Moms going back to work after taking a break is always a big decision.
Whether you took a break to stay at home with the kids, help an elderly parent, try your hand as an entrepreneur, or you just simply needed a break from the hustle and bustle, getting back to a regular 9 to 5 can be a little stressful.
You have to take into account so many factors, such as daycare, better time management, delegating some of your household responsibilities, and the dreaded mom guilt.
You also need to be mentally prepared to jump back into the corporate world. There may be some anxiety about going back to work that may make you second guess your choice. I want you to know that this is normal.
It’s a big change that’s about to take place in your life and if you’re anything like me, you need to have everything plotted and planned out before you make the leap.
These tips for moms returning to work will help set you up, so that you can be a rockstar on your first day back in the office.
Advice for Moms Going Back to Work
1. Know That You’re Making the Right Decision
Doubting yourself and your ability to jump back into the workforce will more than likely happen.
You’ll question if you’re doing it for the right reason. You’ll wonder if you’re being selfish.
You may think that your kids and family can’t live without you being away from the home.
I want to be the first person to tell you that, just like you made the decision to stay at home, your decision to go back into the workforce will be the right one.
Whether you miss working, need the extra income, or enjoy the adult interaction at your job, it’s your choice to go back to work.
There may be other factors affecting your choice, such as childcare, long commutes, or your significant other’s input, but ultimately the decision is yours.
2. Research the Type of Work You Want to Do
If you’re returning to work after maternity leave, then this one is pretty easy for you. You already know what you want to do and how it needs to get done.
You just need to get back into the routine and adjust for a few things because of your new baby.
If you’ve been out of work for a while, have never worked outside of your home, didn’t like your last job and don’t want to go back into that field, or if you just want to gain new skills, you need to think about what it is you want to do.
There are several online career assessments that you can take to make sure that you’re on the right career path.
The U.S. Department of Labor has an assessment that’s sixty questions and will help you narrow down your decision.
Visit My Next Move to get started.
Read the descriptions of the recommended jobs carefully. If you’re changing careers or starting a new one, take into consideration the type of education and training needed to get started.
3. Dust Off Your Resume
So, it’s been a while since you’ve worked or you’ve never worked outside of the home. You need to pull out your old resume or start writing a new resume in order to be competitive in the job market.
You think that since you’ve been out of the workforce, you have no skills to add?
Well, you’re wrong!
A resume doesn’t just include professional work experience. It also includes volunteer work, skills you’ve learned on your own, and even software programs you’ve worked with.
Stay-at-home moms may have a hard time translating what they do around the home into a professional resume, but it definitely can be done.
Things such as balancing budgets, time management, record keeping, and light clerical duties come to mind.
You can also take typing speed test to include your words per minute on your resume.
If you’ve ever worked in Microsoft Word, even if just to type up a short note to your kids school, then you can include that as software that you’re familiar with.
Include anything that you can think of that’s relevant to the position that you’re applying for.
Keep in mind that it’s wise to have multiple resumes because sometimes one size doesn’t fit all. Each resume needs to relate to the specific job you’re applying for.
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4. Know Where the Jobs Are
Ok, so you know that you’ve made the right decision to go back to work. You’ve decided on a career path. You even have a brand spanking new resume.
Now, you may be wondering how in the world do you get your resume out there?
There are several ways to find gainful employment if you know where to look or what resources to use.
If you’re looking to work for a retail location or with a mom-and-pop store, you can just walk right in and ask if they’re hiring. If they are, then you can get an application.
There are a lot of big chain retailers who have application kiosks right there in the store for you to fill out and submit the application.
There’s no need for a resume in this situation, but you should still bring it with you just in case. Carry your resume in a business padfolio whenever you go in person to apply for jobs.
As for smaller retail locations, a paper application may be available. You can either fill the application out there or take it home and return it later.
Make sure you give them your resume with your application.
Besides some retail locations, most jobs require you to submit an application and/or resume online.
