Advice for SAHMs Who are Returning to the Workforce

You know what’s hard? Transitioning from a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) to a working parent. You left your job so you could attend to your children, and what’s more important than that? Nothing. You’d think the world would be full of employers dying to hire excellent multi-taskers, such as mothers are. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Why you ask? Well, first there’s the unpleasant stigmas, such as that you’re lazy or spoiled. There’s also the gap in your employment; you’ll need to explain that to potential employers. And, there’s the mess of emotions you’re going to feel when you leave your kid(s) at daycare, so you can look for a new job. In an effort to help alleviate some of the burden, here’s some tips you can use to make your job hunt easier and more successful.

Successful business woman leading a group at the office
Successful business woman leading a group at the office

Challenging the Stigma and Explaining the Gap in Your Employment

No employer has the right to discriminate based on whether or not a woman has spent the last few years of her life raising children… And yet, many do… And, they go completely unchecked because how could you prove it? If you feel an employer is biased in regards to your family, set them straight.

When asked, “What were you doing in the five years you were unemployed?” Don’t answer, “I was learning to multi-task;” instead, be very matter-of-fact about the skills you learned as a SAHM by saying something like, “I was handling my family’s finances, teaching math and reading, and acting as chef and maid for a six-person household.”

This method works in an interview, but how do you overcome that employment gap on your resume in order to land yourself the interview? Forbes.com recommends that you use the “chronological resume with a robust summary” strategy. Don’t leave out dates in an effort to divert the employer’s attention. Employers recognize this strategy almost immediately. Instead, create an Executive Summary section at the top of your resume and use it to “highlight the stuff you’re most proud of, best known for, and can completely kill at.”

To build solid and relevant experience, why not attend a conference or event in your chosen career field? Conferences provide the most up-to-date information about niche markets, and  can help you add more relevant skills to your resume. You may also meet potential employers or build networking relationships with experts in your field. To connect before the big day, make sure to find the official app of the event. Mobile conference or event apps which list the attendees, real time data, as well as other important event information will help you maximize your experience and focus on speakers and materials that most apply to you!

Kissing Your Kids Goodbye

Chief among the difficulties you face will be the sadness you’ll feel when you have to say goodbye to your kid(s). Jennifer Pinarki, author of “6 things no one tells moms about going back to work,” says returning to work made her feel as though she gave up on her kids. “On my first day back at work, I cried all the way from my daughter’s daycare to the office…While there is a sense of pride in returning to work and being paid for my skills, there is also tremendous guilt.”

Pinarki really felt like she’d failed her children by choosing to return to her job after being home with them for so long. “I know it will get better,” she wrote. And, she’s right. Time will heal this wound, and eventually you will grow more comfortable with the new dynamic.

 

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