Just because our bodies might be soft from giving birth, this does not mean our minds and abilities have become mush. Once a woman has a baby, that bundle of joy is the only thing on her mind. We get it and know the feeling. The smell of their tiny little feet, and the glimmer in their bright eyes…who can resist not spending every waking moment with such precious bundles of joy.
But, there will come a time when moms decide to re-enter the work force for many different reasons. Perhaps the decision has stemmed from the desire to be a role model for your children, for some finances are struggling, or for others stimulating conversations are crucial for survival as a parent. Whatever the case, the fact remains the same: there will come a time.
I was recently actively seeking opportunities to hop back into the workforce. And while I have always found the confidence and tenacity to venture out in my industry relatively easily, I found myself struggling this go around. Despite my elaborate education, I questioned my abilities because now I was a mother. How sexist, right? I know it sounds so, but it seems that this stereotype suggested by the world has left a subliminal message that I am constantly reminded of.
While we love and admire the fathers of our children, I am sure we might raise our hands in agreement that there are some things men do not understand. It’s ok. Men are from Mars, women are from Jupiter. We all know the saying. It’s TRUE!
According to these findings from Pew Research Center, “Far more women than men say being a working parent has made it more difficult to advance their career.” Why do you think this is the case? Because even while mothers make the decision to re-enter the workforce, many are still pulling the same weight at home, plus some. Making meals, dropping the little ones off, etc. This isn’t just a notation imagined; this is reality for most households. The study also suggests that “Among parents, women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions.”
We are cooks, we are maids, we are counselors, we are multitasking women who love it all. But we should take the time to understand that we DON’T have to do it all and that is ok.
Although I pride myself in being the loving, multi-tasking rock in my family, I can’t do it all, even if I try. And I for one, have a difficult time feeling this, so I can only imagine other mothers having similar feelings. But have no fear — no need for the mom guilt. Blog contributor Karenza previously discussed how you have to think in order to overcome the ‘mom guilt syndrome’ in a recent post; I was able to relate to this very much.
So if you are a mom on the fence about re-entering the workforce, here are some tips:
Tip 1: Delegate Tasks
Getting out the door with a child is always a difficult task. You’ve got baths to give, breakfast to make, lunch to prep, the changing of diapers, and the list goes on. All while you are just trying to look semi-decent walking out of the door. Let’s not even get started on the nighttime rituals. The easiest way to deal with this is to make a list of what needs to get done throughout the day for your kid(s). Then split tasks with your partner. That way, you know what your responsibility is and you might even be able to prep the night before for a smoother transition.
Tip 2: Have a Support Shoulder
It’s what friends are for. We all need a support system, especially when we become moms. Sometimes just a little bit of girl chat is all we need to keep on going. Don’t feel guilty or weak if you need to reach out to someone for a solution or adult time! On the flip side, if you are a stay at home mom, don’t bash a mom for doing things a different way. Be supportive instead. Just a few words of encouragement can go a long way.
Tip 3: Take Time To Know What You Want
When you make the decision to get back to work, make sure you have a clear agenda of what you are trying to achieve and what you want. Some things you might want to consider include: work hours, driving distance from home and daycare/school, work environment (does your potential job understand the importance of family, will you have female coworkers?), is the pay worth it?
Just like an employer takes the time to list out their desires of a potential employee, dear mothers out there, please do the same. I know there are times when we get needy for a job no matter the reason and we take the first opportunity that we are presented with; I am here to say that this is a mistake. Know your worth! When mothers take the time to re-enter the workforce they are taking time away from their children and themselves. So it is crucial that your time is not wasted. If any factor of work stresses you out, this can carry to your home environment to continue a negative shift of energy.
Tip 4: Overcome The Mush Brain Stereotype
Before I even give this tip I think it’s important to note that I have been guilty of this, and every mom friend I know is equally guilty. And even though this stereotype is partially true, it’s ok. When talking with kids, we are constantly trying to think and communicate at their pace, and sometimes this skill does not transfer well when talking with adults. Even so, this does not mean that when mothers re-enter the work force this continues. It might take you some time to adjust adult conversation on a consistence basis, but just know in due time, everything will work out and you are more than capable of doing a good job!
The world spews so many negative thoughts — don’t give in. This new year is the year for opportunities to be available for mothers. Lastly, make a list of all the reasons they should hire you! This will surely help keep your mind positive. Below is a letter I wrote to potential employers to help bring positivity to the situation.
To: Potential Employers
From: Young Mother Seeking Employment Opportunities
- Yes, I am a recent graduate, which also means I am considered a millennial. Oh that dreadful term. But this just means I am in tune with current technologies and am adaptable.
- Yes, I am a mom. This just means I know how to multitask; “EXPERT” should be written on my forehead. Not only have I learned an important skill set being a mom, but I also have RESPONSIBILITIES, so yes I will take my work seriously.
- Yes, I’ve got a caramel brown complexion, so what. You bring diversity to your organization and I guarantee you will diversify your clients.
- Yes, I am young; that means I am EAGER and willing to get the job done. Even more so, I want to learn and have the energy to do so.
- Yes, I am a woman. That just means I have the ability to understand sensitivity and have self-awareness in every situation. Which is NOT a bad deal. This just means I will think of all the extra details when working that will woo over the clients. This just means I will be able to actually create real relationships with internal/external parties. This means I color-code my planner and I can keep up with all facets of the job. It means so many things. But most importantly it means I can do the job just as well as a man, if not better.