Going Back to Work After Raising Your Kids


Aren't they just adorable?! They're your babies. You took a break from your career to raise them, only they're not babies anymore. Somewhere along the line, they grew up. Now you're thinking it may be time to break back into the workforce.

But with the passing years your professional confidence may be a little shaken. Are you wondering, "How has the working world changed? Will they welcome me? Can I handle it?" Take heart. Here are a few tips to help you dive back in and be a break out success!

You don't have to break your neck!

Taking that first step can be difficult. Della de Lafuente, deputy editor of Working Mother magazine suggests if you've been home for a few years and want to go back but don't know if you're ready for everything that comes with a career -- long hours, office politics and stress -- then maybe it's time to simply get a "job."

Break the mold.

You don't have to come back to the same old job you had before you left the work world. Maybe you can parlay a life long hobby or skills you developed while on maternity leave into a new opportunity. "Use the break in your career to rethink things and think about your long-deferred dream job," de Lafuente says. "Maybe this is the break you've been looking for to start your own business."

Make the break, but stay connected.

If you haven't kept in touch with former co-workers, now's the time to reconnect. De Lafuente's advice? Network, network, network. Not only are former colleagues great sources for employment opportunities, they also can serve as needed references when it comes time to interview.

Keep up with breaking news.

De Lafuente suggests maintaining subscriptions to trade journals and newsletters, as well as memberships in professional associations so you're up to speed on the newest products, competitors and laws affecting your industry.

Give someone else a break.

Volunteering can help keep your skills fresh. Could a local community organization use your talents? This is a great way to dust off the cobwebs and make new contacts while helping others in need.

Break into it slowly.

Another option de Lafuente suggests is part-time work. What better way to test the workforce waters than to dip your toe into the part-time pool.

Break it to them gently.

Not sure how your kids and spouse will react? "Show them the advantages of mommy going back to work while preparing them for the realities," de Lafuente advises.

Break open the books.

To make a successful transition, you'll need to do your homework. De Lafuente advises keeping up with the latest technology trends by enrolling in courses at a local college or park district. You may even find online courses to bring you up to speed.

Don't break the rules of style.

If it's been some time since you worked outside the home, you probably need a wardrobe update. For the scoop on the latest fashion dos and don'ts at work, de Lafuente suggests checking out the career sections of women's magazines, such as Working Mother magazine's regular feature, "Stylish Mom."

Around the breakroom.

For the nitty-gritty details of the daily grind, de Lafuente says read "the business sections of your local newspapers and the financial journals for stories on workplace etiquette and other work/life trends." This will help you catch up on today's workplace culture.

If you're still feeling a bit nervous about stepping back into the work world, there are many support groups to help you. De Lafuente says Working Mother Media's National Association for Female Executives is just one organization that provides education, networking and advocacy to assist women reentering the job market. Check your local listings for an organization near you.

Next: Part-Time Jobs You Can Do From Home >>

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