Heading back into the workforce after maternity leave or years as a stay-at-home mom is scary and exciting. Leaving your new baby for the first time in the care of another is overwhelming, but sometimes necessary for your family.
Here are nine tips moms need to know before reentering the workforce:
1. Update professional résumé
Going back to work with a hole in your résumé is intimidating. While the time you spent in mom mode should be noted, Jen Lawrence cautions against referring to that timeframe with any cutesy labels like "Family CEO" or "Domestic Engineer."
Don't waste résumé space attempting to market motherhood skills. Employers are often doing the same thing in their own home, and they won't be impressed. If it's been a long time since you've been in the job field, your professional skills may need updating. Renew any expired certification or training.
Though employers will request your résumé or scan your LinkedIn page when vetting your skills, they're likely to hear about you through networking contacts.
If you need to start from square one again, don't be discouraged. Professional networking events and job fairs are great places to start. Also, take advice from former interns who landed full-time jobs to help you network.
3. Hire help
Whether you need a house cleaner, meal preparer, nanny or all the above, mothers shouldn't feel ashamed to ask for help.
If your job keeps you longer than your children are in school or your children are still young, a nanny will be a critical family partner. To hire a great nanny, follow these tips:
Ask for recommendations
Poll friends, neighbors and even your pediatrician. Even if they don't have someone available, they can help get the word out.
Use a nanny job site
Many excellent fee-based nanny job listing sites can help you find nannies that meet your qualifications.
Personally meet your nanny before hiring them and prepare a list of interview questions. Bring your children with you to gauge how they interact with their potential nanny.
Plan lots of time
It will take you weeks to find and interview the perfect care provider. Start the process at least a month or two before you start your job.
4. Communicate with your kids
Let your children know from the start that you are entering the workforce. Explain who will be taking care of them when you're gone, and listen to any fears they may have.
After you start working, check in with the kids during your breaks. Prepare to answer any emergency phone calls or texts from your nanny throughout the workday as well.
5. Talk to management
After you've landed the job, talk to your boss and HR about your needs as a working parent. Discussion points should include workload, responsibilities and mothering necessities (like a private space to pump if you're breastfeeding).
Set up an internal meeting with your boss a few weeks after starting to let them know how you're doing. Give your boss confidence that you're dedicated to your job.
6. Maintain organization
It will be harder to run your household when your time is stretched between work and home. Use schedules, as babies and children truly thrive off consistency. Keep the same routine for mealtime and naps to help your kids adjust.
7. Make a practice run
Make sure your nanny has everything they need keep your kids safe and happy. A few days before you start work, schedule a practice run where you leave your kids at home with the nanny for a few hours. Here are a few things you'll need to prepare:
Plan your children's daily schedule and either text it to the nanny or write it down.
Decide how much money to leave the nanny if they need to run errands for you or make an emergency grocery store trip.
Make sure the car has enough gas and install the correct car seats based on your kids' age, weight and height.
Choose trustworthy family members, friends and neighbors you can call at a moment's notice to help in an emergency. Discuss with your employers last-minute options to work from home on days your nanny or children are sick.
9. Minimize stress
Balancing work and home life is stressful for parents. Incorporate some critical "me time" into your schedule. Your own mental health is just as important as anything else.
For more inspiration before you start working again, check out this advice from parents who have been there. While it's difficult to leave your kids, don't let mom guilt take over. The transition to work gets easier every day.
Sage is a freelance writer with a passion for literature and words. She's written for a variety of audiences ranging from government sites to lifestyle magazines. In her free time, she enjoys wedding planning, training for marathons and re-reading Harry Potter books. . Sage is currently employed as a safety expert and loves teaching people how to make their home and community safer.