Recently, I re-entered the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 5 years. I loved the time I was able to spend with my boys, but a job opened up where I would have a schedule similar to my kindergartner’s, something relatively uncommon in the small town where we live. When I first began considering a possible return to work, the emotions ranged from excitement, nervousness, curiosity and everything in between! During those 5 years while I was out of the workforce, I stayed active in volunteer roles and even took some temporary jobs filling in the gaps for people who were on vacation, but as my first day in the office approached, I worried about every little detail. How would my kids adjust to daycare? Would I be able to keep up with technology that has changed considerably in the last 5 years? What would I do with all the yoga pants I wore when I was an at-home mom? I barely even owned real pants anymore! Still, there were things I looked forward to like talking to other adults and using skills from my college degree.
I’ve been at my job for a few months now and here are 4 truths I’ve learned about going back to work after being a stay at home mom.
#1 – You will feel like your schedule is totally bonkers.
My schedule was pretty relaxed during my time as a SAHM. Even as my kids grew older and started preschool, play group and music lessons, quite a bit of flexibility existed in our routine. The first day I went back to the workforce, I had to arrive at the office by 7:30 in the morning, and I felt like I was in some kind of alternate universe. I may never learn to be a true morning person, but I’ve learned a few tricks like laying out my boys’ clothes the night before, setting 3 alarms on my phone so I don’t oversleep, and drinking all of the coffee.
#2 – You will need to ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask your significant other or family members for help. As moms, we sometimes feel like we need to be responsible for every thing that goes in our home. Meal planning, PTO, birthday treats for 25 kids in the class, dropping the dog at the groomer, dentist appointments. The list goes on and on. Bless my in-laws for all of the help they offered while I was adjusting to my new work schedule. The extra babysitting and transportation for my 5 year old to and from swim lessons made our transition incredibly smooth.
#3 – You will worry about your kids.
One of my biggest fears about returning to work was that I was failing my kids or that they would have difficulty adjusting to the changes. Thankfully, this was not the case at all and both of my boys adjusted quickly to the change in routine. My toddler goes to daycare only a few miles from our house and loves his caregiver. I’m also able to drive my older son to school every day and pick him up after school. Talking about our new routine, allowing my kids to ask questions about our schedule and explaining when I will be back has helped to ease the separation. Even though my boys are well-adjusted, I know I’ll always worry about making the right decisions for my family; that’s part of being a mom!
#4 – It will get easier.
A big life change is never easy, but embrace the change and know that your children and family can still be a priority when you pursue a career.
What suggestions would you give a mom who is considering going back into the workforce?