The Working Mom Goes Back to Work

January 12, 2009

Few decisions are as difficult as a mother's decision to return to work. Whether you've been home for 10 years raising kids and are now thinking about getting a job, or you've been on maternity leave for only six weeks and now need to return, the transition will be difficult. There is really no way around it. Making the mental switch from stay at home mom to working mom is a challenging one, and one that may take you some transition time. In addition, you've been working the whole time - just at a job that pays nothing financially! Now, you'll need to give yourself some time to learn to balance your original job (mothering) with your new job at work.

Into the Work Force: Mom Back To Work

If you've been out of the work force for a long time, there are a number of considerations to make before returning. Try to refine your goals and define your expectations. It's important to consider how much daycare will cost, and how little you are willing to make. Consider the hours you want to work, and whether you want to do so from an office, from home or with some combination thereof. Have someone look at your resume and help you with your interviewing skills. Think about the skills that you possess and try to sell yourself well. Don't make excuses for the years of gaps in your resume - you were at home doing very important work. You can let any potential employer know this without apologizing.

Mentally Preparing For Work--Working Moms

While you may find the physical challenge of work draining, you may find it even more draining mentally in the beginning. For awhile now, you've been focusing on the home. Now, you'll still need to worry about your children, their after-school schedules, the laundry, dinner and more, but now you'll also have to focus on many deadlines and issues at work. Try to keep a clear line of division between these two spheres. Your work hours need to be filled with work, and your home hours should be exclusively for your family. While this is not always possible, it's certainly something to strive towards and it will help you to keep your sanity and your balance.

Communicating with Your Spouse--Working Parents

At the same time that you are trying to juggle your new work situation, you are also juggling new expectations from yourself and your spouse. Prior to working, you were, undoubtedly, the one who stayed home with a sick child and the one who did all of the carpooling. You bore the brunt of the home-front work and responsibility. Now that you are returning to work, it may be very important to discuss these issues with your spouse. Many women become extremely stressed and overloaded because they now have work to deal with, but are also balancing all of the home responsibilities on their own. These responsibilities should become more evenly divided if you are now also bearing the brunt of the financial burden.

Give Yourself Time--Working Parents and Rest

It may take you some time to reintegrate into the work force without staring at the pictures of your kids all day at work. Try to keep your work time focused on your work, and not to talk about your kids to your co-workers too much or to pass around pictures. You are allowed to mourn, a bit, for your changing roles, but you need to remember to stay professional and to give yourself time to adjust.

Relish the Opportunity --Excited to Return To Work

Finally, you are allowed to also be excited about this transition. This may be the first time in years that you've worn make-up before 7pm! You can get dressed up in the morning, drink your cappuccino at your desk, and enjoy your day among adults. There is something liberating about this and you are allowed to enjoy this transition. Good luck and have fun as you rejoin the work force!

 

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