Seven tips to help you resume your career after becoming a mother
Is the end of maternity leave looming large? Or are you itching to return to work after a career break? Read seven tips to help you resume your professional life after becoming a mother.
You’ve spent the past few months or years caring for your children, and now the time has come to resume your professional life again.
And whether you’re considering work or self-employment because you want to or have to, there’s plenty you can do to make the transition easier, and your post-baby career more rewarding.
Seven tips to help you resume your career after becoming a mother
To help you, here are seven tips to smooth the journey as you resume your career after becoming a mother.
1) What would you do if money didn’t exist?
Here’s a different way of approaching your career when you’re a mother (and indeed, any time). Start by asking yourself the question: “What would I do if money didn’t exist?”
Take it very seriously, and give yourself time to work out the answer. Mull it over for a few days or even weeks, and let your subconscious mind work on it. (We also recommend you read seven things you can do today to discover your passion.)
The main objective is to find an activity that you would enjoy without feeling the pressure of money. The type of work that is borne of passion, not necessity or practicality. Free yourself of any sense of realism (that can come later) and explore where your heart really lies.
2) Make the most of your maternity leave
It’s no surprise that many mothers decide to change career direction, or even start a business while on maternity leave.
For many this is a highly creative and liberating time. Yes, you’re caring for a tiny, demanding baby. But you’re also freed from the unquestioning daily routine of your job. And this can be a great opportunity for perspective.
So ask yourself how you feel about your job, now you have a little distance from it. Does the idea of returning to it excite you? Do you miss your work and colleagues? Or are you dreading the day you need to go back?
If you do have any negative emotions, try to work out what they’re connected to. What aspects of your job no longer work for you? And what do?
If you do have a growing sense that you don’t want to get back on your old career treadmill, this is the time to explore other options – once you’re back on that treadmill again, you may struggle to recapture the motivation (and energy) for change.
Use any opportunity to see what else may be available. Here are some ideas to help you:
- Hire a career coach – they can help you explore possible options and identify practical steps to making them a reality much faster than you could alone.
- Talk to others who are doing what you’d love to do – does the reality match the fantasy you’re building in your mind? And what you can do to make it happen?
- Get practical experience or gain new knowledge – can you start doing anything now that will make it easier to pursue your new dream, or identify it? Think about things like volunteering and online learning.
- Read this website – don’t know what you want to do yet? Read some of our hundreds of real life stories for inspiration. Know what you want to do but not how to make it happen? We have over 1,000 advice articles to search through!
3) Establish what you want from a future job
The clearer you are about what you want (and don’t want) in a future role, the easier you’ll find it to identify those roles are – and spot the jobs that really won’t work for you.
So start making a list of what you want in a job. Consider:
- Working hours.
- Commuting distance.
- Level of responsibility.
- Size of business.
- Company values.
- Daily tasks.
4) Use your Keeping in Touch days
If after all your considerations you’ve realised how much you love your job, then there’s still plenty you can do on maternity leave to keep your hand in and stay up to date when you return.
If you’re in the UK, you may be entitled to Keeping in Touch days (you can learn more about Keeping in Touch days here). But even if you’re not, it still pays to remain in contact with colleagues and managers so you’re familiar with the latest company news and direction, and don’t feel too disconnected and lost when you return to work.
5) Think about the first steps if you DON’T want a job
If you’ve made up your mind that employment is no longer for you, then use this opportunity to carefully plan, and lay the groundwork for, your first steps as a freelancer, consultant or entrepreneur. Here’s some advice to help you get started:
6) Turn your career break into a positive
Whatever you decide to do after maternity leave, make sure you see your career break as the positive it is. Because if you genuinely believe this, you’ll find it much easier to convince others, including recruiters.
You’ll find plenty of advice to help you turn your career break into a positive in these articles:
- 10 steps to getting work ready after a career break
- Nine CV writing tips after a career break
- 12 things you should NEVER do when returning to work after a career break!
- A simple formula for explaining your career gap in a job interview
7) Rediscover your confidence
It doesn’t matter what career ambitions you have if your confidence has taken such a hit while you’ve been at home caring for a baby that you don’t have the nerve to pursue them – or even dare dream you’re worthy of them.
But, while you may think your skills have dwindled away while you were changing nappies, we’re here to tell you they most certainly did not. In fact, as a mother you’re actually gaining valuable professional skills. Just look at these 17 new skills you can put on your CV after becoming a mum!
If you are struggling with confidence and self-doubt right now, we recommend following the advice in these articles:
- Two simple rules to present yourself with confidence
- Five steps to creating your own confidence bubble
- Do you worry too much? Learn an easy 4-step technique to stop!
- Seven simple tactics to tame your negative inner voices
Ready to resume your professional life?
Becoming a mother is a wonderful, life-changing experience. But it’s important that you don’t get lost somewhere along the way. And if you need or want to return to work, we hope the advice in this article will help you to take next step to a truly rewarding professional life with confidence.
Olivia is a journalist who writes for companies like Aussie Writings. She is passionate about art and writing and spends her time writing new articles or travelling around the world. Follow Olivia on Facebook and Twitter.