Getting Back to Work as a Mother

If you took a career break for children and are now preparing to return, you may be anticipating a transition that will be tough going. It can be challenging, whether you’re returning to your previous place of work, embarking upon a whole new career, or anything in between. Whatever your situation, your experiences as a mother can actually help make the shift back to work a smoother one. Don’t underestimate the value that motherhood experiences can bring to other arenas, including your career.

The transferable skills you develop as a parent are no different in variety or value to the type of skills that can be acquired during other key stages of your life and career, such as marriage or starting that first job. Being a stayhome parent is, after all, one of the biggest challenges there is. Like any form of care, childcare takes it out of you emotionally, physically and mentally-especially when the children are your own! Successfully looking after your family involves continuous multi-tasking, managing your energy levels and maintaining a laser focus, not to mention clear goal setting, calmness in the face of emergencies and the ability to think outside the box.

Take the time to reflect on which new skills you’ve developed

It’s really not a stretch to see how all of these skills are vital in a busy, pressurised workplace-be it your previous one or a brand new one.

In an ideal world, you would be equally expert in all the above competencies. In the real world, no one can expect to have all those skills. Even if you did, not all of these aptitudes will be relevant to your particular line of work. So how do you identify which skills you’ve acquired and whether or not they’ll be useful in your work life? Here are a few tips:

  • Listen to feedback from others around you as they will see how you’ve developed.
  • Take the time to reflect on which new skills you’ve developed. Try making a list of actions you take during the week and then listing the skills they deploy. Consider the settings, pressures and essential outcomes. What did you do, why did you do it and what was the result? Where else could these actions be valued?
  • Think about which skills you’re using whilst you’re actually using them, then consider how they could be used elsewhere. For example, the next time you’re making up a bedtime story with your child, acknowledge the fact that this takes imagination and communication skills, which can be converted into workplace creativity and efficient teamwork.
  • If you’re looking for a new job rather than returning to your old workplace, use your parenting experiences to gain leverage with potential employers. For instance, consider trying out your newfound skills through volunteering opportunities. This will not only up your confidence, but will also add weight to your CV.
  • If you don’t know even which career direction you want to go in then making a career plan by yourself can seem really daunting. This is where an external opinion can be vital. Top quality career guidance from an experienced professional will give you the benefit of an objective and informed viewpoint, allowing you to make decisions from a much stronger platform.

Nisa Chitakasem is the co-founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. Nisa is passionate about helping individuals find the right career path for them whether it involves finding a more rewarding career, making a career change, figuring out the right career plan or being creative about career directions.

Find out more about Position Ignition here

For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog

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