If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for any length of time beyond a traditional maternity leave, it can be a huge transition for everyone in the family when you become employed again outside the home.
Are you headed back into the workforce after an extended absence? We have tips and advice from parents who have been there and done that.
Whether need or desire has propelled you back into the workforce, and whether you’re going to be working full time or part time, going from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom can be a challenge. What are some ways to ease that transition back to the working world?
Keep your networks
If you can, keep networking while you’re on leave — even if you don’t plan on returning. Staying connected will not only keep you current on what’s happening in your line of work, but it can help you get back into the workforce when you are seeking a new job.
Work while on leave
Depending on your line of work, if you can pick up a little here and there while you’re at home it can pay off in the long run. Tiffany, a hairstylist, experienced a massive reduction in clients after she went on leave when her daughter was born. “My advice would be to not take a full-time maternity leave if one has a clientele and intends to return to the profession,” she explained. “It is extremely hard to retain clients, and unfortunately very few will come back after finding someone to go to while you’re on leave.”
Wait until the right time
If you can afford it, take as much time as you need before stepping back into the workforce. You may have to reduce your standard of living and do without what you’re used to, but in the end it’s worth it. “Wait until your intuition tells you it is time,” said Tara, mom of one. “Once it is, just go for it. You’re going to be conflicted with feelings of guilt, that you are neglecting your child(ren), but you are not. Neglecting yourself and your needs is about one of the worst decisions you can make for your family.”
Think of the benefits
Many moms who return to work after being at home for a few years report that they reap benefits that they weren’t necessarily expecting. “After the initial ‘nervous’ wore off, I loved having something outside of the house to focus on,” explained Jo, mom of two who waited until her youngest was 4 to go back to work. Lisa, who went back to work when her son was 18 months old, agreed. “Work saved my sanity,” she said.
Start a routine
Even before you land your first post-baby job, start a good routine that will carry over when you go back to work. Stacy, mom of two, found that a solid evening routine helped her make every minute count. “We don’t have a whole lot of time at night to do everything we need to do, so we have to plan our time wisely. Do we always manage to fit everything in? No. But it works.”
Going back to work is a lot of trial and error, and can cause a wide range of emotions, but with careful planning and preparation, it can be done.