How Moms Re-entering the Work Force Can Find the Job of Their Dreams

Michele Warg
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If you are one of the many women in the U.S. thinking about returning to the workforce after taking time out to start a family, you might feel a bit lost. Technology has changed, your field may have shifted, and your priorities may be different now that you have little ones at home. The corporate job that excited you before having kids, for example, might appear too demanding. How do you sort it all out? Many women are working on it. It used to be once you were a stay-at-home-mom you would likely always be one. But more and more modern moms choose to return to work after taking time off to have children. The path from mommy hood back to work is different for every woman and can sometime be hard to navigate. The good news is you don’t have to do it all at once. Returning to the workforce can be broken into small, manageable steps. Just because you’ve decided to go back to work doesn’t mean it needs to happen tomorrow. Break the process down and get started! Research -- What type of work are you interested in? Do you want to go back to your old job? If so, are there any skills you need to brush up on before going back? If you want to do something drastically different, what is it? If you used to work for a bank, but now you want to start a dog daycare, for example, take a close look at how the work will affect your day-to-day life. Evaluate what kind of a lifestyle this new work would offer and how much you could expect to make. Find a mentor -- Nothing can help prepare you for returning to work like an enthusiastic mentor. They’ve already had success in the job you’re looking into and can warn you of the pitfalls as well as encourage you. Test It Out -- Consider taking the time to test-drive your dream job. Spending a few days with a mentor, observing their work, will teach you volumes about whether this is the right path for you. Listen to your gut. If actually doing the work makes you realize it wouldn’t be a practical job with young kids at home, better to know that now then after leaping into the career in real life. Ask yourself, what did I love about this job? What did I not like? What surprised me the most? Could I do this job day in, day out? Create an action plan -- Now that you know what you need to do, set out incremental steps you need to take. Should you go back to school or get certified in a field? If you are starting your own business, do you need to get a loan or find space to rent? Establish a network of supporters, including your mentor, and rely on them for encouragement. Involve your family -- Going back to work will be a big change for your spouse and your children. Be sure they feel included in this process and let them know their support is important to you. If your spouse or kids have reservations about you returning to work, talk through the fears and try to address them specifically. If your children are afraid they won’t have any quality time with you, for example, agree on a sacred time like bedtime or Saturday mornings that you’ll always be available to them. Returning to work after spending years raising children holds many unknowns. Are you ready to return to work? What kind of work will be the right fit for raising kids? How will the family react? These questions and more can be answered with good research, the guidance of a good mentor and the real-life experience of test-driving your dream job. © 2008 Brian Kurth Author Brian Kurth is the founder of VocationVacations and the author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job. Kurth is a sought-after expert on how to pursue and attain one’s dream job. He has shared his wit and wisdom in appearances on NBC’s TODAY Show, CNN, and FOX News, and has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine. Many more regularly turn to Brian for his comments, advice and insights. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Kurth lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information on VocationVacations, visit

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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the great comments. It's so nice to hear from moms out there who understand the tough choices that women face. Even taking a couple years away from the workplace to raise children can do irreparable harm to a career. Women used to want to "have it all", but now, more and more women just want to find a balance between earning money, being fulfilled and raising their children.
  • Janess
    That saves me. Thanks for being so sensible!
  • Rose at for the dogs, nh
    Rose at for the dogs, nh
    I can sympathize with the women who are trying to land their dream job outside of motherhood. After being a clinical social worker for over twenty years, then having twin children, I share firsthand that the most rewarding career for me has been "mother."  To make extra money, I started a dog walking and dog daycare in Hampton, NH.  I have never been happier.  Follow your dreams and the job will come.
  • Stay at home or return to work
    I have always thought that it is the woman's choice if they are going to return to work or stay home.  She should not be down on no matter what choice is made.
  • Gina G.r
    Gina G.r
    I can relate to all other mothers who want to work yet on the other hand they have kids to look after.  It is not easy for us moms  setting aside our dreams to find job and earn money of our own  but defnitely understand this is what we chose in the frist place.  We then sacrifice our own personal necessities to fill up the needs of our love ones and thats what a wife and a mother myself think about everyday.  Every mom out there...GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!

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