After months or years of being a stay-at-home mom, the time eventually comes for the majority of moms to return to the workforce. The thought can be overwhelming and poses a litany of questions: What if I’ve been out of the field for too long? How will it impact my children? How will I manage laundry, homework, meals, after-school activities, and be a competitive employee? Who will clean the house? The list goes on and on.
If you’re paralyzed by these and other questions, you’re not alone. There are thousands of moms who have to face their fears and make a successful transition back into the workplace, every single day.
5 tips for stay at home moms returning to work:
Do a some soul searching. Okay, so you know you want an income again, you just don’t know what you want to do. Perhaps you’re considering calling up your old organization to see if they will hire you back. Just because you were a CPA B.C. (Before Children) doesn’t mean that you need to continue on that path. Did you really enjoy it? Is it what you want to do for the next 30 years? What are your passions? Now is the perfect time to start asking yourself those hard questions.
Make a list of the qualities you loved and didn’t love about your old job to help aid you in your new search. Your list is probably different from the time when you didn’t have kids, so really tune into your passions as they may have changed. This can be the most challenging part of this whole process, so take your time.
Get specific about flexibility. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the industry, a company, or a specific niche you want to break into, it’s time to get down to the logistics. You’ve thought about what you want in a job, now what does the rest of your life need?
What family responsibilities do you need to work around? What kind of income do you need — or want? What kinds of benefits are most important to your family? Would that require a part-time, full or partial telecommuting, or flexible scheduling arrangement? Try taking this quiz to determine what type of work flexibility is perfect for you.
Connect with your community. Look to your network of previous co-workers, friends, and family for advice on re-entering the workforce. If the majority of those individuals are fellow stay-at-home moms, look beyond your circle for inspiration and guidance. Connect with other working moms to see how they find a balance between family and work. Ask for the advice they wish they had known when they found themselves at a similar stage of life, and how they went about searching for a job.
Get serious about your search. At this point you’ve spent quality time thinking about what it is you want to do, you’ve considered the specifics of what you need to be successful in nurturing both your family and your career, and you’ve looked to others for insight. Now it’s time to get down to business, and jump into the more serious, and less exciting, aspect of your search. However, now that your circle is involved, you have people to hold you accountable for putting yourself out there and starting a new, or resuming an old, career.
It’s time to polish your resume and cover letter, focusing more on your skills and less on your hiatus from the industry. Now is the time also to consider your worth. Knowing now the responsibilities that lie ahead, perhaps you are not willing to accept the same salary as before, but keep in mind that there may need to be some give and take. Consider what benefits you will not give up, and those that you can be a flexible around.
Returning to the workforce can be an exciting time for independent moms, yet downright terrifying time for others, or a combination of both. If you’ve made the decision to jump back in, take your time and follow the steps above. The more planning and groundwork you do, the more successful your re-entry to the workforce will be.
This post is by Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning, innovative career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. All this week, WealthySingleMommy is partnering with FlexJobs to bring you “Flexible Work Week.”
Readers, are you a mom returning to work? What would be your ideal job and what kind of flexibility are you looking for? Let us know in the comments below!