Becoming a mom was for me perhaps the greatest transition of my adult life. Everything about my day-to-day experience changed when my first son was born, and I had to learn to adjust to my new reality. From my marriage, to friendships, familial relationships, my free-time, and especially my relationship to my career transformed when I entered motherhood. Navigating my new normal took time, patience and understanding.
For many women, one of the biggest changes that comes with becoming a mother is choosing to leave the workforce. For those of us who have been working for years and/or spent a considerable amount of time pursuing degrees through higher education, this can be a major change that requires a new way of looking at our place in the world. For moms who then choose to re-enter the workforce at some point, whether part-time or full-time, adapting to their new role as working moms can require the same paradigm shift. At Pace Success Coaching, we work with women at different points of personal and professional transition, and we hear time and time again that making changes professionally can be exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically.
Yes, transitions can be difficult, but if you consider just a few important things before you make the leap, you can guarantee that the journey will be less stressful and more enjoyable for you and your family:
- Get clear on your why.
The first step you MUST take before you begin your transition to “working mom” is to get clear about why you are doing this in the first place. What is your motivation? To contribute to your family’s income? To find fulfillment outside of the home? To reach a professional goal you set for yourself a long time ago? Not only does getting clear on your purpose help you to make better choices, but when times get hard, as they inevitably will, it really helps to go back to your why so you can focus on the reason you are making this change in the first place.
- Do your homework.
If you have been out of the workforce for any period of time, it is a given that things have changed in your line of work. Don’t assume that what is available to you or possible for you now is the same as when you left; new avenues and opportunities in your field may have opened up, or skills you need may have changed. Make a date to have lunch with an old colleague, read the latest industry blog or magazine, or investigate occupational sites like LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr, etc. Get informed about what is happening in your industry so you can make the right choice for you!
- Remember, capacity is a state of mind.
When you first think about going back to work, it can be overwhelming to imagine doing all you do in a day and taking on a part-time or full-time job. Reciting this mantra can help calm the anxiety. What you do every day and how you do it will change, but it’s amazing how you can maximize your time when you change your perspective. How? Start by calendaring your priorities in advance, cutting back on common time-wasters (like pointless television or surfing social media) and begin delegating responsibilities!
- Get ready to practice forgiveness.
Transitioning back into the workforce means change for your family and your lifestyle. There will be conflict. Your children and spouse will feel the impact, just as you do. None of you will be perfect, and it’s important that you practice forgiveness, for yourself as well, as you navigate this change. When you lose your patience or forget to do something, you can either beat yourself up about it or accept that any change is hard and you are bound to screw up once in while. Be gentle with yourself through the process, learn from your mistakes, and when you can’t do it all, accept that that is okay!
- Ask, ask, ask!
Moms are super human – we all know this. But we all need help once in a while to keep the machine running. When you return to work, and you are attempting to juggle it all, it’s OKAY to ask for help when you need it. Ask your spouse to contribute something that has been your job in the past. Ask a family member to watch your children so you can focus on yourself for an afternoon. Whatever it may be, if you need it, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Remember, it’s a sign of strength to recognize your limitations and take the appropriate steps to address them before they result in an all-out meltdown.
Whether you are working or not, research has shown time and time again that happy moms make happy kids. At Pace Success Coaching, we work with moms in all stages of transition, and we know that following some simple steps can not only ensure a smoother transition for you, but it will also ensure that your time back in the workforce is enjoyable and not an added stress on you and your family.
Visit www.pacesuccesscoaching.com to learn more about how we coach, mentor and train women to navigate important transitions!