The time comes for most stay at home moms that they consider getting back into the job market. Maybe it’s because the kids have gotten older and can go to daycare or to school, or maybe the family’s situation has changed and you need the income. Or maybe you’ve decided the change is the right thing for you. Whatever your reason, you should have a plan for how you’ll get back into the job market after being a stay at home mom.
What Do You Want To Do?
Knowing what you’d like to do after being a stay at home mom will help you get there. You might want to go back to your old job or career, or you might want to build your skills to get into something new.
Having a goal allows you to focus on the important parts of getting back into the job market. A goal helps you know what you need to work on to improve your chances of finding a job after the gap caused by staying at home.
How Will You Get There?
What will it take to make you a good candidate for whatever job or career you’d like to have after staying at home? Do you need to update your skills? Are there entirely new skills you need to acquire?
The time you’ve spent at home can be used to build the skills you’ll need later. You can attend classes at a local community college or online – just make sure you make good choices with your education. Too many online colleges are a complete ripoff. It’s possible to find a good one, but you need to really do your research before you spend any money or time on it.
In some industries, freelancing is a viable way to keep working while staying at home. It also keeps you using your skills and makes it easier to keep your skills current. I’m not saying finding freelance work is easy – it may not be – but it can be worth the effort to keep up your skills.
Have You Really Looked at the Difficulties You’ll Face?
Sadly, it can be incredibly difficult for a stay at home mom to get back into the workforce. The gap in employment can be a huge deal, especially if the industry you’d like to be in has changed a lot in the intervening years.
Working from home or part time may help matters, but they may not be a complete solution. You probably won’t have the skills or history that people who continued to work full time will have, yet you’ll have too many skills for many entry level positions.
I’m decidedly not against working at home or finding part time work to keep your skills up. I believe it puts you in a better position overall for a variety of reasons. If nothing else, they’re a way to keep money coming in until you find the work you really want. Sometimes they even turn out to provide enough money for your needs. In my own situation, for example, I earn more working at home than my husband does outside of it. At this point in my life, there’s no thought of returning to work outside the home.
But that’s not true for many stay at home moms or dads. If you aren’t ready for the difficulties you’ll face, they can be overwhelming at a time you really need to focus on bringing in an income.
Build Your Network
No matter the job experience you have, networking is often the key to a successful job hunt. Keep in at least occasional contact with former employers and coworkers. Use LinkedIn. Talk to people about your job hunt when you’re looking. You never know where that perfect job lead will come from.
Be Ready to Earn Less
It’s a sad fact that many stay at home moms earn less after returning to work than they did before they left. It’s a result of not having recent experience, and of course you’ve missed out on all the raises you would have gotten throughout the years if you had continued to work. It’s one of the tough realities of being a stay at home mom that many people don’t prepare for.
Don’t be too ready to earn less, of course. You shouldn’t feel as though you will absolutely earn less. If you see an opportunity for better earnings, go for it!