For any Mums returning to work after a period of time spent looking after a baby, it can be really hard knowing where to start. You know you need to make the transition from full time Mum back into the workforce, but how do you do it without stressing yourself out?
I have some serious new found respect for Mums everywhere. Super Mums in every sense of the word! Would you accept a job for which you don’t have any training, qualifications or skills? The working hours for which are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? With no lunch breaks, tea breaks or holiday entitlement? For zero pay? Starting the second after the most traumatic physical experience you will ever endure? Mums everywhere have that job. Respect.
My partner and I have just had our first baby. We are just about getting used to the crazy set up of our new life and we are both really enjoying it (despite the sleep deprivation!).
In my career as a Recruiter, I have been in the situation countless times where I have seen Mums who have spent some time away from work looking after a baby and who then struggle to get back into the workforce. It’s always heartbreaking to see and it can be such a stressful time for anyone in that situation.
The length of time you have been out of work caring for your baby can vary greatly. In some cases it can be just a few months, in other cases it can be several years since you were last gainfully employed.
Irrespective of the length of time since you were last in work, however, there are a few things to bear in mind whilst you are at home being a full time Mum. Things that should help make the transition back to work as smooth as possible.
1. Keep up appearances
The network that you have spent years cultivating is going to prove invaluable for you when you eventually return to work. One of the main reasons for this is that any potential employer will want to speak to at least two referees when deciding whether or not to offer you a job. So maintain contact with old work colleagues, friends and people you know in the industry. You can do this all online, it doesn’t have to be a significant investment of your already very limited supply of time and energy. Keeping up ‘appearances’ and maintaining your network won’t be high on your list of priorities when you are away from the office, however, it will pay dividends for any Mums returning to work.
2. Identify any gaps in your skills
You may have been out of the office for a significant period of time. If that is the case, things may have changed in your line of work. This is something a lot of Mums returning to work tend to overlook. Your skills may need updating and you may need to brush up on a few things before you start applying for jobs. Take some time to speak to people in your network to get their advice on any gaps you need to fill. This should make a huge difference when you eventually start interviewing for new jobs.
3. Identify the right job for you
Your situation may have changed to such an extent that the thought of returning to the same line of work is no longer palatable for you, and that’s OK. Mums returning to work may need part time work or a more flexible working situation. The most important thing is to identify a job that fits your current situation. You never know, that might represent a change in career entirely! If that is the case, you will need to put a plan in place to make the leap to something new, whatever that may be.
4. Explain the gap in your CV
Just be honest. You’ve had a baby! You are a Mum. You don’t need to say anything other than that on your CV. Employers should in no way discriminate against anyone who has been out of work because they have been caring for a baby. I have seen some instances in my career where Mums returning to work do not explain the gap in their employment properly, and that can be a really bad thing because if there is any ambiguity at all, employers will back away from you very quickly.
5. Get some help if you need it
There are lots of resources out there to help Mums returning to work, both at a government level and in the private sector. If you need help with your CV or if you are a bit nervous about going to an interview after so long, get some professional help if you need it. Speak to your friends, they will be able to offer some sound advice as there are lots of women in your shoes going through the same experience!
Going back to work after having a baby can be stressful and intimidating. The seemingly mammoth task of finding a new job after so long out of the workforce can seem daunting, however, there are things you can do whilst you are at home caring for your baby that will make the transition from full time Mum and back to work as smooth as possible.
But don’t sweat it, you’ve got this. After all, you are no ordinary Mum…you are a Super Mum!
Are you a Mum returning to work after having a baby? What are some of the difficulties you have faced?
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