Are you thinking about returning to work this year? If you are one of the may mums returning to work, you will already know that being a mother is the hardest work you will ever do, and the most rewarding as well. However, it’s also not like any other job you will have, and that means making the transition from taking time out to look after your children to working again can be a tough one. Happily, there are some tactics you can use to ease this change. Read on to find out what they are.
Start with a solid foundation at home
Chaos, it’s the state of many a home, especially when you introduce kids into the mix. However, a constant state of pandemonium could be your Achilles’ heel when it comes to returning to work. The reason being that is your home life isn’t running well, it will only add to your stress and make it all the harder to focus on work when you are there.
With that in mind, it is definitely worth investing some time into establishing a routine for you, your other half, and the kids for things such as cleaning, tidying, bathing, and bedtime. Also, it can be helpful to automate jobs like shopping as well. After all, if things are running as smoothly as possible before you go back to work, you provide yourself with the best chance of keeping them that way.
Picking up where you left off?
One of the biggest concerns for mums returning to work after taking a break to care for their children is whether they will be able to progress from the point in their career in which they left off. Of course, there’s a fair bit of controversy surrounding this subject, with many women reporting they had to take lower paid positions as returnees. However, the news here isn’t all bad.
In fact, it does seem to be largely dependent on the industry that you worked in before you took your career break. Some have reintegration programs or being willing to accommodate such gaps easily such as teaching and nursing. However, other roles such as being a lawyer or doctor tend to highly competitive and so can make it tough on returning mothers. Although it’s always worth noting that there will be individual employers that are the exception to this rule in both cases.
With that in mind, if you do find landing an appropriate role difficult after taking a career break to be a SAHM or WAHM, remember there are still things you can do that will give you an advantage.
One is to stay up to date with your field as possible, subscribing to academic journals on the subject, attending conferences, and even taking training courses where possible.
Another option is to use your network to help you secure position. In fact, this is something can that help you not only online with social media sites such as LinkedIn, but also in real life as well. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask around and put feelers out as to whether friends of friends know of anyone that is hiring in your sector.
Another critical issue that many SAHMs face is the desire to change careers after taking a break from their previous role. This is something that happens frequently as well, usually, because the extended time away from their previous work environment provides an opportunity for reflection on their life goals, as well as the change in priorities that having kids can elicit in their parents.
Of course, the key here is that you need to be practical in your goals and not try and do everything all in one go. In fact, the best approach is often one where you allow yourself some time to train in a new field and learn skills applicable to your new career before you try to land a role.
Negotiate flexibility and childcare
Flexibility of work hours, and fitting this in with affordable child care is something else that can be hugely difficult to achieve when returning to work. Of course, there are nurseries, creches, and childminders that may be able to help you out, but none of these come for free.
Sending the kids to nursery can help deal with the childcare issue.
However, you may be able to minimise the need for these services if you are able to get as flexible working hours as possible. Sadly, while the need is great here, the provision for these at the moment is still vastly underwhelming.
Although, don’t let that put you off when applying for positions. After all, if a company likes you enough to offer you a role they may well be willing to negotiate on some things. Yes, most folks ask first for a higher salary, but you could always make flexible working hours a priority in these negotiations instead, and so achieve the situation you want, even though it wasn’t advertised in that way in the beginning.
Compassion, especially self-compassion
To achieve a successful return to work one thing that mums can’t do without is compassion. Compassion for their kids as they go through this change, compassion for the others in their lives as they adjust to the new status quo, and compassion, most importantly for themselves.
To that end, if you want your transition and your future career to run as smoothly as possible, it really is crucial that we learn to cut yourself a break, even if we are (shock, horror!) a little less than perfect from time to time!
If you are one of the many mums returning to work I want to wish you the very best of luck and remember, you have got this! A little parting gift from me to you in this confidence boosting video:
please don’t forget to share this post with someone you think will appreciate it and on your social media channels – thank you!
*This is a collaborative post