What’s Next? Assessing Your Career Post-Baby
By Michelle Kruse
Having a child changes your life in a major way. And while many women will return to their current job following maternity leave, others may decide to seek a career that fits better with their new lifestyle. Between flexible hours and childcare options, a number of new factors come into play after adding a new member to your family.
Navigating this new reality can certainly be a challenge for moms, but it’s worth the obstacles if it means providing a better life for your family. If you’re unsure whether you should stay put or find something new, consider these five questions that might help you make a decision.
What can — and can’t — you afford to do? You may dream of staying home full-time or cutting back on your hours, or your new responsibilities may have you feeling anxious for a raise. Think about what a new family member really means for your finances, and consider that an important part of your decision-making process.
How much time are you expected to spend in the office? If you regularly worked 60-hour weeks pre-baby, it may be difficult to transition to a more moderate schedule when you return from maternity leave. And no matter how much of a workaholic you are, 60-hour weeks simply won’t work if you have any plans to see your child. On the other hand, if your superiors have been consistently flexible with your schedule, allowing you to work remotely on occasion and leave early every now and then, it could be a much better situation for your new life.
What are your plans for childcare? Some women are luckier than others when it comes to childcare options — their husbands work from home or they have family living nearby. Others have to think about the considerable expense of various childcare options. Jobs that offer childcare are highly sought after by moms, while others may just be happy to have a daycare center on the way home from work. Whatever your childcare plans are, consider what your current job offers and what you might realistically find elsewhere.
How many of your coworkers have kids? If you’re one of the first of your coworkers to have children, you may have a tough time finding allies on those days when you have to leave early for a doctor’s appointment or stay at home with a sick baby. When management and other employees have been through the challenges of parenthood themselves, they’re more likely to be sympathetic about its challenges.
Have your career aspirations changed? A major milestone like parenthood has a tendency to change a person’s way of thinking. Use this opportunity to reassess the career goals you made when you first started working, and figure out if that’s still the direction you see yourself moving today. If it is, your challenge is to simply figure out how to stay on that track while balancing the challenges of being a mother. If you’ve started to crave something different, allow yourself the freedom to explore those possibilities.
Are you letting guilt guide your decision? Too often, new mothers struggle with overpowering feelings of guilt. You may worry that, no matter how hard you try, you’re not doing right by your family or your career. Don’t allow these guilty feelings to cloud your judgment. Try to set those worries aside and take a logical, sensible approach to making your decision.
Michelle Kruse recruits and hires resume writers and provides training and ongoing support at ResumeEdge.