Amazingly, I have been at home with my children for nine years. I never set out to stay at home with them this long. I was pregnant with my second child while still on maternity leave with my first (born 19 months apart) so knew I would stay home at least 2-3 years. Then we decided to move interstate so I waited to settle in. When we arrived in Brisbane I was expecting Alice to start preschool only to discover the cut-off for school is different than in Sydney and she could only get a space if all eligible children were taken care of. That did not happen thanks to wait-lists galore. The same wait-lists I found still existed for daycare. At that point I resolved to look for work when she started school and her sister would be in preschool part time. Still no daycare locally so I settled for acceptance of the situation until everyone was at school.
Once they both were in school (2010) I decided to enjoy some long awaited me-time to find myself again. Seven years at home and the big question asked of me now by my youngest was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Indeed that was the same question I was asking myself. I would not be returning to any previous career. I still wanted to be around for my children since I had learned there never was a “good time” to not be there. First they were so little, then they were real people I could hang out with and enjoy, in the future they will be teens in desperate need of a good listener and lots of love and support. There never will be a time I am not needed really, but the time has come for me to earn some cash and lighten the load for my husband.
It seems so many of the women I know are going through this same process right now. Where we once talked about teething remedies and kids not sleeping through the night, we now talk about study, job interviews, back up daycare and whether a job was good enough to be worth putting our kids into before or after school care.
I have loved the last year as I attended my business class, started my blog, launched the 30 day self care blueprint course, the 52 week challenge and wrote 229 posts (and counting). I don’t plan on stopping any of that in the near future. We have plans to run the ecourse again in October as it was such a huge success beyond our imagination. I have been offered a writing opportunity that I am currently considering. So much to look forward to.
(Don’t you know there is always a but.)
I have been at home for nine years and my husband works so hard. A while into my me-time when my youngest started full time school I was terrified of going back to work. It had been too long. I had no idea how to find a job I would love and fit into home life. Would I remember how to be in an office? Was I too old – I might work for someone much younger than me who has yet to stop and have children. It was safer to start my own business, set my own hours, hide away in a world I could control (or thought I could).
What this last year has done for me is given me back my confidence.
I have learned so many new things (like I will have to do in the work place).
I have networked, attended a conference, written, created and been validated.
I have dreamed and changed and considered and ruled out. Sometimes ruling out things is as valuable as making a big decision in favour of something.
So I recently decided with my husband that I would enjoy this time a little longer, follow opportunities I want to pursue and balance it all with time with my beautiful girls.
(It’s a little different than a but.)
And then I will look for work in February after the next school year starts.
The difference now is I am not afraid. I can now see myself in my mind’s eye and I am kicking ass in the working world. I know I have things to do still in this life – some will be via this space and some will be in a new arena. I have not decided yet what I will pursue, but I am in that dreaming and figuring out stage and enjoying that for a little while longer.
I look forward to taking some pressure off my husband, building back up our savings and maybe being able to dream a little bigger for the future.
As I don’t do things half assed I decided a month or so ago to create a blog series for all the mothers who will be returning to work or who are at home right now and know that day may come for them too.
Starting next week I will have posts about everything from CVs, interview questions, what to wear, what routes can you take to getting a job, what you should do while still on leave / at home, what is it like returning to work, how do you manage, and more. I have interviewed an HR manager and a private HR consultant who writes resumes, preps people for interviews and helps with addressing selection criteria. I have guest posts including a diary of one woman’s first week returning to work.
I hope you will join me here next week for the first post which will be from Allison Tait and include a giveaway of the book Career Mums she co-wrote with Kate Sykes (3 copies). Subscribe to the blog (by email or rss feed) or join the blog facebook page if you don’t want to miss a single post in this series.
I would love one more guest post if anyone is interested in writing about their actual job search when they returned to work. Email me if you would like to be involved.
If you have any questions to ask or advice to offer mothers returning to work I would love you to share them in the comments.
Find your simple,
Return to work series:
Getting started - with Allison Tait (and giveaway of Career Mums book which ends July 19)
While on leave - career breaks
On Flexibility - temp jobs, flexible hours etc
Linking up with Jess for