One in Three Mothers Wants a Job – The Recurrence of “Economoms”

According to a recent study (2012)  by Pew Research Center more women, who are stay-at-home moms, are feeling an increased need to return to the workforce; the study revealed that one-in-three wanted to work a full-time job.  That number is up from 2007, where it was one-in-five.  The economic impact is leading more women to want to contribute to the household as well as to use their skills and to make a difference in their chosen profession.

Back in 2009, when the economic downturn began, we started seeing more mothers wanting to return to the workforce to help out the household but they were unclear on how they could go about getting themselves prepared to return to work.  I did a feature (“Economoms”) on our local station, Channel 6 News, where I discussed transferable skills that mothers have which are valued by an employer.  Considering the results of this new study, I think it’s important to revisit this topic to give focus to any moms who are looking to return to the world of work.

One area that probably has not changed is in regards to emotions a mom might experience at the thought of leaving her children in the care of someone else, which can range from anger, resentment and guilt.  The plan may have been to stay home until the child(ren) are older and the thought of leaving them or missing milestones can create ill-feelings that need to be resolved prior to finding employment.

Another area that most likely has not changed is answering the question, “Who will hire me?”  Wondering what skills you have, particularly if it has been some time since you have worked, can leave one with fears and anxiety and in overwhelm at how to go about making the way back to the world of work.   The skills valued back in 2009 still remain and are ones that mothers excel at:  mature decision making, multitasking, organization, project management, patience, conflict management, compassion, empathy, and dependability.

Here are the tips from 2009 that can help with the recurrence of these “Economoms” – mothers who want/need to return to the workforce:

1.  Be confident – recognize and acknowledge your parenting skills and how they translate to the workplace

2.  Know what you want to do – decide on the career path you want to go, i.e. back to your former industry or a new one; narrowing your focus and how it will fit into your lifestyle will make it easier to find a job that interests you

3.  Identify your skills, both past and present, and compare them as you look to how they will enhance and add value to an organization.

4. Update your resume – don’t be deterred by gaps in your employment but be sure to highlight your qualifications and experiences, including volunteer work (like at your kid’s school).  Make sure you have references who can speak to your skills and work behavior.  This also means getting or updating your LinkedIn profile (this was not highlighted back then – how times have changed!).

5. Stay current – if you haven’t been, go and read, or research, trends and the latest news in your industry; read blogs, trade magazines or association news so you can address organizational needs and your knowledge of  what is occuring in the marketplace.  Determine if you need to update your skills by taking a class or certification course.

6. Stay connected – begin to network with friends, family, or former employees to let them know you are wanting to return to the workforce; attend an association meeting or local networking groups; get networking through social media and involved in chat rooms or LI groups.

Returning to working a job – full-time or part-time – will be challenging for returning moms; however, the upside can be considerable not just in terms of financial gains for their family but for the added-value organizations will get from having these skilled workers as part of their organizations.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

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