Is This SAHM Ready to Go Back to Work? Yes, No, Maybe?

Is This SAHM Ready to Go Back to Work? Yes, No, Maybe? | Houston Moms BlogRemnants of Another Life

I’m not a hoarder. In fact, if there was a word for the opposite of hoarding, that would be me. I have fed stray homework sheets to the recycling bin, secretly culled the kids’ stuffed animal population, and passed on hand-me-downs one piece at a time because I did not want an unused item sitting in my house.

Yet if you had looked in my closet last year, in a dark corner at the very end of the rod where my dresses and blouses hang, you would have found a small section of office attire that I had not worn in almost a decade. Over the years, I had slowly condensed the amount of rod space housing these relics. Last summer when I finally realized that I was losing too much valuable real estate, I packed up what was left and happily donated it. However, I could not help but keep a couple pieces as souvenirs from a past existence.

Now that my youngest is potty-trained and officially no longer a baby, I sometimes daydream about the possibilities of a new season emerging.

Do I Really Want to Return to Work?

Some moms need to contribute financially, in which case the answer for them is easy. But if that is not the first priority, then why am I thinking about it? Am I looking for a certain kind of fulfillment that has been elusive during this season? Am I hoping to keep my professional skills sharp? Or put my skills to use in a different way? Maybe I’m seeking validation that I’m intelligent and my time is valuable. Or maybe I want the extra money. {Has anyone checked out Disney World prices lately? Ouch!} 

After some honest reflection, some moms will come to the conclusion that they are not looking for a return to work after all. The restlessness could be a sign that something else in their life needs to change :: Better self-care, finding a different community, pursuing new interests more seriously, or volunteering could be the answer.

When I contemplate my own reasons for even thinking about it, I find the dreaded FOMO {Fear of Missing Out} comes into play. The corporate world marches on without me. I’m watching innovation, progress, and emerging technologies from the sidelines instead of being a part of it. And let’s be real, I would also welcome the extra money. {Good hair is not free, ya’ll!} 

Assessing the Current Situation

Even though the idea of putting on some heels and using industry lingo inspires positive vibes that can only be described as “Feeling Important”, I won’t realistically be able to commit to a full-time job. I arrived at this conclusion by going through the following exercise to help me figure out how much time I would be willing to devote to work.

1) Count up the hours necessary to do all the things that make my household run. This includes all the chores, dropping off/picking up kids, chauffeuring to extracurricular activities, errands, groceries, etc.

2) Count up the time I use for volunteer work or leisurely pursuits. Are there things I am willing to give up to create more hours for work? {Note :: Self-care should always be scheduled in!}

3) What strategies am I willing to employ to free up even more time? Do I want to use meal planning services? Carpool? After-school care? Grocery delivery services?

Some people do the time assessment exercise and might come out with 40 hours a week. I came out at much, much less. There’s too much I don’t want to give up yet :: car ride time with the kids {lots of stuff gets shared here!}, a certain volunteer position, and the ability to freely putz around the clearance section of Target.  The whole family would have to feel good about the decision too because it’s a challenge to balance it all. 

What Kind of Work?

This part gets tricky if you can’t or don’t want to go back to your former profession. It also gets tricky if you did the above exercise and are coming out at about 42 seconds available to work per week. I haven’t started the process of looking yet, but I expect it will include lots of self-reflection, asking friends for feedback, updating my LinkedIn, scouring social media, doing internet searches, and networking. Living in a big city like Houston should mean that there are more opportunities in general, and potentially more options for non-traditional types of work such as part-time, freelance, job shares, and the like for someone in my position.

How to Address the Gap

Although I’ve been a SAHM for eight years, my resume really has no gap. How? I list any freelance work I have done and I thoughtfully include volunteer work, committee positions, and leadership roles. I’ve been serving on MOPS leadership in one capacity or another over the years and there are many skills that I have exercised, learned, and/or honed in those positions. Many of my friends have served as room or den moms, sports coaches and more. And there is of course, Motherhood—SO MANY SKILLS are being used here! {Curator of “art”, personal shopper and stylist for small people, party planner, etc.} Even if we can’t exactly add all these things to our resumes, I think moms should not discount the roles we play in our communities as part of “the gap” conversation.

So What Now?

Although I’m not sure FOMO is a good reason to upend our lives, I remain open to the idea of returning to work in some capacity for the right opportunity. I love being available for my family and I am thoroughly enjoying this season, but every time I meet a fellow SAHM who is contemplating a return to work or already has, I think about the lonely pieces in my closet and wonder when, if ever, they’ll see the light of day again.

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2 Responses to Is This SAHM Ready to Go Back to Work? Yes, No, Maybe?

  1. Kinsey
    Kinsey April 24, 2018 at 8:42 am #

    Love this Vicky!! I feel the exact same way – feeling restless but not ready to fully jump back into work.

    • Vicky
      Vicky April 25, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

      I’m glad you liked it! Yes, the restlessness. When the kids were really young, there was barely any time to be restless. But seasons change… If anyone is interested in a career coach I have the name of a good one. (They can help with sorting out some of the issues surrounding career choices.)

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