If you don’t have access to the internet at home, stop by your local library or community center to see if they have free access to the internet.
Once you do get access, there are job boards such as Indeed, Career Builder, Monster, and Zip Recruiter that will allow you to narrow down your job search by location and job focus.
Also, don’t discount websites such as Upwork if you’re looking for freelance work with the potential of turning into a long term position.
5. Get Interview Ready
Some jobs require an in-person interview and some may require a phone or video conference interview. No matter which type you’re going on, make sure that you’re prepared for the interview.
The first thing I can suggest is that no matter what time of day you have your interview, is to eat a light snack before you leave for your interview.
I know this may sound crazy, but you don’t want to go into an interview and have your stomach growling, even if it is just from nerves.
Know what you’re going to wear and have it ready the night before your interview. You don’t want to be scrambling the day of looking fo the perfect outfit.
Make sure you try on the outfit and that your attire fits correctly.
Besides calming your nerves and knowing what you’re going to wear a big must for going to a job interview is knowing a couple of things about the company you’re interviewing for.
You don’t need to know all of the executive level officers by name, but try to at least know the owner’s or CEO’s name.
Also, understand the company’s missions and values. If they don’t fall in line with your values, then you may not be a good fit for the company.
Knowing their missions and values will help you answer some of the questions asked in the interview.
Prepare five or six questions that you’d like to ask the interviewer at the end of the session.
It can be specifically about the position or anything positive about the growth of the company.
An interviewer likes a prepared interviewee.
6. Focus on Time Management
Going back to work is definitely going to change up your daily routine and schedule.
Working a part-time job opposed to a full-time job may give you a little more leeway with non-work activities, but that time needs to be managed as well.
I’m a big advocate for using daily planners to help schedule out the day, week, and month. I use more than one planner.
One is work-related and the other is for personal use, such as keeping track of appointments or family activities.
Get your family involved with setting up the new routine. Take into account what time everybody has to get up in the morning.
Get a morning routine chart for your kids. Consider how everybody will get to their morning destinations and commute times to get there.
The evenings may be a little busier in your household, so don’t be afraid to ask your significant other for help, even if you normally wouldn’t.
You work hard too and all of the household duties shouldn’t fall back on you.
Sit down and have a discussion about how the kids are going to get home, who’s going to cook dinner and do other household chores, how the kids are going to get to practice, and who’s going to help the kids with homework.
7. Make Time for the Ones You Love
With all of the craziness with the new schedule and job, moms going back to work should remember to spend a little time with friends and family.
When you first go back to work, it may be a little difficult to think about doing anything extra because you’re exhausted from a long day.
Most people will definitely understand that. It’s a change of pace and your mind and body need to catch up.
Just try not to make coming home and zoning out part of your daily routine.
Yes, you may have had a hard day at work, the kids have been fed, and everybody is down for the night, but you didn’t spend any quality time with your kids or significant other.
Remember that since you’ve returned to work, things not only changed for you, but they’ve changed for everybody in your family.
It may be easy for your significant other to understand why the change was necessary, but not so much your younger children.
Children thrive off of routine, so any disruption may cause them to be a little upset.
Do your best to explain the new routine to them and let them be a part of planning it.
Since weekday evenings are busy in our household, I like having “mommy time” with my boys at night.
After they’re ready for bed and we’ve read a book, I give them 10 to 15 minutes each where I’m one-on-one with them.
They can talk about their day, we can sing a song, tell jokes, or I can hold them if they want me to. The choice is theirs.
Of course they get more quality time on the weekends, but our “mommy time” works great for us throughout the week.
Spending quality time with your significant other can also help ease the pressure for moms getting back into their careers.
Even if it’s just for an hour after your babies are asleep for the night, the downtime matters.
You can talk about your day at work, or better yet, not talk about your day at work and just enjoy being in each other’s company.
Have you taken time off and are ready to head back to work? What steps have you taken to get prepared?