Mom’s Return to the Workforce

 

When I was a young girl I had the privilege of having a mother whose main priority and responsibility was, well, me. She dropped me off and picked me up everyday (as well as some of the neighborhood stragglers who missed the bus). I often scoffed at my classmates who brown bagged it; my lunch was constantly a gourmet feast, packed neatly into a fashionable lunch box with a matching thermos that almost always had steamy tomato soup inside. My science projects tended to shine more than others…mostly due to my mother’s contributions. And, of course all of my papers and presentations were neatly bound and laminated. Every week night, regardless of after school activities, we would all sit down for a family dinner prepared by – you guessed it – mom.  

But then I turned thirteen and high school was quickly approaching. My life was about to change – drastically. My mother was becoming increasingly bored and right about the time I was planning my courses for high school she was planning on going back to work.  

At first I was shocked. I knew I was at the point where I was too cool for the parent drop-off, but those lunches? And who would make dinner every night? (Food, obviously, is high on my list of priorities.) It never occurred to me how stifling it was for her to stay home all day.  

Going back to work after an extended sabbatical can be tough on anyone. For stay at home moms the process can be extremely daunting and exhausting. First things first: get on the same page as your family. Talk to your spouse and allow him to voice his concerns about your return to the workforce. Is he available to run some of the mom-type errands if you need to stay late at work? Are his barbeque skills up to par in the event you can’t have dinner ready? Next talk to your kids and tell them how it will affect them. If they are still young it is important to let them know your schedule and how frequently you will be around when they get home from school.  

Now it is time to address that pesky employment gap in your résumé. Luckily you aren’t required to organize your résumé in a time line. Rather, organize it by the types of positions you’ve held in the past. But if, and when, the gap is addressed don’t get defensive about the time you’ve spent at home. Instead try and emphasize what types of activities you were engaged with outside of your home. Were you active in the PTA or your home owner’s association? What about time you spent coaching your daughter’s softball team? These are contributions to the community and will never weigh against you when interviewing.  

The most important thing to remember when returning to your chosen field is that you weren’t unemployed in the first place – you were raising a family and shaping lives. Your new employer isn’t doing you a favor by offering you a job. You have all the necessary skills to be a contributing asset to your new company. You might just have to dust them off a little.

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