The kids are finally grown up, and you’re thinking of going back to work. But somehow the thought of reclaiming your career life sends a shiver down your spine. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many stay-at-home mothers find going back to work after many years rather challenging. To help your transition, we spoke to some of our favourite iron ladies to find out how they did just that, after years of absence from the workforce.
Keep yourself up-to-date and reclaim your confidence
First, call up your working friends or even ex-colleagues. Invite them over and get yourself up to speed. There’s no harm in sharing your plans of going back to work and to seek some positive input. They can fill you in on current common corporate practices, of what is new in your field and of possible vacant positions.
Good friends will also give you the dose of encouragement you need to regain your confidence. Their input can help you realign your plans and make the thought of going back to work easier to face.
Explore and don’t be afraid to “migrate”
When you have been a stay-home mother long enough eventually a sense of talent expiry comes into play. Is what you used to do still relevant today? At the same time, have your areas of interest shifted or expanded?
Take some time to explore and rediscover your interests, as well as career options . Do not be afraid to move away from what you were initially trained or qualified to do.
Being a stay-home mother may have also allowed you to master other valuable skills, such as meeting multiple deadlines, managing the schedules of 5 people simultaneously, and staying within your monthly budget.
Explore and do not hesitate to consider positions such as Customer Service, Project Planner, Assistant, Administration and any other where these self-taught skills can be put to good use.
If you are still nervous about going back to work, start by finding something more flexible, like a part time job. The point is to be objective and not restrict yourself by what you were doing before.
Work out a system
You need to have a system that helps you balance work and home responsibilities effectively if you’re going back to work.
This is where tag-team parenting comes into play, especially when juggling house chores and the kids’ schedules.
Prepare and work out a schedule that works best for the both you and your spouse. List out the things that need to be addressed together right from the beginning.
Plan out routines such as who sends or picks up the kids. Be ready to share house chores with your spouse and include the kids. Kids can start doing simple chores like putting out the laundry, writing out the grocery checklist or taking out the trash.
Include other trusted family members and even close friends. Appoint one or two who can act and respond in the case of an emergency.
Ultimately don’t hesitate to hire help like a regular weekly cleaner, a gardener to do the weeding, and standby babysitters. Have them on speed dial. Believe us: Money spent on hiring help is a far better trade off than losing your sanity.
Communicate and have faith
When you are a stay-home mother, you’re on top of everyone’s schedules. Now regular and consistent communication between you, your spouse, your kids, their caretakers, and their school, is essential to keep track of everyone’s whereabouts.
If you’re an overly meticulous helicopter parent, take a step back and have faith. Have faith that your spouse is capable in helping out with the kids too. Have faith that in your absence, your kids and your trusted caretaker will keep the ship afloat.
Don’t fret the small stuff
Finally, remember that no matter how meticulous you try to be, some things will give somewhere. You can plan each day to a T, but expect changes or delays. Kids will still get sick, the babysitter might have an emergency or the school might call. Roll with the punches, as they say.
If there were times in the past where you assured yourself that “one day I’m going back to work again” and the time has finally arrived, we hope these tips will help you feel better prepared. Others have gone before you and it is indeed possible to gracefully transition yourself into the workplace. All the best!