Stay-at-Home Mom to Working Mom in 4 Easy Steps
Life is a journey – an always-changing, ever-evolving adventure. I have found that the women who are truly Rich in life are maximizing every opportunity and embracing change.
One of the biggest moments of reinvention that women today experience, is the transition between raising a family and returning to the workplace. Raising a family is, for many, the most profound work of a lifetime. As the responsibilities of Motherhood ease, many women yearn for the stimulation and rewards that their professional lives once offered them.
As I pondered this topic, and thought of all of the mothers who struggle with finding their way back to the workplace following years of raising a family, I decided to turn to my colleague, Susan Bondy. (You can find her, here.) Susan is a Human Resources professional with 30+ years experience and a solid grasp on the challenges that women so often face. She gave me four solid pieces of advice for women who are embarking upon this next chapter, and I am so glad to be able to use Rich Women Rock as a platform to share Susan’s expert advice.
Here is what she had to say to me.
Also, please remove the word just from your vocabulary…
I’ve just been raising children for the past 6 years…
I just wanted to reach out and reconnect.
I just wanted to see if there were any opportunities that you thought might be the right fit for me?
Just is word that women use too often and it naturally minimizes what you’re saying about yourself. It is a form of an apology. And you have nothing to apologize for! Sure, technology has changed the workplace. And you’re going to have to catch up with what has changed. But, your ability to be smart and capable doesn’t go away. If you were smart and capable 7 or 8 years ago, you’re smart and capable today.
Instead of using the word just…here’s a talking point for you to consider.
“I’ve really been privileged to be able to make raising my children my occupational focus. Now, as the demand for my time at home has been reduced, I am eager to continue my career outside of the home.”
What a great way to say it. It’s clean. Crisp. It makes no apology for what you’ve spent your time doing. It honors the importance of work at home, while ensuring that you sound enthusiastic about the next step.
Appreciate All that You’ve Accomplished
Accomplishments don’t go away when you spend some years working from home. In fact, through work that you have taken on while raising your children, you have likely accrued even more experience in areas such as budgeting, project management, and more. (Times that growth by three if you were home schooling your children.)
As you endeavor to plot your next career move, take some time to make a list of your personal growth and accomplishments. Volunteering counts. Leadership counts. Begin to list your accomplishments and categorize them. See if there are any areas where you are consistently affirmed. For me, I am often being told that my organizational skills are excellent – both in my personal and professional life. That point is always among the first that I make when I am selling my strengths.
Never Stop Networking
While it may feel like you’re out of the loop as you haven’t connected with old colleagues in years – you’re not. You’ve just got a new loop. I never fail to be amazed at the referrals that I can land on the sidelines of a baseball field.
In short, don’t keep your mouth shut! Share your goals with everyone – at cocktail parties, at pre-school pick up, at community gatherings and more. Surely you will be reaching out to your old network too, but it’s important to remember that referrals can come from anywhere and to avoid compartmentalizing your networking efforts. Anyone can help you if they know what you need.
Switch it Up.
It is likely that your years at home have taught you some new things about yourself. You’ve discovered new passions or realized that some elements of your old career are no longer in line with the woman that you’ve become. The good news is that there has never been a better time to switch career trajectories.
One of my favorite stories is of a good friend who was a personal chef for 25 years. A recent change in her health made it difficult for her to continue with all of the time spent on her feet. She knew she had a passion for working with middle schoolers. So, she started volunteering at her local middle school. She got her teaching certificate. Just last week she got hired as an art teacher by the school that she has been working with as a volunteer. This means less time on her feet, more working with kids, and the creative outlet that she needs! A great fit for her!
This is a great time in your life. Embrace it! Don’t be afraid. The world is your oyster! This is the chance to choose a career at a time in your life when you really know yourself. That’s a much better situation than you found yourself in at 22 years of age.
For those of you who are thinking about working for yourself, I say this: be sure that you invest your time in something that you are so passionate about that you will easily be able to weather the bad times as well as the good. You need to feel the hustle. If you are only looking to make a few hundred dollars a week, I would recommend working for someone else. It will take less time, deliver the same dollars, and provide you with exactly what you’re looking for as you consider your next chapter.
Susan Bondy is not affiliated with LPL Financial and Stonebridge Wealth Advisors, LLC