When mommas decides to re-enter the workforce we not only have to consider ourselves, but we also must think about our children and how momma working will affect them.

One might argue that it is the same for fathers, but then, there is reality.  According to Pew Research’s 6 Facts About U.S. Moms “Even in an era where women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce and men are more involved in housework and childcare than in the past, the public sees vastly different pressure points for women and men in today’s society.”

The reality is our society has gender role assignments that tie momma closer to the home and the children. So what is a working momma to do?  We make momma moves, that is what we do. We decide to re-enter the workforce and consider the “where” and the “how.” Below I outline strategies/considerations to get a momma ready, working and thriving.

Stay Woke

This may sound taxing for a new mother but stay with me mommas. One of the best ways to re-enter the workforce is – never entirely leave the workforce. One such strategy for accomplishing this minor feat is taking freelance/consult assignments during your hiatus. For instance, when my oldest daughter was three months old, I was not ready to leave my little baby home full or part-time, but I was eager to get my mind out of the suburbs.  This momma was over waiting for my baby to poop and nurse. With separation anxiety in heart and boredom in mind, I reached out to my network (including my former) job to inquire about remote project opportunities. As a result of reaching out, I received various assignments. Moreover, I went on to set up my own LLC, which allowed me long term flexibility that I continue to enjoy today-9 years later. 

Be Realistic

The next thing to consider as you re-enter the workforce is the time you can commit to working in or outside the home.

First, evaluate your support structure. Based on your family’s needs and resources are you able to work outside the home? Can your family substantiate full-time, part-time, or freelance work?  Who will watch the kids?  Think about the type of position that might be right for you and your family. 

Last, ask yourself, if you are ready.

When faced with these questions, Helen mom of two children (5 and 7) netted with a different reality for each child.

"When I considered going back to work after my first born, I factored in quality of life from one income, and my sanity lol."

Helen weighed her options and felt that her life went back to her normal after she returned to work with 1st daughter. 

Helen faced this same quandary, 2 months after her second daughter was born when she lacked enough tenure in her position to receive pay for 3 months.   As such, she decided to go back to work part-time.

"After Zuri, I was sad when I went back to work because I felt like my time home with her was interrupted. After 2 weeks [back at work] I decided that going returning to work was a bad idea, and took the next 3 weeks completely off (unpaid) because I knew I would never get that time back with my baby."

Being realistic and honest with ourselves allows us to focus and narrow in on what we actually want.  

Focus

Now that you know how much time you will be able to dedicate to work in or out of home, it is time to focus on what you want in a job/career. Questions to ask yourself; are you looking to dive back in and further your career growth? Does your family need additional income? Are you looking for fulfillment outside of family? Which um, totally okay – a momma can’t only talk about little Timmy’s first tooth. Let your reasons and motivations for going back to work guide your job search. 

For example, if you are looking to earn some extra coins while getting some adult stimuli, look for work that moves you or allows you to contribute to a cause.  

On the other hand, if your goal is to continue on your career path, but you did not return to work immediately after maternity leave, you are going to want to read the rest of the article.

Think About It

According to the 2018 Bureau of Labor and Statistics report, the average American employee spends 4.3 years at a given company.  A momma on the other hand is simply accepting an additional position, after a 4.3 year tenure running her household. So don’t despair mommas.  

Read on.  

Refresh

Now that you know what you can handle and what you want, it is time to outline your credentials. Updating your resume and Linkedin profile is a terrific exercise to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. 

First, review job postings for desired positions.  If these qualifications apply to you, use these applicable keywords in your resume.   Contrarily, if a vast amount of these qualifications do not apply to you, it is time to pivot (read below) or take courses, lectures, and/or get certified, momma!

Basically, updating your resume is an exercise in awareness.  In updating your resume, you can assess and upgrade your credentials as needed.  

"Women looking to return to work should not overlook using a good recruiter. I emphasize "good" recruiter because the best will help you understand and capture your full value based on the other clients they work with."

Network

Okay, so you outlined your credentials.  Now, it is time to put it into play. First, go through your contact list and reach out to former colleagues. Let them know that you are ready to get back out there and precisely what type of position(s) you want. Meet for coffee or drinks-might as well make it social. It is also a good idea to attend networking events and seminars to make new contacts. 

Speak up. 

Pivot

"I realized that, at the end of the day, it is all about helping clients solve problems"

Everyone needs to pivot from time to time. Furthermore, as a mom re-entering the workforce, we are presented with an opportunity to recast ourselves and utilize our skillsets in various ways. Think of other ways you can use your talents and experience.  

Take Stacey, who left print publishing, to start her family. She decided to return to the workforce once her 2 children were in pre-school and kindergarten.  Stacey returned to a very different landscape, where magazines and newspapers were folding with digital on the rise. 

In addition to taking digital media classes and networking. Stacey took stock of what she could bring to the workforce and she eventually landed a client services position for a large digital agency.  By taking classes and accessing her strengths, Stacey was able to transplant her contacts and expertise from one industry into another-from print to digital. 

Another successful pivot comes from Jen, mom of soon to be an 11-year-old, who faced obstacles going back to work, as well the need for a great deal of flexibility as a single mom. 

"After having Ben, I was laid off by my employer, just as the economy was busting and people weren't hiring full-time event managers/producers. I couldn't take a freelance job because of the unpredictability, so I went back into administrative work. I easily adapted into the role. The firm I landed in had great benefits, predictable hours, no travel, and very little to no stress - exactly what I needed as a mom to an infant!!"

By casting a wider net, Jen ended up being able to move into a career that was more beneficial to her life and family structure.  

Know Your Rights and Your Worth

Often as working mothers, we are offered less than what other candidates are offered. This factor is referred to as the motherhood penalty.  However, if you agree to a lower salary upfront, it will be challenging to garner more at a later date. 

When you enter the interview stage know what to expect and what you will accept.   

Research

Start off by researching salary bands for the specific position/industry. Ask for what you want within that range. Don’t start off with less. When asked about your salary requirements speak to your skill, level of commitment along with your salary requirements.

Review

Review a company’s benefits package and PTO.  Of course, everyone should do this, but for a working mother we are weighing leaving our little ones at home and in some cases the cost of doing so.

Consider

Last, understand a company’s remote working policy. In this current digital age, employers are typically flexible to remote work schedules. In all likelihood, you will need this flexibility. Things happen, kids get sick. I am always so grateful for the ability to watch over my sick little one as I worked from home.

Remember, where you work will become a part of your life and the life of your family.  Go after companies that are “family friendly” and offer the right compensation.  

Just Keep Going

"I refused to let being a new mom stop me.”

Brittney, Mom of 8 Month Old Tweet

Once you take all the steps above you are unstoppable.  Motherhood is not a problem or an obstacle.  Motherhood is LIFE so just keep living and doing, everything else will fall into place based on intention.  

”I found out about a new position opening up, Project Manager, a promotion for me and something I always wanted to do. First, I hesitated and hesitated because I thought who would want to hire a new mom that has to pump every 2 hours and may have to take more days off for her child when sick or whatever. I honestly thought I couldn't be taken seriously anymore. Eventually, I applied anyway and I got the job and a hefty raise and bonus structure."

To sum it up here mommas, know what you can do, communicate as much, and then get ready, get set, go.  

Ill Credit: Isabel Da Silva Azevedo

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1 Comment

  1. Great read!! We shouldn’t let motherhood keep us from doing what we love. Sometimes, motherhood can cause a delay, but if a momma wants to have something for herself by working, even if it’s part-time, I say use the resources out there for mommas and just do it!


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