How can a Woman kickstart her career again after Maternity Break?

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It is a hard fact that women through the journey of marriage and motherhood have to bear the brunt of a major part of household responsibilities and family expectations. Practically speaking, in most cases, a mother cannot have best of both the worlds, a great full-fledged career working at least 12 hours AND at the same time be a great parent devoting ample personal time to the child too. But in today’s times, a woman need not totally give up her career either. Those extended maternity breaks need not turn them into full blown stay-at-home moms.  If a woman perseveres, she can find a middle way out.

 

Why it is easier for a woman to resume her career today?

Times are different today with opportunities galore. Firstly, the number of educated women is higher today compared to the earlier generation. There are many organisations in present times who offer flexi time jobs to women. There are specific job portals targeting only women and helping them resume their careers. (Sheroes, Jobforher)

Further, there is infinite amount of information today available on the internet which was not there earlier. This has also led to ample business and networking opportunities available through various social media platforms. There are various courses available on the internet to update professional skills. These factors are enablers which can help women to kickstart their careers again.

As a mother, how to fill in the gap during your Career Break?

During your sabbatical, do not fall into the rut of your motherhood routine. Start planning your break. Assess your options. The idea is not to earn big money but have some element of continuity in your work. Motherhood journey is a roller coaster ride with its own share of frustrations. Thanks to your work, you will stay active and also happily devote time to your child.

If you share a good equation with your boss/seniors at work and they recognise your ability to perform, try negotiating for flexi work timings. If the nature of your work permits, try to convince them that you can deliver work from home too. Creating a niche position for yourself at corporate work in your organisation always helps.

Another way to stay in the groove is to take up freelance work. The nature of certain jobs like consulting in IT, finance and creative fields allow women to work from home. The idea here is have some element of continuity in your work and also devote adequate time to your child in his/her crucial growing up years.

Even if you are not able to find a work from home option, you can utilise the break period to upgrade your skills/knowledge in your related field in this dynamic job market. Read a lot related to your field through blogs and discussion forums, do your research, take online courses, if needed and keep learning. Staying updated related to your field of work will help you a lot when you go job-hunting again.

Freeing from corporate bondage:

The initial motherhood journey could also be the time to rethink your career interests and discover your passion. Assess what you are good at and if you have some unique ideas on mind. Evaluate if it is possible to convert the same into a full-fledged business and be your own boss. You can at least do your research and lay the background for your entrepreneurship until you take the full plunge. Right from making customised candles, soaps, jewellery to baking, catering, travel agency, blogging, etc, the opportunities are endless in this digital world to promote your venture and make your presence felt. Ensure that your offering, be it a product/service has a unique element to it.

How many years before you take the plunge again?
You need to be careful that your break doesn’t end up in a career ending gap. That is the reason you need to persist finding part time work and you have something to show when you resume.

The initial parenting time frame will depend upon individual to individual and their personal situation. There is no thumb rule for that. It could be 2 or 3 or even 5 years for some.

In my personal opinion, if you have to sacrifice some years of career, it can be 5 years at the most. Why I say five years is because these are the formative years of a child. It is the golden period to lay the foundation for your child – be it instilling good eating habits, hygiene care or discipline, or making them independent in their daily routine. Also, as their schooling hours increase after 5, you will get a good amount of me-time to pursue your work.

A win-win situation:

I am a part time working mom, financial advisor/planner by profession. Initially it was difficult to adapt to the new work arrangement and pinched that I was missing out on the action in the corporate world. But when I look at my daughter now after 5 years and the time I could give her, I am happy and contented with the way she has grown up. Over these years, it has given me a new confidence that I can manage anything and everything. I love my work and it has kept me sane all these years. This also had a positive impact on my daughter as she has constantly seen me work, multitask, delegate and manage a lot of things at a time. I realise now that a happy mother will always raise a happy child. I have accumulated a decent amount of savings over these years and am gradually planning to start on my own.

Let me tell you that it will not be easy. Persevere and be mentally prepared. Plan your break properly and be flexible. Working from home is different from working in office at a stretch.  There will be rainy days as not all days may turn out to be productive. Do not let your break extend indefinitely. Network well during the break and stay in touch with your old work colleagues. Take up small assignments to show continuity. You need not choose either your career or your child, you can choose both. It is ok not being great at both, but being good is good enough.

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