When mommas decides to re-enter the workforce we not only have to consider ourselves, but we also must think about our children and how momma working will affect them.
One might argue that it is the same for fathers, but then, there is reality. According to Pew Research’s 6 Facts About U.S. Moms “Even in an era where women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce and men are more involved in housework and childcare than in the past, the public sees vastly different pressure points for women and men in today’s society.”
The reality is our society has gender role assignments that tie momma closer to the home and the children. So what is a working momma to do? We make momma moves, that is what we do. We decide to re-enter the workforce and consider the “where” and the “how.” Below I outline strategies for Moms returning to work.
This may sound taxing for a new mother but stay with me mommas. One of the best ways to re-enter the workforce is – never entirely leave the workforce. One such strategy for accomplishing this minor feat is taking freelance/consult assignments during your hiatus. For instance, when my oldest daughter was three months old, I was not ready to leave my little baby home full or part-time, but I was eager to get my mind out of the suburbs. This momma was over waiting for my baby to poop and nurse. With separation anxiety in heart and boredom in mind, I reached out to my network (including my former) job to inquire about remote project opportunities. As a result of reaching out, I received various assignments. Moreover, I went on to set up my own LLC, which allowed me long term flexibility that I continue to enjoy today-9 years later.
Another strategy for Moms returning to work is to consider as you re-enter the workforce is the time you can commit to working in or outside the home.
First, evaluate your support structure. Based on your family’s needs and resources are you able to work outside the home? Can your family substantiate full-time, part-time, or freelance work? Who will watch the kids? Think about the type of position that might be right for you and your family.
Last, ask yourself, if you are ready.
When faced with these questions, Helen mom of two children (5 and 7) netted with a different reality for each child.
Helen weighed her options and felt that her life went back to her normal after she returned to work with 1st daughter.
Helen faced this same quandary, 2 months after her second daughter was born when she lacked enough tenure in her position to receive pay for 3 months. As such, she decided to go back to work part-time.
Being realistic and honest with ourselves allows us to focus and narrow in on what we actually want.
Now that you know how much time you will be able to dedicate to work in or out of home, it is time to focus on what you want in a job/career. Questions to ask yourself; are you looking to dive back in and further your career growth? Does your family need additional income? Are you looking for fulfillment outside of family? Which um, totally okay – a momma can’t only talk about little Timmy’s first tooth. Let your reasons and motivations for going back to work guide your job search.
For example, if you are looking to earn some extra coins while getting some adult stimuli, look for work that moves you or allows you to contribute to a cause.
On the other hand, if your goal is to continue on your career path, but you did not return to work immediately after maternity leave, you are going to want to read the rest of the article.
Don’t leave the gap on your resume, include the stay at home motherhood years of experience. For example, the work/activities that you perform as a mother on your resume, i.e. PTAs, volunteer, and other committees.
Motherhood is change management, so champion your new role and skill set and move forward to the next steps.
Now that you know what you can handle and what you want, it is time to outline your credentials. Updating your resume and Linkedin profile is a terrific exercise to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
First, review job postings for desired positions. If these qualifications apply to you, use these applicable keywords in your resume. Contrarily, if a vast amount of these qualifications do not apply to you, it is time to pivot (read below) or take courses, lectures, and/or get certified, momma!
Basically, updating your resume is an exercise in awareness. In updating your resume, you can assess and upgrade your credentials as needed.
Okay, so you outlined your credentials. Now, it is time to put it into play. First, go through your contact list and reach out to former colleagues. Let them know that you are ready to get back out there and precisely what type of position(s) you want. Meet for coffee or drinks-might as well make it social. It is also a good idea to attend networking events and seminars to make new contacts.
Everyone needs to pivot from time to time. Furthermore, as a mom re-entering the workforce, we are presented with an opportunity to recast ourselves and utilize our skillsets in various ways. Think of other ways you can use your talents and experience.
Take Stacey, who left print publishing, to start her family. She decided to return to the workforce once her 2 children were in pre-school and kindergarten. Stacey returned to a very different landscape, where magazines and newspapers were folding with digital on the rise.
In addition to taking digital media classes and networking. Stacey took stock of what she could bring to the workforce and she eventually landed a client services position for a large digital agency. By taking classes and accessing her strengths, Stacey was able to transplant her contacts and expertise from one industry into another-from print to digital.
Another successful pivot comes from Jen, mom of soon to be an 11-year-old, who faced obstacles going back to work, as well the need for a great deal of flexibility as a single mom.
By casting a wider net, Jen ended up being able to move into a career that was more beneficial to her life and family structure.
Know Your Rights and Your Worth
Often as working mothers, we are offered less than what other candidates are offered. This factor is referred to as the motherhood penalty. However, if you agree to a lower salary upfront, it will be challenging to garner more at a later date.
When you enter the interview stage know what to expect and what you will accept. This strategy for Moms returning to work comes in several phases:
Start off by researching salary bands for the specific position/industry. Ask for what you want within that range. Don’t start off with less. When asked about your salary requirements speak to your skill, level of commitment along with your salary requirements.
Review a company’s benefits package and PTO. Of course, everyone should do this, but for a working mother we are weighing leaving our little ones at home and in some cases the cost and ramifications of doing so.
Last, understand a company’s remote working policy. In this current digital age, employers are typically flexible to remote work schedules. Currently, quite a few companies have switch to remote-only work structures.
Once you take all the steps above you are unstoppable. Motherhood is not a problem or an obstacle. Motherhood is LIFE so just keep living and doing, everything else will fall into place-day by day.
Know what you can do, communicate as much, and get ready, get set, go.