Starting a new job or career when you were younger was daunting. Now you’re thinking about doing it again – after having kids – and it seems even scarier this time around – despite the professional experience you’ve gained – as well as the life experience.
You’re not alone in feeling fearful. Many moms who go back to work after an extended break feel full of self doubt and insecurities – and let all logic go out the window when it comes to believing in their own professional abilities.
With this post, we hope to be able to help you prepare for starting a new career after having kids – and offer you useful tips and insights about what you can expect. This info will help regardless of whether you’ve only been out of the work world for a few years since your kids were born – or whether your kids are now grown up and you really feel like you’re starting over.
Depending on how long it’s been since you were last in the workplace, you may need to refresh your skills somewhat. This doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch and go back to university. You can find things like “refresher courses” that have been updated to the latest standards and to meet regulations.
The best thing to do is speak to your employer about what they think you might need in order to do your job more effectively. If you work part time, you may even want to consider looking into an online MBA degree, since this could be useful for helping you progress the career ladder and even start earning more.
Guilt is universal mom problem.
The important thing to remember when dealing with the dreaded mommy guilt: the fact that you’re feeling guilty means that you care about your kids, so by default you’re a good mom.
Also going back to work means you’re providing for your kids – to give them the things they need – which also makes you a good mom.
Finally, you’re setting a good example – by showing your kids that in life – some things have to be earned – and aren’t just given.
If you have younger children or those of school age, it’s worth asking your employer if they offer any kind of flexibility with regards to working hours. Nowadays a lot of companies will offer this as a benefit to their employees – especially to parents because they want to have a more family friendly working culture.
Note: Many companies won’t offer this as an option unless you specifically request it. But if you ask in a warm and personal way, many employers are far more accommodating than you’d imagine.
As with flexible working hours, many employers nowadays are very aware of the positive aspects of having parents working for them, and are focused on creating and maintaining a family friendly working culture.
As such they’ll offer incentives for parents to come back to work such as childcare vouchers. Or they might even provide on-site childcare and breastfeeding stations for moms who are coming back to work when they have very young children.
This is definitely something you should look for when going back to work. After all, admittedly, good childcare can be difficult to find. Plus, it’s often so expensive that it actually doesn’t make sense for moms to go back to work – when all they’ll be doing is paying for childcare.
If your employer doesn’t offer such incentives, this still doesn’t mean you’re not able to go back to work. If you have family nearby, you could come to some childcare arrangement with them. Asking family to help out is a terrific solution, as you will know your children are being well looked after and you’ll be able to go back to work without incurring a massive cost.
Although you’re probably very excited about going back to work, it’s important that you give yourself some time to get used to the transition, because it will be a big change for you to get used to – no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been out of the workforce.
It’s a good idea to look for a job that offers more flexibility and even just speaking to your employer about how you can get started slowly coming back to work. This is also a good way to get your kids used to being apart from you a little – especially if they’re still quite young and are used to having you around as their main carer all the time.
Nowadays working from home is more common and accepted than ever, so this is definitely something that’s worth asking about when applying for jobs – or even speaking to your employer after you’re hired.
Working from home allows you the best of both worlds. You can still be there for your kids when they need you. Plus, you can focus your creative energy on something you enjoy at the same time.
Of course, you will need to be able to focus on work, so will need to arrange for your child to be taken care of somehow. Plus you will require a certain level of discipline and willpower not to be distracted by your kids and home environment.
If working from home isn’t an option, then you should consider working part time. This will enable you to go into the office to work, while you still to get enjoy the social aspects of spending time at home.
Note: This essay was written in collaboration with Rebecca French.
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Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.