Motherhood 101: Rejoining the Workforce with a Bang

A few days ago, I received a call from a close friend who was crying. She had applied for a position and was rejected after the third stage of the interview – just because she had kids. This wasn’t my first time hearing something like this as I had been in this situation after having my baby. 

Hearing this story inspired me to share a few nuggets of wisdom with my fellow Motherland Moguls and to discuss how mothers can re-enter the workforce. 

The Truth

If you came across an ad with the JD of a mom, it would be impossible to fill. It’s endless!  For those who have experienced and survived motherhood, you know that being a mom is one of the most trying times of a woman’s life – but it is also one of the greatest learning experiences ever!

The invaluable skills and lessons learnt through motherhood aren’t recognized in the corporate world as they should be. From being excellent role models to excellent managers, team players, great multitaskers, economical, responsible, and dedicated. Honestly, companies won’t find great employees like mothers.

Positive Traits Mothers Bring to Work

If you’ve taken time off from work to raise your kids, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I write this to you because I’ve often had to repeat it to myself and other women. 

After staying at home, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t rejoin the workforce with a great job. During your time spent caring for your children, you will have learnt many traits that you can apply to your work and interviews.

Firstly, mothers are excellent multitaskers who are always doing everything at once. The fact that they can juggle many tasks at once suggests that they could be efficient employees who could handle many projects. Their scheduling and planning skills also mean that mothers could be great time managers.

After dealing with fussy and stubborn kids, mother’s not only develop great patience, but they turn ugly situations into beautiful ones. This motherly nature makes them very approachable which is important as an employee. Also, their ability to deal with high pressure and still thrives ensures that if faced with challenges, mothers can effectively deal with a crisis.

Addressing the Gap on your Resume

One thing many mothers struggle with is talking about the gap on your resume. While you know why the gap is there, many employers will want to question you about it. The first thing you need to do is own up. You can do this through explaining how you’ve grown during this period.

Secondly, you need to show that despite not working for a while, you are more than ready to get back to work. By proving that you have planned your move with things such as a childcare plan in place, you make employers feel more comfortable when hiring you.

Another risk with not working for long is that hiring managers may worry your skills are outdated. To avoid this situation, you can try and take online training courses to update your professional/technical skills. This not only shows initiative, but it highlights your adaptability.

Finally, it is important to know your value and find employers who welcome your stay-at-home experience. Personally, as stay-at-mom, slash writer and proofreader, I’ve learnt to embrace this part of my life. In turn, those around me have learnt to respect it to.

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Confessions of a Career Loving Mum

I am a wife and mum to three amazing children, a girl who just turned six and a set of twins who are 3 years 6 months. Beyond that, I am also a marketer for a multinational company. My job involves a lot of travel that takes me away from my family a lot of times.

About two years ago, I accepted a work assignment that moved us to another country, away from our extended family and support structure. While I love my family and I am fully cognizant of the fact that I am the only mother my children have, the truth is, I also love my career!

Many women in my position struggle trying to balance their love for these two things. In this article, you’ll find some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years as a working mum.


Be kind to yourself

As mothers, we often have the tendency to judge ourselves based on what our children can or cannot do. I remember, when my twins were younger, I once overheard a mother speaking of how her 10-month-old baby was already potty trained and slept throughout the night.

At the time, my twins who were near twice that age were not potty trained and barely slept throughout a whole night. For a moment, I felt that I was not doing something right – maybe if I spent more time with them it would be different.

Then it occurred to me that I am not in competition with anyone and neither are my children. With patience and at their own pace, my kids would soon figure out how to use the potty and sleep through the night. Most importantly, I needed to be kind to myself.


Use the right words

Having often heard words such as “full-time mom” being, I have always wondered what it really meant. Did it make me a “part-time mom” because I was away working for eight hours?

The truth is, despite being a mum who goes to work, I am also still a full-time mother to my children. Yes, I don’t spend the majority of my days with them, however, I still fully embrace my full-time motherhood responsibilities just as I do in my career.


Block the naysayers

My first business trip was when my twins were four months old. Luckily enough for me, my mother came and looked after my twins for the four nights I was away. However, when I got back, one not so gentle colleague cornered me and asked me what kind of mother I was to go away and leave such young kids.

This experience and many others taught me early on to learn to block such people. I had a conscious choice to be both a mother and to continue work. Therefore, I knew what I was doing and wouldn’t let others judge me for my choices.


It’s okay to ask for help

People and society, in general, will always have opinions of what you “should” do and should not do when it comes to your children. You should do X by yourself when it comes to your children you should do Y and not the nanny.

There was a time when I would do everything that needed to be done for my children by myself. Not only was this not sustainable, but I soon realized that I was no superwoman and had to learn to ask for help and accept it when it was offered.

Don’t give in to pressures that say you have to do everything – it’s okay to ask for help.


Build a network with other working moms

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that you are the only going through what you are going through. Personally, talking with other working moms helped me realize that I was not the only one going through stuff.

Getting together and sharing what we were going through as working mothers truly helped. We were able to share notes on how we were handling certain situations.

Inspired by this, I created the Mum’s in Stilettos community where through social media and the blog, working mum’s come together to share their lessons. Such platforms encourage you that you are not alone and that you can manage being a working mother successfully.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.