Friday, September 6, 2013

10 Tips for Surviving the Transition from Stay-at-Home-Mom to Working Mom

Whether it has been six months or ten years, going back to work after having children is a big transition for both you and the kids. Getting back into the workforce after taking time off can be challenging and nerve wracking but there are many strategies one can take to make this as easy as possible for everyone involved. 

1. First, plan for the unexpected
One of the biggest changes when going back to work, especially for the kids, is that you won't necessarily be around or available as much as they are used to. So have a plan in place for any surprises, like have someone you can call to pick up your sick child from school if you and your husband cannot leave work. Mom's days are filled with curveballs and when you are working they are harder to handle sometimes. 

2. Work out a routine 
Before starting a new job and beginning this new stage in your life as a mother, it is important to develop a structured routine that will work for everyone in the family. So take one night to sit down and have a discussion with the kids and your husband. Figure out how you can all contribute and work together to make the running of the household as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

3. Pay for services
Once you make the jump from stay-at-home mom to working mom, you are going to need to begin outsourcingChildcare back-up, after school programs, and a weekly or bi-weekly house cleaner just became necessities. Grocery delivery, landscaping services, and a mother's helper are luxuries you may want to seriously consider. 

4. Get your kids involved in after school activities
With your schedule being more busy, adding some activities on to your child's schedule might help to balance it out. If your child is involved in before or after school actives for a few hours, such as a sport or club, it will give you some extra time to finish things up at work or get much-needed some errands done. Plus busy kids tend to be more organized- but don't go crazy and over schedule them. Then they are just exhausted and cranky. 

5. Asses your goals ahead of time
Before making the leap, know what your goals are for this career. When you're applying for jobs, know what matters most to you- income, flexibility, and so on- because that will play a huge role in what career you ultimately choose. Work for a family friendly company. Do things like read email and other materials at home, so much can be done on a laptop now. 

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6. Have confidence
Many mothers are afraid of jumping back into the workforce after spending time away from it, especially mothers who haven't been working for a long time. Just know that even if you've been away from a desk for years, it doesn't make you any less valuable or useful in your chosen career. But it is important to go into this new chapter with confidence, if you can survive motherhood- you can survive anything! 

7. Educate yourself about new technology
There have been so many changes in technology within the past few years that if its been a while since you've been in a work environment, it might make your head spin. You can minimize some of this shock by having one of your tech savvy friends (or even your kids!) give you a lesson on how to master the technology you're going to have to be using. And if your child has a phone, activate the GPS. This way, even though you may not be around as much you can still see where you're child is and what they might be doing. 

8. Seek professional help
If it has been a while, certain things like the interview process or building your resume can feel overwhelming, so hire a professional- such as a career coach- or consult a friend in the field to help you out. This can make the process much easier and less stressful. 

9. Leave time for the girlfriends- and the gym
Entering the world of a working mom is going to open a few doors to some new stresses, so it is crucial to squeeze time in for your girlfriends whenever possible. They are great sounding boards  and can help you to know that you aren't alone with the issues and challenges you face. Another great way to blow off some steam and get rid of some stress is through exercise- so try to stick to your work out routine as much as possible! This will also help to keep you balanced and feeling good about yourself.

10. Get ready for the guilt!
Realize that your baking capacity just went to zero. Sending in store bought cookies or brownies is not a crime, so don't feel judged as a working mom. Surround yourself with other working moms, so you have people you can talk to that understand and are in the same situation.

Don't try to be perfect, raising perfect kids. You're kids aren't naughty because you are working. They're naughty because they're kids!

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