This article is the first Q&A in the Back to Work Moms new series. This series includes tips and intervews with human resources experts, resume experts, and successful moms with stories that inspire as well as taking a look at resources to help moms looking to dip their toes back in the workplace water or jump right back in. It’s for stay at home moms, work at home moms, moms who work part time and moms that have gone back to work full time.
Back to Work Moms: Nancy Range Anderson
Author of Job Search for Moms and President, Blackbird Learning Associates, LLC
Mom of Caitlin, 25 and Christian, 17
Examiner: Tell me your back to work story:
Nancy: I’ve had two careers, a corporate employee at a major pharmaceutical company for 21 years and a business owner for slightly over two years. I returned to work when my daughter was 17 months old. I was in the midst of a divorce and needed to return to work for the benefits and because I had to. We sold our home and my daughter and I moved to a location closer to my workplace. It was also near the daycare provider that we had selected. I stayed with this company for 21 years and during that time, married again and had another child, our son Christian.
Examiner: How old were your kids when you returned and why did you decide that was the right time?
Nancy: My daughter was 17 months and I had to return to work. With our son, I returned to work when he was 5 months old. I returned to work at this time because I genuinely missed it.
Examiner: Why did you decide to go back to work after being a full time Mommy?
Nancy: I love my children and really enjoy the time we spend together. When I was with them full time the days flew and I loved being with them all of the time. I did, however, miss working. I missed the creativity within my job, I missed the people I worked with, I missed the classes I designed and taught and I missed the day-to-day action.
Examiner: What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve faced getting your foot back in the door?
Nancy: The challenges I felt then were what most women feel today, lack of sleep, worry, guilt and then trying to complete all the tasks at home. I wanted to continue to exceed expectations of my job but sometimes I was overwhelmed.
Examiner: The most challenging thing about working full time at an office?
Nancy: Balance and the ability to turn it off once at home. I remember one time when I was in the middle of a huge project but it was also the day of my son’s kindergarten “Mother’s Tea” and my daughter’s eighth grade graduation practice. I was able to leave work to attend the tea and take a quick peek at the graduation practice. To my horror, my daughter’s graduation gown was a bundle of wrinkles. All the other student’s gowns were freshly pressed. I had forgotten to iron the gown. I returned to work and to the project but remember crying in the car on the trip back to the office. I felt overwhelmed and questioned if I was doing the right thing. Another challenge is being prepared for the sick days. A back up plan is a must.
Examiner: The most rewarding thing about returning to work?
Nancy: Pride in my work. My long standing position was eliminated a little over two years ago. In the time since then, I attended a training to learn how to run a business, established an LLC, wrote a book and have a number of clients. My greatest reward is knowing that my family is very proud at what I have accomplished. My company teaches job search skills and my children have become my biggest sales persons and networkers. My son asks for job search help for himself and his friends and my daughter is constantly referring friends to my website and blog for job search tips.
Examiner: Tips for other parents to help mentally deal with the change of being a full time mom to going back to a workplace?
Nancy: Allow your kids some down time and don’t feel as if you have to schedule them into every activity. When you go to work full time your children will also have to adapt to the change. They will go to a care provider, school or have someone come into the house. Don’t feel as if you have to fill up all the time you have with them with activities. Schedule some down time with them to read, play games, and cook or to play outside. Also, get your spouse or significant other to share more of the load of childcare and household activities.
Examiner: Advice for helping kids deal with the change?
Nancy: Let them know what’s going on, schedule visits to day care, etc. constantly reassure them and depending on their ages, come up with fun activities to share the positive things about mom returning to work.
Examiner: Anything else you want to add?
Nancy: In my book, Job Search for Moms, I list many of the skills mom’s have that can be included on the resume. When planning to return to work, make sure to include all of your transferable skills on the resume. Those are the skills that mom’s have from outside activities such as committees, volunteer activities, and the leadership skills garnered as a mom. Also, don’t be afraid to list “Full Time Mother” on the resume to explain the gap in employment.
Stay tuned for many more stories in the Back to Work Moms series!
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