Career 12 November 2017
Photo Courtesy of Texas Stem Cell
We work our whole lives to end up with a career that we love, but as women, we get to a certain age and know that our clock is ticking to have kids. If that’s a road that we want to drive down, taking some time off work is almost inevitable. If you’re lucky, you’re able to take maternity leave and return to the job that you love, but many women find that they love the title “mom” even more and decide to take some time off.
For some, the drive to return to the work force whether down the corporate path or through exercising our entrepreneurial spirit is so strong that we can feel our whole core telling us it’s time - which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. In fact, there have even been organizations created like The Pregnancy Pause that aims to help moms explain the gaps in their resume and not get passed over for opportunities. Yes, the struggle to balance it all is difficult for working moms, but there are some awesome ways to prepare yourself for this transition.
1. Update your skills.
Updating your resume is an obvious one, but really sitting down to update the skills that you have gained (yes, gained - moms make the best CEO’s after all because of their outstanding communication and organizational skills) and make sure they’re added to your resume. It is probably also worth your time to hire a professional to make sure your resume is top notch before you begin your search.
Photo Courtesy of Crosswalk
2. Touch base with former colleagues and working mom friends.
The best connections that you can make will always be through networking, so putting your feelers out there and seeing what insight or openings that former colleagues or working mom friends have is key. While they might not have a job to offer you, they might know someone to be in touch with to help get your foot in the door.
3. Be persistent about making your dreams come true.
Knowing that you’re going to be giving up your stay at home mom gig means that you don’t want to settle for just anything, and you most certainly don’t want to push aside your professional dreams. Karoli Hendriks, founder of Jobbatical, a career platform shared, “Having been in the confidence struggle, especially in the male-dominated tech world, I know how tempting it is to allow yourself to give up your dreams. I encourage women to step out from that comfort zone and tailor a life that can accommodate both - parenthood and professional growth. On that journey do not forget yourself. And doing both - professional growth as a startup founder and parenthood means in my case giving up a social life, but that is something I have accepted in recent years. I guess each of us makes our own sacrifices, but it’s worth it.”
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Mommy Chronicals
4. Be open.
While you don’t want to let those dreams subside, also allow yourself to be open to new adventures. Whether you have an amazing idea and want to start your own company or are interested in using your new skills to explore a new profession, see whats out there and be open to a completely different position that works with your life instead of adding stress to it.
With that being said, sometimes being open means taking a lower salary or starting from the bottom, which is okay as long as you have a plan and know where you want to end up. Sometimes even volunteering in the beginning will give you an opportunity to figure out where your passions lie.
5. Look into “return to work” programs.
Many companies such as Morgan Stanley offer these types of programs for people who have been out of the work force for two years or longer - many of which are women who have taken time off to have kids. These programs are amazing for getting back into the swing of things because the company already knows your situation and is working with you to get you back into a job you love.
6. Hire a caregiver that you love.
Hiring a caregiver that you love and trust is crucial to getting back to work after taking a pregnancy pause because you will never want to leave your kids if you aren’t fully comfortable with the person you’re leaving them with. It’s very important to interview caregivers or day cares until you find one that fully suits your family's needs. Having someone dependable in your life to leave your precious cargo with day in and day out takes a huge weight off your shoulders and is truly invaluable.
7. Take a little “test-drive”.
This could mean something different for everyone, whether you need to “test-drive” being away from your child for a long period of time, being in an office environment, dealing with clients - or even just going shopping work work clothes! Give yourself a chance to try things out because there’s nothing worse than not being prepared for that first back to work experience and wishing that you were actually home with your babe.
8. Own your new role.
It’s not always easy to jump out of our comfort zones, which being at home with your children can be. It’s also equally as easy to use motherhood as an excuse if we aren’t fully comfortable in our new role, but the best thing for yourself is to fully own the whole experience. Establish business hours that allow you to still have those mom moments that are so important, but whenever you’re “on” at work, fully embrace it. Yes, it will take some time to get there, but when you have, there’s nothing that will stop you. It’s all mental, but you will feel in your gut whenever everything is falling into place. Remember that moms are the ultimate CEO’s, we can handle everything put before us and have truly masted the art of multitasking - there’s nothing you can’t handle.
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Help! I'm Dating a Jerk!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I've been dating my boyfriend for a year. After spending some vacation time with him and realizing he is not treating me the way I like I'm wondering — what do I do? I need him to be kinder and softer to me but he says simply, "chivalry is not his thing." I believe when two people decide to be together they need to adjust to each other. I don't think or feel my boyfriend is adjusting to what's important to me. Should I try to explain to him what's important to me, accept him for what he is, or leave him as I'm just not happy and the little gestures are important to me?
- Loveless Woman
Dear Loveless Woman,I am saddened you aren't getting your needs met in your relationship. Intimacy and affection are important to sustain a healthy relationship. It's troubling that even though you have expressed your needs to your boyfriend that it's fallen on deaf ears. You need to explore, with a therapist, why you have sought out this type of relationship and why you have stayed in it, even when it's making you chronically unhappy? Your belief that couples should adjust to each other is correct to some degree. These things often include compromising and bending on things like who gets the bigger closet or where to go for dinner. However, it's a tall order to ask someone to change their personality and if your boyfriend is indeed a jerk, like you say, who refuses to acknowledge your love language or express kindness and softness, then maybe you should find a partner who will embrace you while being chivalrous.
- The Armchair Psychologist
Hi Armchair Psychologist,
Just wanted to let you know that your article was really offensive to read. Do you refer to women's genitals as: "gross," "ghasty," "smelly," or otherwise? Humans are not perfect, each of us is different and you should emphasize this. I hope that man finds a partner that will love and accept him rather than tearing him down. Which gender has a whole aisle devoted to their "special" hygiene needs? I can tell you it's not men.
Dear Male Reader,Thank you for your thoughtful feedback to my Armchair Psychologist column. My email response bounced so am writing you here. I am so sorry I offended you. It wasn't my intention. I actually meant to be sardonic and make the writer see how ridiculous she sounded for the harsh language she used to describe her date. I obviously failed at this sneer since you think I meant to be offensive. Many apologies. I'll do better. Have a wonderful day and keep writing us with your thoughts.
- Ubah, The Armchair Psychologist