Returning to Work After Having Children: What You Need To Consider

Many people take time out from their work after having children. In most cases this is the mother, although more men are choosing to do this too. This is a discussion that will need to be had before the child is born, and ideally at the start of the pregnancy so that contingency plans can be put in place; going from two salaries to just one might not be possible, or it could involve a lot of saving in the meantime.

However, no matter who has chosen to stay at home or what kind of financial commitments and situations you might be in, there will often come a point (whether it is when the child starts full time education, or perhaps when they are older and can take care of themselves more) when whoever has stopped work wants to start again. There are many aspects of this decision to consider in order to know that it is the right choice and to go about it the right way.

Read on to find out some of the most important, and how to make the choice that is best for you and your family.

Remember You Have Experience  

It takes a lot of skills to raise a child, but because this is something that you have been doing for a number of months or even years, you may not quite realize that you have developed those skills. They could include:

  • Being organized
  • Being punctual
  • Being respectful
  • Cleaning
  • Being careful
  • Understanding – and making – rules
  • Housekeeping
  • Cooking healthy food
  • Keeping a child occupied
  • Caring for someone who is sick

There is so much more besides, although you may love being a parent and you might never have looked on your role as a job, if you do look at it in this way you will see exactly what you have learned and what you are good at. Put this on your resume when it comes to your personal statement and the skills you have. They are your skills, and why wouldn’t you be able to take them into the workplace? The answer is, you would, and an employer should be impressed.

Know What You Want

If you were working before you had children, you might automatically think that is the career you need to go back to. If you enjoyed it and were good at it, and if you know that it is exactly what you want, then these are the jobs you should be applying for.

If, however, you now think that it would be too pressured, or not allow you time with your family, or if you didn’t particularly enjoy it the first time round, then why go back? This is the perfect chance to look for something new that will fit around your other commitments (if you want it to – going back to work full time and having childcare in place is just as valid if that’s what you want to do), and could be the ideal time to do something you have always wanted to do but never had the courage to try. Or perhaps you have developed a passion for a new hobby that you want to turn into a career, or you’ve been talking to other parents who have mentioned what they do for a living and you think it sounds suited to you and your skillset.

Take this time before you start applying for work to determine what it is you really want to do. That way, you can see what you need to have achieved ahead of time, and if you need additional qualifications such as a Baylor DNP-ENL for nursing, you can study for it and be ready to apply when the time is right.

What you do is much less important than the fact you need to enjoy it. If you are miserable at work you will be miserable at home, and that isn’t good for anyone.

You Don’t Have to Go Full-Time

What can worry some people about going back to work is the idea that they will be going from spending all day with their child or all day taking care of the home if the child is at school, to suddenly being out all day. They worry because that they won’t be there for school pick up or drop off, and they might miss out on important events such as plays and presentations.

There is no rule that says you have to work full time when you decide to go back into the workplace after having had children. It might be better for you to start more slowly, working part time to help you get used to what it would be like to be out of the home. You might work only in school hours, for example, or you might work two or three days a week rather than five. Maybe you will choose a job that offers shift work so that there is always going to be someone around for your children.

It’s important not to feel pressured into going back into full time work too soon if you really don’t feel that it will work for you and your family. After some time working part time, you might feel in a position to increase your hours, but that isn’t something that has to happen.

You Can Start Your Own Business

So far, this article has discussed a parent searching for work with an employer, but for some that might not be possible at all. If you are a single parent or you can’t find childcare, for example, you might not have any choice but to stay at home because your children need you.

That doesn’t mean you can’t work, though. You can start your own business that runs from your home, and you can be there for your children at the same time. Not only will the pressure on you be relieved because you will be making money, but there will be a great work life balance too. Remember to have set working times, and to ensure that you are able to keep up with demand and take care of your children when they need you, otherwise you will become stressed and the business won’t be a success either.

Starting a business does not have to be expensive and it can be done with little or even no money at all. Plus, you don’t need any experience of running a business either – you can find out almost everything from reading business books and joining online discussions. Of course, if you can find a mentor to support you, then that’s even better. If you can find a mentor this way, you will avoid the pitfalls that might delay your progress.

If you like the idea of starting your own business, you will need to do some research first. Think about what you enjoy doing and what you are good at; these things combined should help you to decide what your business will be. Once you know, you should take a look at your competition to see how they do things, and also to ensure that your idea is unique enough to stand out and be seen.

Offer Your Time

If money is not the main or even sole aim of going back to work then offering your time to volunteer at a Goodwill store or in a nursing home, or maybe working with children, for example, will be a wonderful way to build your confidence. For many, returning to work (especially after a long time away) can be an anxious time; they will worry they no longer have the skills or the abilities to do the job, or they might just be concerned about leaving their children, or trying something new. It’s perfectly normal and completely understandable to feel like this.

Volunteering will help you and it will help others. It will show you that you can go into the work place and interact with people, and that you do have the skills you need. If you don’t yet have those skills, volunteering will ensure you acquire them. When you feel ready, you can apply for other paid jobs, remembering to include your time volunteering on your resume as it could be extremely useful.

Speak to Your Friends  

If it’s been some time since you last looked for work, you might not know where to start, especially if you are searching for something new to do and you haven’t quite made up your mind yet. If this is the case, why not speak to your friends? They might have some great ideas that you hadn’t thought of; they will know what you are good at and what your personality is, sometimes better than even you do. They will be able to offer suggestions that could work perfectly.

Your friends might even know someone who can help you, or they might know of a job opening somewhere. Let them know you’re looking for work, and you could be surprised at just what is out there that would be great for you.

Lewis Mitchell

Lewis Mitchell is a freelance writer from the U.K. who specializes in technology and Internet niches.