RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — I recently sat down with two friends for coffee. Both women have similar educational backgrounds. They are both lawyers. They are also mothers. One has one child and has not practiced law since her daughter was born. The other has a set of twins. and works full time. Both are happy with the professional decisions they have made but the one who decided to stay at home is now contemplating heading back to the workforce.
Prior to our coffee, the women did not know each other. But since they have similar backgrounds I thought getting them together might be a good idea on multiple levels. They left with a new connection and the non-working friend left with hope of getting back into the business after taking time off to raise her child.
For most moms the idea of transitioning from being at home back to work can seem daunting.
For most moms the idea of transitioning from being at home back to work can seem daunting. When I left work to stay home with my son I struggled with not working. For so long my job was a major part of my identity. My husband and I agreed it was the best decision for us, financially, but I often wonder where I would be professionally had I not taken a break from my career. I am certainly happy that I have been the primary care provider to my children since their births but I am greedy. I wish I could have have it all.
What I have come to learn is I can have it all but I can’t have it all at the same time. I now look at every interaction in my daily life as a learning experience and a networking opportunity. Since becoming a mother I have learned so much about multitasking, managing multiple schedules, and remaining productive amidst myriad challenges.
Since becoming a mother I have learned so much about multitasking, managing multiple schedules, and remaining productive amidst myriad challenges.
I also realize I still miss work. So when I speak to friends, my children’s teachers, or parents of my children’s friends I am sure to express my professional interests in subtle ways, while also looking for ways to demonstrate my unique skill set in volunteer settings. For instance, I was a school counselor so I have offered to do monthly classroom guidance lessons for my daughter’s preschool. This has allowed me to dip my toe back into the working world without leaving my stay-at-home bubble. It’s the first step to a possible future transition back into my profession.
I have lots of mom friends who work and loads who do not. I also have several either transitioning back to work or trying to figure out how to transition out of work. I believe either way can be tough. I also have friends, like my dear friend Stephanie Jones of Stephie Jones Fine Art who have figured out a way to work from home. While on the surface that seems like a dream, it requires working early in the morning, late at night and often in fits and starts to create a finished product. Stephanie amazes me all the time with her ability to balance being a mom with being an amazingly talented and productive artist.
Whether you are contemplating a move in or out of the workforce sometime in the future, I encourage you to consider this:
- Every interaction is an opportunity to network. Don’t be afraid to talk about your interests. Every conversation does not have to be about your children.
- Make time for yourself. If you want to volunteer or pick up a part-time job but think it takes too much time away from your family try to remember you deserve it. Work with your partner to make it happen. Feed yourself in whatever ways you can to keep up your confidence as a contributing member of the world of work.
- Encourage other mothers. Like I did with my lawyer friends – – make connections. Hook your friends up with like-minded people. You never know what greatness you will uncover.
- Remember your worth. Be it as stay-at-home mom or a working mom remember that you are working hard, that you are important and those kiddos look up to you. You are doing a great job even when you feel like you might not be.
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