From the Home Front to the Line of Fire: Entering the Workforce after Years as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Ready to move from Stay-at-Home Mom to Co-Worker?
Maybe you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 5, 10, even 20 years. You may miss the co-workers, managers, and vendors that you interacted with to get things done on the job. You may miss, let’s face it, adult conversations. Your time has been consumed with caring for your family, making sure everybody was doing well, growing and developing. But now you’re at a point where you’re asking yourself,
“What now? What’s next?”
While you’re dreaming about getting back to doing the work you’ve enjoyed before, you might be having doubts about yourself. Frankly, society tells you that being a stay-at-home mom has diminished your skills, talents and abilities.
Before you go any further with that thought pattern… STOP! That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you know how to communicate and show the next new potential employer exactly the value you bring to their business culture and environment, you place yourself in the running of being seen by the right decision maker.
After 20 years of human resources and career-training experience, I see so many individuals in transitions in their lives run and dust off their resume, add a few things that may capture the attention of a recruiter, and just begin submitting one application after another via online submissions. I can unequivocally declare that is not the way to strategically land the next best opportunity that fits who you are now, versus who you were, who you have been.
Here are some first steps to take before getting to that point.
Five things to get you started toward a new career.
1. Get clear about who you are. Starting over or transitioning is the perfect time to reassess who are you are, what drives you, what fulfills you, what energizes you and what you do that provides the most satisfaction. This first step should be taken fully consciously and not rushed. When you give yourself the time and space to do it, you will probably be amazed by what comes to surface.
2. Take stock of what it is you have and own it. Grab your laptop, iPad, or simply a pen and paper and begin to identify what your talents, skills and abilities are. Take the time to actually write these down. Do you know what you have and can do? What better time than now to pinpoint what they are! When you aren’t quite sure about what you can offer, how will you ever be able to convey to a potential employer that you have what it takes? For example, stay-at-home moms have several skills and abilities that can easily translate into the market place – organizational skills, negotiation skills, disciplinary skills, budgeting and planning skills, and that’s just to name a few. Think about your previous career skills and the skills that were required in raising a family, and put those down on paper.
3.Identify what your career interests are now. The career interests you had 5, 10 or 20 years ago are not likely to be the same now. Technology alone has transformed the employment market, and it’s important that you research the changes. Define how you must align yourself to be competitive and identify the steps you need to take to be ready and noticed.
4.Let your circle of influence know you’re ready to get back into the market. It’s important to let your trusted circle know you are preparing yourself to get back out into the market for a new career. Let them know what you’re looking for and the type of industry you desire. Ask if they are open to making personal introductions to people they know who are connected with the types of employers and career environments you want to be in.
5.Network, Network, Network Most of the best jobs in the market won’t be found on the internet–they’re found in a networking environment. However, networking should be done strategically. There are meetups everyday and everywhere, but not every one of them is conducive to what you want and need. Be deliberate in choosing networking environments that could potentially have decision-makers in the room. For example, try greater chamber of commerce meetups, targeted business organizations like NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) or industry-specific meetups like SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management). These are just a few examples to get you thinking–find the one that works for you.
6. Lean into the fear, don’t run from it. What do I mean by that? Going through change, it is inevitable that FEAR will show up every single time. The key is not to get so overwhelmed by it that you start listening to the voice of doubt, reasoning, and procrastination. Grab hold of the FEAR and, well, do it anyway! There are a few things you can do to operate effectively in the presence of fear:
(1) Assess the fear and break down the risks,
(2) Take small steps- you don’t have to do everything in a day or overnight, and
(3) Live in the present – give yourself permission to be in the present and not let your mind run off in to the future.
These are the first five steps that will get you jump-started and moving in the right direction. In making all of these moves, never forget to embrace the change you are moving through! When we choose to embrace the change, rather than fighting against it, the potential to be overwhelmed is diminished far more than jumping in with no direction and no sincere thoughts toward it.
I hope you will join me in my next blog as I expand a little more on this topic, to get you Stay-at-Home Moms moving again with confidence.
Written by Delmar Johnson, Career Coach, Author, Speaker, and Founder of HR Brain for Hire, ( Delmar Johnson Enterprise Brand offering HR solutions to growing small businesses. Delmar also has a particular passion for individuals in career transition and enjoys sharing her time and knowledge with non-profit and for-profit groups, college groups, and individuals who simply need a little guidance and a plan for their career journey. For more information contact Delmar @