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Going Back to Work (for Moms)

Becoming Parents is life changing to say the least; however, the degree of change is felt more by the mother. They carry the child for nine months, developing an intimate bond with both the baby and their own body. Upon birth things change even more. Will mom become a homemaker? Go back to work full-time? Or maybe switch to part-time work? There are so many questions to answer. With the first child perhaps, you can return to work relatively soon, but add in a second or third kid and the costs associated with childcare go up and up. Often it makes more sense financially for mom to stay home and take care of the kids, house, and hubby; while Dad goes to work and does what he needs to provide for the family. Despite the fact that women now comprise an equal portion of the overall workforce in the United States, Dad’s typically spend ⅓ to ½ as much time on child enrichment activities as the mother. In general, kids report that when both parents are working, they feel that more quality time was needed with the father overall.

While not all mothers aspire to be homemakers, around 43% find themselves leaving jobs to take care of the family and home for more than a year. In some cases, unemployment lasts for decades, until the children have graduated high school, started working or heading to college, or moving out. The times are changing though with 70% of American children growing up with both parents working, and 60% of mothers with children under three working.

Going back to work can be stressful, you may feel inadequately experienced. You’ll be glad to know a survey done by CNBC shows more than ⅔ of job recruiters believe parenting skills to be relevant. Despite not having formal training or much experience, the life skills learned through parenting can be applied to any job.

While creating an up to date resume or CV, don’t dwell on the past, be open about how you are in the beginnings of a new chapter in life. Include the strengths and abilities you have gained through motherhood and embrace them! Those include mentoring skills; time management, conflict management, patience, negotiation skills and team working ability to name a few.

When mothers spend too much time away from work, they often feel sadness and anger, in addition to social isolation (due to spending most of time with the family). When moms do decide to return to work, they can do it with peace of mind – there is no proven positive cognitive effect associated with being a stay at home parent. While in the early year’s mothers may stay at home to let their child feel more nurtured, over time most mothers grow restless with the lack of purpose in life. Most moms favor part-time work, as it allows for a healthy work/life balance. Opportunities to look out for are remote work, flexible schedules, and skill enhancement. 

Just a few job idea to get you thinking: hospitality, teacher’s aide, childcare/daycare provider, retail sales associate, hair stylist, office assistant, library assistant, call center representative, dog walker, virtual assistant, translator, tutor, personal shopper, writer, nanny. The sky’s the limit, even if you don’t see the path clearly, you’re a mom, capable of whatever you set your mind to!

For those of you who may have specific careers in mind, educational advancement or going back to school might be the solution for you. Whether it is a traditional associate or bachelor’s degree at a university, or ever increasingly popular trade schools. From culinary arts to business or marketing. Even medical trade schools have full-time programs such as coding/billing and nursing, that can be acquired in as little as six months.  While the cost remains high for job-specific programs, if it is a career you see yourself in for the determinable future, it is worth considering. Night courses are offered for some programs to accommodate those who have already made their foray back into the workforce.

Here are helpful resources for the working mother:

  • MomsRising is a website and charity dedicated to helping women navigate various workplace issues and conflicts. A close-knit group of supportive and empowering women serve this community with advice and support.
  • Women’s Bureau Resources Portal: Provides details on paid Maternity leave state by state, in addition to a plethora of advice and resources for working Moms. They even offer career building webinars hosted by successful mothers.
  • Mom’s with Careers Making it All Work is just one of many support/women’s groups that can be found in the online community. Check out Boss Mom’s for moms with or interested in entrepreneurship.
  • DealSeekingMom is a site that provides priceless financial advice. If you find yourself heading to work again, it is likely not to just to keep you busy, you probably need the income.
  • EveryDollar is an app to help keep track of where your money goes.

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