quality time together and developing their careers. Having the reassurance of professional early years experts, along with regular updates on their little ones' wellbeing, allows parents to focus on their professional lives safe in the knowledge they're doing the best for their child and themselves."

Here are the top 10 things working parents enjoy about getting back to the grind:

  1. Adult conversations

  2. A change of scenery

  3. Engaging their brain in professional tasks

  4. Having more structure to the day

  5. Feeling more like themselves again

  6. Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee while it's still hot

  7. Having more variety to their day

  8. Not having to look at an untidy house

  9. Going to the toilet in peace

  10. Getting dressed up