A Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Returning to Work

Whether you’ve been at home with the kids for a few years, or just a few months, at some point many mothers decide that they want return to the workforce. It might be that they need to start contributing to the household income, or they want to get more mental stimulation than the endless cartoons can offer.5804896627_a93cd0e871

Regardless of the reason for returning to work, mothers going back into the workforce face some issues that other jobseekers may not. From figuring out how to explain a significant gap in your work history to dealing with changes in technology, going back to work after staying home with the kids can be challenging, but with some preparation, it’s not impossible.

Get Your Resume in Order

Before you start looking for jobs, get your resume in tip-top shape. Some experts recommend updating your resume every few months to stay on top of new achievements, but if that hasn’t exactly been on the top of your list, then take some time to make sure it best reflects your skills and experience.

If it’s been a few years since you updated your credentials, remove anything that makes it look out of date, such as an objective, which isn’t really in vogue anymore. Since you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, focus on your relevant skills before your work experience. Even if you’ve been wrangling kids for a while, you can tout your abilities to mediate conflict, manage budgets and organize complex projects and schedules.

Present Your Experience

Even if you haven’t held a traditional job in a few years, chances are you’ve participated in other activities that have built your skill set. If you volunteered in your child’s classroom, note that on your resume along with your tasks and the skills you have learned.

Education is another factor that you shouldn’t overlook. If you’ve taken a few classes toward your masters degree in human resources or another subject, note that on your resume. Highlighting the fact that you’ve sought advanced education shows your commitment to the field and that you have stayed on top of industry developments.

Don’t Apologize

Staying home to raise your family is a perfectly legitimate reason for a gap in your employment history. Do not be embarrassed that you’ve been devoted to your kids for a few years. Explain to the interviewer that you’ve been primarily focused on raising your family, and now you are excited to pick up where you left off.

Be Prepared to Demonstrate Your Knowledge

When you do land a job, expect that some of your co-workers — and your boss — will be expecting that you can hit the ground running and you won’t have too much of a learning curve. Even if you already have a masters in human resource management careers (and other fields) the landscape is constantly changing and if you haven’t kept up, you could be left behind. Before you even start looking for a job, bone up on the changes in the field and issues in the industry by reading trade magazines, and speaking with those who work in the field.

Get Your Act Together

With mom going back to work, there will be some major family adjustments. Spend some time getting everything in order before you start your new job. Get child care squared away, make plans to manage household tasks and get yourself mentally prepared for an entirely different schedule. Spend some time on yourself too; a new haircut, some new makeup and new work outfits can help you bridge the gap between stay-at-home mom and working mom more easily and help you feel more professional.

Deciding that it’s time to return to work after staying home with the kids is often a nerve-wracking proposition — and can be frustrating for a woman who’s not prepared. Take some time to do your homework before you jump back in with both feet, and the transition will be a smooth one.

Another great way to adjust to the idea of getting back to work is obtaining an online degree. As long as you have an internet connection, you can start working towards a number of excellent degrees. This involves just as much communication as a conventional university, except that it all takes place from home. Obtaining a Master of Public Administration, for example, will be an incredible help while trying to get back out into the working world.

A Public Administration degree will teach you a number of skills, including research, analysis, oral presentation, writing, and critical thinking. This degree also allows the recipient to become much more likely to pursue a career as a Marketing Director, Financial Planner, Clinic Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Health Systems Improvement Project Manager, and many more.

There are plenty of benefits to pursuing this program online as well. First, it is open to international students, meaning you can live anywhere with internet access while working for this degree. Financial Aid options are also available, making this program accessible for Moms on a budget. See this page for more information on how to start pursuing a degree from home today.

About the Author: Robin Annis returned to full-time work in human resources after staying home with her young children for seven years. While she raised her babies, she earned a Master’s in Human Resources online and now leads a support group for working mothers in her city.