Tips For A Mom Considering Rejoining The Workforce

Before I get started a quick disclaimer; I completely respect mom’s who work for all reasons as well as mothers who stay home with their kids whether by choice or necessity.  My situation is my own and the following is intended to help mothers who may be in a similar situation or know someone who might be.

When our first child was born we had just moved to San Francisco and since child care was so expensive out there along with everything else I was more than happy to stay home with my new baby exploring our new home. Fast forward to the present, we now are living in Madison, have 2 kiddos and truth be told I’m itching for a change. I never have been a working mom and I’m curious to know how it would change the dynamics of our family. Would I enjoy it more than staying at home? Would I be a better mom and wife with the satisfaction of working on something that brings me passion and I can help the family financially? What would it all involve for me to go back to work?

And so I started leisurely looking for a job and not shortly after I applied for a position I was asked to come in for an interview. Oh $#*!! Here’s the thing, the idea of going back to work is great and all, but to make that happen, there was a lot of variables to consider if I wanted to transition from being a stay at home mom to working outside of the home. So I thought I’d share my thoughts with you and tips I got from really smart friends along the way.

I think the biggest item that we all start to think about (or for me freak out about), is daycare. You want a daycare that isn’t too far from your home or job, can fit in your budget and the top one on our list is a place we trust and feel confident leaving our kids. If you are seriously considering working, some daycare’s have a waitlist so do your research asap. I scoured threads from Madison Moms Blog, asked my neighbor and friends and looked up daycares in our neighborhood. Once I narrowed down the daycares I would consider I started calling for tours, pricing and if there were any openings. Make sure you do run the numbers and consider as many variables because when it comes down to it financially it may not be worth it. That is, if you are only doing it for financial reasons.
Just as importantly was sitting down with my husband and talking about how our schedule would look like, divvying up chores and how this will affect our lives. We figured out who would drop off the kids and who would pick up the kids, expectations on chores, who would get the groceries and make dinner. It was an eye opener to the fact this would really be a big change in our lives. We had to consider whether it would be worth it.
For any of this to matter of course I would need to get the job. Obviously preparing for an upcoming interview is really important. Even more important if you have been out of the work force for a while. My background is in architecture and after taking a couple years off I definitely needed to take some time and review my past projects. Brushing up on standard interviewing skills is something else I would highly suggest. Such as; researching the company you are interviewing at, preparing responses, plan what to wear (for me that was digging out the black dress pants and suit jacket) and prepare what to bring (resume, portfolio, etc.).
A concern I had was how to handle the large gap in my resume from my last job in the corporate world. From all the people I asked, the best way to handle it was to address the gap in your cover letter and don’t feel like you have to write a novel, but mention a couple things you have done on the side while watching your kids. I made light of the situation by stating my multi-tasking only get better since having kids.
During my interview I was asked how I felt about traveling, which was something I should have thought about more before the interview, so consider that. They also asked me if my goal was for this to be a full-time position. Think ahead about how much you are willing to work, 40 hours a week, doing overtime if a project requires it, do you have the help needed to travel?
I can’t stress enough that your fellow moms can be your greatest asset and alley in networking. Schedule informational interviews with people in your industry for practice. And there are great resources in Madison for additional help. To just name a few, the QTI Group is a great resource in preparing and helping you find a job. DreamBank Madison is another great asset and they provide career development events. Another option you could consider is taking some Professional Development Programs at UW to increase your opportunities.
I know a lot of this stuff is rudimentary, but any reminders of crossing the “t’s” and dotting “i’s” I got when starting the job hunt were greatly appreciated. Please don’t get discouraged if you have a couple of no’s before you find your job. When a company says they want to find the right fit for the position, remember it goes both ways, and I believe even more so when you have kids, because you also need the right fit for you and your family. Also if any place doesn’t want to hire you because you are a mom you don’t want to work there anyways! I haven’t yet found the right position for me and my family, but I am confident the future holds some exciting things for us. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts and if you have any additional feedback or resources please comment below!
Melissa is a mom of a 2 year old and expecting her second child any day now! She's a foodie, loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoys reading a good book, designing, crafting and taking as many family adventures as possible. Fitting that in of course is a juggling act between being a busy stay at home mom, but she wouldn't want it any other way. Before having kids she studied and worked in architecture. She and her husband have lived in Chicago, Norfolk, Va, San Francisco and just recently moved back to Madison. You can also read about her adventures on her personal blog


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