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Graphic of an ill mother holding her child and a laptop as part of an article about mums returning to work.

Hunt & Hawk Marketing Strategy Lead, Jana Tann, joined our team after a period of maternity leave. Here, Jana shares her valuable insights for mums returning to work.  

Three months into my post-maternity leave return (with my son, Beau, now 14 months), I’ve been hit by the unholy trifecta of day care germs – cue a delightful cold, conjunctivitis, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.

You know, I used to think the first year of motherhood was going to be the hardest. Boy, was I wrong.

Juggling motherhood, my career, and personal relationships make those initial 12 months look like child’s play.

And when I say juggling, let’s call it for what it is – an acceptance that ‘having it all’ is a myth that needs a serious reality check.


Portrait of Jana.

Jana gives a first-hand account of what life is like for mums returning to work.

Mums Returning to Work – What I’ve Learned

Over three (pink) eye-opening months – and particularly within the last hellish week – I’ve racked up several shareworthy insights to place in the ‘mums returning to work’ file.

1. ‘Mum Guilt’ Is Like a Permanent Roommate

If Beau’s having a rough day, I feel guilty for not being there to soothe him; when he’s having a great day, I’m sad because I’m not there to share it.

2. Day Care Germs Don’t Care About Your LinkedIn Profile

No matter how swanky your job title is, when your baby gifts you a sneeze straight to the mouth, you’re down with whatever delightful bug or three that they picked up at day care.


Playmat with car in front of children at a daycare centre.

Sickness usually travels speedily at day care. Credit: BBB Creative on Unsplash.

3. Sick Days? Forget About It

The moment you consider taking a day off to beat that sickness, reality hits – your baby’s also sick, they can’t go to day care, and you’re on night patrol because your little one still can’t blow his own nose.

4. Workplace Flexibility Isn’t Worth Jack Without Respect

My team at Hunt & Hawk knows I clock out at 4pm and my Fridays are a no-work zone. They respect this, avoiding late meetings, questioning if I’m still online post hours, and urging me to log overtime for days off in return.


Scrabble letters spelling the word 'Friyay'.

Fridays are a no-work zone for Jana. Credit: Sincerely Media on Unsplash.

5. Paid Paternity Leave Should Be a Universal Right, Not a Perk

We lucked out – my partner could play full-time dad for six months on paid leave. This journey let him grasp the weight of the ‘mental load’, while also giving me the mental bandwidth to give my all to my new role.

6. Post-Return Productivity Is Off the Charts

Once you get past the initial brain-fog weeks, you’ll blast through work at warp speed. There’s no motivation to get stuff done quite like freeing up time to spend precious moments with your little one.


Close up of woman typing on a laptop.

On the upside, productivity has the potential to be off the charts. Credit: Christin Hume on Unsplash.

Respect to All Mums Returning to Work 

A huge high-five to all the kickass mums I’ve worked with over the years, and a standing ovation for leading the charge on paid maternity leave, flexible work schedules, and job sharing.

And good luck to all the mums returning to work in the future.

If you’re looking for a gun Marketing Strategy Lead to power your business forward, reach out to Jana at or connect with her on LinkedIn.