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Returning to work after having children can be challenging. Whether you’ve had a few months off and wanted to return to work straight away, or you’ve had years off to raise your children and only want to go back now that they’re older and have settled into school, the transition isn’t always easy. Even in a few months at home, you can settle into your routine and role as mom quickly, and the idea of going back to work may be intimidating.
The reason a parent decides to return to a career after kids can vary. Your situation may mean that you can’t afford to stay off work, or you may need additional savings. Some women like to earn their own money, even if it’s just a small amount, and enjoy having financial independence. But, there can be other reasons why you might consider returning to a new or previous career. You may feel that your children will benefit from spending time in childcare or with other relatives. You may find that your health suffers from staying at home. Many women find having children a lonely experience and they miss the social element of working.
Whatever your reason for returning to work, the transition can be a difficult one. Some may struggle to settle back into their jobs or find that their careers have stalled. Here are some ways that you can kick-start your career after a break.
Get Over the Guilt
While guilt is something that most mothers experience at some point when they consider returning to a career, it can hold you back at work. If you feel bad and are worried about your children at home, you won’t push yourself at work. If you’re distracted, your work may not get your full focus and attention, and your career can suffer.
If you’ve decided to return to work, embrace it. You’re not doing anything wrong, and it’s the right decision for your family. Remember why you are doing it, know that it will lead to a great future for your children, find a childcare provider that you trust to look after your children, and let yourself enjoy your job.
When you are at work, try not to think about home too much. Give work your full focus and attention and try your best. Knowing your family will be at home when you’re done.
If you’ve had a long break, things in the field you’re familiar with may have changed a lot. In some industries, huge developments and breakthroughs can be made in just a few weeks, so if you’ve been away from work for longer than this, you may find that you have to brush up on some newer skills to continue your career.
Alternatively, you may have chosen to change career. This is something that many moms do in search of flexibility or better working hours. In either case, you might need to go back to school, undertake further training or take a refresher course.
As a working mom, it can be hard to find the time to do this. But, online study like a nursing MBA can be the perfect solution. It gives you a fantastic chance to refresh your knowledge or learn new skills around your other commitments, from the comfort of your own home.
Work on Your Confidence
One problem many women face is struggling with their own self-belief. If you’ve been away from work for a long time, you can find that your confidence has suffered. You settle into your role as a mom, which is incredibly difficult. You spend time getting good at it and learning about your children. Then, suddenly you are thrown back to work. Things have changed while you have been away, other people have been promoted and feeling lost can put a dent your self-esteem.
Remember that it’s ok to take your time getting back into things. It might not feel great straight away, and you might make mistakes or find that there are gaps in your knowledge. This is ok. Remember, what you’ve been doing is more important. You’ll have learned lots of new skills, such as coping with pressure and problem-solving. Write a list of your skills and constantly remind yourself of what you are good at.
Reconnect with a Professional Life
Life at home with your family is very different to your working life. It can come as a big shock if you’ve mostly been dealing with toddlers in recent years. So, give yourself a head start. Go shopping for some new work outfits, spend some time with your old colleagues, keep up to date with the news from your industry and visit your old office. Take your time and do this slowly, building up to your full return to work so that it’s less of a shock to you, you start at your best, and your colleagues are used to your presence around the office. All of this can make it much easier to settle back in, reduce the transition time and help you to move your career in the right direction much sooner.
Make your Intentions Clear
While they shouldn’t, employers often form assumptions. If someone is returning to work after having children, especially if their children are still young, an employer might assume that work isn’t a priority. Employers may not presume that new parents want to return to work and may think there is minimal interest in career advancement.
If this isn’t the case, let them know. Sit down and go through your five-year plan. Tell them where you want to be. Make it clear that you are returning to the workforce to do well, and that you will be pushing for promotions. This will help them take you seriously from the start.
Returning to work is a huge thing. It can be terrifying. But, it can also be fantastic. Go in with your head held high, do what you can to refresh your knowledge and bring yourself up to date and enjoy yourself. There’s no reason you can’t be a great mom and have a rewarding career. Just make sure you also take the time to look after yourself.