Workforce Re-Entry:: From SAHM to Working Mom

Returning to the Workforce: From Stay-At-Home Mom to Working MomIt’s been a couple of weeks since the start of the school year, and I have thought a lot about changes and transitions.

This year is a big year for me because all three of my sons are in school full-time. It’s left me with a lot of extra time on my hands. One day, after dropping off my sons at school and my husband going off to work, I realized I finished everything on my to-do list by 9 a.m. Sitting on the couch contemplating what to do for the rest of the day, I wondered if I should return to work. Thus began my journey of returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom for almost a decade.

It’s been a learning experience, and there have been a few moments where I felt overwhelmed about where to begin, especially since I have a few gap years in my resume, but overall, the experience has been good.

If you’re looking for tips on returning to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for a few years, read below for what I found most useful.

Decide what you want and need

You should consider what you want to do. Make a list of potential companies you’d like to work for. Do you want to work from home or in person? Do you want to work for a company you previously worked for or try something new?

Update your resume

I’m not going to lie; when I pulled up my resume, I winced. It’s been so long since I’ve had to look at my resume. Then when I saw the date of my last job, I immediately worried that no one would be interested in actually hiring me. In the end, I didn’t let that deter me. I added a few things to my resume and also made a cover letter. If you have a professional social media page like LinkedIn, you should update that as well.

Update your work/interview wardrobe

Go through your closet and check what professional attire you have for interviews. When I did this, I quickly realized I needed to get a couple of outfits for interviews. Be sure

Network, network, network

Reach out to former managers, supervisors, and coworkers and inform them that you are returning to work. Let them know what type of position you’re looking for and send them your resume. If you feel comfortable with doing this, tell them to forward your information if they are aware of positions for which you may be qualified.

Consider reaching out to family and friends as well. They may work for companies that you’re interested in, or they may know of positions that would be perfect for you.

Be prepared to talk about your gap years

If and when you have your interview, be prepared to discuss why you haven’t been in the workforce. Whether it’s only been a year or several years, this will most likely be mentioned. My advice is to simply be honest and straight to the point. State why you took time off, but remember to state why you are ready to reenter the workforce too.

As parents, some employers may be wary of hiring parents simply because they want to make sure that you can be at work and won’t have to miss work often. Make sure to remind them why you qualified for the job and that you are a reliable employee.

However, I personally was surprised at how understanding employers were when I gave them my reason for having gap years. One potential employer even said, “You are raising children…the next generation. That is an important job.” Needless to say, I got the job.

Consider working a part-time or seasonal job

Rather than jumping straight into a full-time position, consider working a part-time job and easing yourself back into the workforce. It’s a significant change going from being a stay-at-home parent to working full-time, starting with a few hours could help you get used to working again. Working a part-time or seasonal job is a great idea if you want to work while your kid(s) are in school, but you also want to be home when in time to get them off the bus.

Find reliable childcare

Depending on the ages of your child(ren), you may need to find a daycare, nanny, or babysitter. Consider reaching out to family and friends and asking if they know of any reliable candidates. Often, you may find daycare and sitter recommendations on social media (via your city or community’s Facebook pages). If you choose to do this, make sure to do research before hiring. For older children, you may be able to put them in an after-school program should you decide to work hours past the time that school ends for the day.

Try not to stress

I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to stress. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that you have held a job before, you’re a mom (the most important job), and there are so many places hiring. You got this.

If you are considering reentering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom, I wish you good luck!

If you are a mom who has returned to work after being a stay-at-home, what tips or advice would you give to a mom considering returning to work?