Bouncing back: How working moms can rebuild after career hurdles

While no one seems to pay as much mind when working moms end up back at home with the kids, the transition back into the workforce is often steeped with challenges and hurdles.

For example, women attempting to re-enter the workforce after a break often face crippling social expectations, they can struggle to earn respect, and they might experience discrimination due to their age and being “outdated” for the job market. 

There’s also the fact that some working moms might have ended up back at home due to burnout and the challenges they faced having to be both the primary caregiver and a money-maker. This means having to find a way to overcome that burnout before attempting to jump-start their career again. 

If these are things you are worried about as a working mom, we’ve got some tips on how to rebuild and better support yourself as you seek to regain your professional momentum. 

Five tips for overcoming career setbacks as a working mom

Before you apply for jobs again, use your time off to facilitate a successful comeback. This is particularly important if you were or have been experiencing burnout.

It can also be a great opportunity to play catch-up and learn some new skills if you were on a long hiatus. or if you have been on a long hiatus, meaning you might need to play catch-up and learn some new skills. No matter the reason, consider the following five tips for your comeback plan:

1) Make a financial plan

Many mothers entering the workforce have plenty of anxiety surrounding the event. What happens if your employer ultimately decides you aren’t a good fit? These concerns have become especially common as many companies go through economic uncertainty.

Unfortunately, many companies will constrain their budget through layoffs, in which case, they may turn to new hires as a result. No matter your concerns, you can assuage your anxiety by establishing a good financial plan for any circumstance. Setting aside money for an emergency fund, for example, can help you feel more secure when you don’t have an active source of income. 

During your hiatus, while you are at home with the kids, try maintaining a spreadsheet to help you keep better track of your money. This will help you budget until you can get back to work and start earning again. 

It’s also a good idea to more carefully review your tax returns to make sure you are not paying more than you owe. If necessary, hire a financial planner or tax expert to help so you can be as strategic as possible about saving money. 

2) Take the time to do a little self-care

Self-care is even more important when you are a working parent, as it can help you strike a better work-life balance. However, just because you are not working anymore doesn’t mean self-care is no longer a priority.

You should use the free time you have to make self-care a habitual practice that you can turn to in the future to prevent burnout. Self-care routines can help you feel more fulfilled and recharged, which is important to maintaining your mental well-being. Taking care of yourself can also help you bounce back and better position yourself to take on the workforce again.  

Some self-care tips include:

  • Taking breaks when you need them;
  • Prioritizing your needs; 
  • Taking care of your body through beauty, wellness, and exercise;
  • Getting good sleep;
  • Asking for help when you need it.

These are just a few examples, but the self-care you need is ultimately up to you. There is no one right way to develop a self-care routine. 

3) Open yourself up to new experiences

Putting yourself out there and trying new things can help you learn more about yourself, which can end up helping you once you start looking for jobs again. It might even help you discover a new passion that you can turn into a career, like starting your own small business. 

To do this, greet each day with purpose and intention. When you wake up or whenever you have the time, sit down and think about some things that you would like to do or learn. Don’t be afraid to explore things you haven’t considered before, as this could lead you toward opportunities you might have otherwise missed out on. 

4) Hone your skills (and maybe learn some new ones)

Another great way to make the most of your sabbatical is to use the time to hone your job skills or even upskill. Take an online course, learn a new language, hone your communication skills, learn what it takes to be a good leader, and advance your digital computing skills – the options are endless.

This can show any potential employers that you start applying with that even though you were out of work, you still took the time to keep yourself sharp and stay relevant. 

5) Stay connected

Another way to keep yourself relevant is to network and keep in touch with what’s going on in your industry. Keep in touch with former colleagues or clients, connect with people on LinkedIn, and stay up to date on the latest news and trends in your field. If you plan to re-enter the same industry you left, this will, again, show any companies you apply to that you are relevant, in the know, and well-positioned to start working again. 

Return to work when it is right for you

It’s okay if you aren’t always doing something productive while you are out of work. Doing nothing and simply resting is still doing something. So don’t feel bad about allowing yourself some time to rest and focus on your personal needs.

Enjoy the extra time you have to yourself and with your kids and then once you feel better, you can start taking the initiative to ensure you are in a good position to successfully re-enter the workforce.