The 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Was a Working Parent

Working mum with baby


There’s so much about being a working mother that no-one tells you: I was so overwhelmed when I returned to work, and really struggled to find advice. 

It was only when talking to other parents that I realised I was far from alone, and the struggle is very real! (And this was a big part of the motivation behind The Women’s Vault – I saw an opportunity to help women with the issues around career and motherhood that so many of us struggle with).

Here are five things I wish I’d known when I returned to work:

  • The Mum guilt is wretched. All I wanted was some of kind of machine that allowed me to be in two places at once – snuggling with George on the sofa and doing our walks in the park together and doing my job that I absolutely loved.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ (Take the Mum Guilt quiz here to see how much it is affecting you).
  • You’ve always been able to work late, or arrive early on busy days, but staying at your desk until 8 or 9pm is no longer possible. But you become more efficient, effective and learn how to cut through the clutter to deliver some of your best work. ​​​​​​​​(My 7 tips to boost productivity might help).
  • ​​​​​​​​Some weeks you’ll feel like you’re winning and others you’ll feel like you’ve taken three steps backwards. ​​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​​There will be highs, lows and relentless monotony in between. There will be illnesses, situations where you wish you had more time to concentrate and focus between the rushing and moments of joy when you’ve having coffee and croissants on the beach on Saturday mornings.​​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​​Get comfortable with sharing. Your colleagues know all about teething, sleep regressions and the push and pull between family life and work. ​​​​​​​​

Keep reading for details on some special offers below.

The wheels can fall off after the initial honeymoon period

What I also see now (that I wish I knew then) was how the first month of returning to work can be good, but then the wheels start to come off after this point.

So many women don’t realise how tough it’s going to be: many months later they might be burnt out, exhausted and already wishing for another baby, so that they can “take a break” on maternity leave. 

We return to work excited to have some sense of independence again – to be able to drink a hot cup of coffee uninterrupted, or see colleagues and share photos of your little one – which, of course, you relish.

I’m not telling you this to scare you, or make you feel anxious. I’m letting you know so that someone tells you – as both a trusted advisor and as another working parent – it’s what I wish someone had shared with me. 

In my role as a coach, what I know now is that once the honeymoon period has worn off, as women we face some real challenges, typically in the following areas:

  • Confidence – less than 1 in 5 women feel confident in returning to work after maternity leave
  • Setting boundaries and implementing them – we are so worried about what other people will think, or whether we’ll still be seen as being capable of doing our jobs
  • Burnout – before having a family, you could use the weekends to catch up on sleep, rest and exercise. This lack of personal time, as well as juggling a family and often sick children with work can take a huge toll
  • Juggling work and family – I know this sounds obvious, but we are so used to being able to work late when there’s a deadline, or just to simply get through our volume of work. Suddenly we have to be able to do our work and also fit in doing nursery pick up, bath, books and bedtime, too. The term juggling really does describe it!

There are further challenges too. 

These include: understanding your new identity as a working parent; the challenges of people pleasing, which more commonly affects women and can really become an issue as we become working parents; and carrying a heavier burden as the mother (which includes playing a much more dominant role in looking after our children when they are sick, through to taking them to doctor’s appointments to liaising with your childcare provider or nanny).

If you’ve already returned to work and you’re finding it challenging, there’s lots that can be done to help you, and you don’t need to grin and bear it.

This is why I offer a few different options to help professional new mums:

  1. The Women’s Vault Career and Motherhood Method for Mums that want more balance and boundaries – a one to one coaching programme. Click here to apply or email me 
  2. The Confidence and Career Acceleration Coaching for women, including mums, who are stepping into a bigger role, or want to ‘double down’ on their careers to achieve results from a promotion, negotiate payrise/flexible work to an overall improved sense of confidence – a one to one programme. Click here to apply or email me All coaching takes place via Zoom.
  3. The Working Mum’s Toolkit: my new online course to provide all the advice I wish I’d had, from preparing for your return right through to being a working parent. It features over 30 resources – including video lessons, downloadable audio lessons (like podcasts), worksheets and checklists – it is a digital course that can be done at your own pace, anytime, anywhere and will help you find balance between your career, motherhood and make time for yourself.

Topics include:

  • Setting boundaries
  • Burnout – how to recognise and prevent it
  • Boosting confidence
  • Mum guilt – why it’s important to be guilt-less and what you can do about it
  • Preparing for your return to work: KiT days to flexible work
  • Pep talks, affirmations and meditations
  • Juggling work and family – time and sanity-saving hacks

The Working Mums Toolkit is available now at the launch price of £37: sign up here now

Or if you want the best results, take advantage of this limited time offer: Two mini coaching sessions with the Toolkit free!

For a limited time, you can purchase two mini coaching sessions for three monthly payments of £49 plus you get access to The Working Mum’s Toolkit for free. The coaching sessions are 30mins via Zoom and can be used at any time over the next six months: click here to sign up now

Once these sessions have been purchased and booked into my diary – these time slots are gone, and I only have a certain amount I can offer between my individual and corporate clients.

Hundreds of women have used the tips and tools in the programme, and it has been endorsed by Psychologist Suzy Reading. 

Get in touch!

If you’re not sure which option is right for you, but are ready to get my help, please do email me: or fill in the application form and I’ll be in touch. You can also do a 30min consultation for £120 where we focus on solving 1-2 challenges and can book this directly into my calendar. This consultation is redeemable if you decide to go ahead with one of the coaching programmes.

Here’s some recent feedback from participants:

“New Mama here – I”m heading back to work next week. Thank you so much for the Toolkit, it’s saved me so much anxiety. Can’t wait to learn more!” – Petra

“I have used Olivia’s services numerous times including negotiating flexible work before I went on maternity leave. I have since purchased and started The Working Mum’s Toolkit. The tools and tips are invaluable. I highly recommend it.” – Jen

“I love dipping in and out of the content, it’s already helping me so much both at home and at work. It’s like having your own work/life mentor on demand, with all of your challenges answered.” – Sarah

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