Women and the SAHM Conundrum

Women and the SAHM Conundrum

Kids cost. Kids cost money. They cost time. They even cost sanity at times. But have you ever wondered if they'll cost you a career? Unfortunately, in our culture, that could be the case; but it doesn't have to be. Let's take a look at how staying home to raise your children could potentially leave you out of a career path. Then we'll take a look at some great ways you can combat this difficulty.

Why Staying Home Could Leave You Staying Behind

For so many reasons, staying home to raise the kids is a wonderful option. You save money on daycare and on the costs associated with maintaining a second income. You're available for your children whenever they may need you, able to bandage and kiss scraped knees and heal broken hearts. Unfortunately, leaving the workforce for "x" amount of years can leave a gap in your resume that may not be appealing to potential employers when you want to re-enter your career path later.

Often, when you wish to re-enter a field five or ten years after your last bout in the industry, you may face changes in your career field that could leave you at a disadvantage on the learning curve. Basically, you could have to re-learn your former job, and many employers may not want to re-train you.

In addition, the professional connections made prior to leaving your past position may have dried up. That boss who would have recommended you could have moved on without forwarding information, or a former co-worker may decide that she no longer knows you well enough to recommend you five years down the road.

Planning for a Return

All this news may seem terribly depressing at first glance, but it doesn't have to be so difficult to re-enter the workforce after staying home for a while. There are a couple ways to help ensure you can return successfully. Let's take a look at a few:

  • Take Classes: One of the best ways to make sure that you stay on top of your industry changes is to take continuing education courses or attend seminars that give you credit. You could even work ahead and obtain an advanced degree, if time and finances allow.
  • Stay in Contact: People come and go from each other's lives all the time, so if you want to maintain connections to potential references, you'll need to stay in contact. Call your references from time to time or drop in to take them out for lunch.
  • Create New References: Despite attempts to stay in contact with your references from your old job, it may also be necessary to create new references. Here, befriending people in your line of work can be beneficial. If there is a networking group for your field, attending those meetings is a great way to connect.
  • Volunteer or Obtain a Part-Time Gig: If you are able to volunteer or work part-time outside of your mommy job, both are excellent ways to keep gaps in your resume from appearing too large. Bonus if you're able to work part-time in your industry of choice.

These tips are a great start, but sometimes they can't quite get you there; even if you are able to maintain perfection in classes, networking and job history, you might have to re-enter the industry slowly. Starting out as an assistant may not be quite what you wished for, but getting your foot in the door is priceless. Especially once you blow them all away with your expertise!

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AverageJoe's picture

AverageJoe wrote:

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 17:49 Comment #: 1

Great tips, and not just for moms anymore. Three of my best friends are dads who chose to stay at home and are planning to re-enter the workforce in the future. This is for them, too.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 17:38 Comment #: 2

Very true, AverageJoe! Dads can stay at home too and face the same challenges.

femmefrugalitly's picture

femmefrugalitly wrote:

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 01:07 Comment #: 3

Wow, this is a really upbeat post on a really tough topic. Really great tips, and I appreciate the positivity. Usually you see an argument for or against or lamentations of having to make the choice at all....real, viable solutions.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 16:13 Comment #: 4

Thanks, FemmeFrugality! It is possible to have the best of both worlds!