Having a child is one of life’s great joys, and it’s a time for absolute merriment and celebration. However, many women in the workforce can find this time very challenging if they choose to step away from their professional roles to focus the following years at home, raising their children. Years later, a large number of these mothers want to make the return to work and are faced with hurdles due to industry advancements, training, and overcoming gender biased social norms. On the flip side, it’s an exciting opportunity to start a new career or take a new direction. We recently interviewed a mother that returned to the workforce after a 3 year absence taking care of her twins. Our interviewee preferred to remain anonymous, so we’ll simply refer to her as ‘Jane’.
Why to go back to work?
First we asked Jane what the primary reason for deciding to return to work was, and like many mothers, returning to the workforce was financially motivated. Before taking leave, Jane was a Marketing Coordinator and very active in the industry. Marketings a face paced industry and Jane’s strong interest in marketing and advertising had her quickly applying for roles in the same industry. She did however return to part-time administration work for the year prior to securing a full-time role in order to have a more comfortable, low pressure start back at work.
Return to the same industry, or try something new?
While returning to the same industry is a popular choice, as is the opportunity to start anew in something you’ve always wanted to try. At MTC, we often find extended absences of over 5yrs contain a period of reflection where many women reassess what they want from a profession and may pursue interests or hobbies instead of roles that require their previous experience and education.
Challenges returning to work
Jane found that the gap in her resume was the biggest hurdle. She’s certainly not alone with this concern and it’s a question we’re asked frequently; “How do I fill out my resume after an absence?”. Essentially, the best way to craft your resume is to voice your decision to take extended leave as the positive that it is. Use phrases like “following the birth of my child, I made the decision to resign from my full time position to have a more active role in their upbringing. A decision that I’m absolutely proud of”. Confidence and clear decision making are desirable traits that many employers look for, and you should never feel like your absence is a weakness.
Tips for mothers returning to work
When asked for tips on returning to the workforce, Jane had some great suggestions like joining industry Facebook groups. Literally thousands of groups can be found throughout Facebook for a huge variety of industries and even particular roles. It’s a great way to catch up on industry news, updates or advancements while also finding job ads or recruitment postings. Another tip from Jane is to be persistent and we couldn’t agree enough. Finding a job is a process that requires patience, persistence, and perseverance. Consistently applying for roles and communicating with employers is a necessary part of the process, and while it’s sometimes discouraging, persistence will see you win out over other applicants.
Getting back to the workforce
When asked about advice for mothers looking to return to work, Jane offered “it is hard in the beginning. The adjustment is difficult when you have kids…the mum guilt etc…but it does get easier with time once a routine is formed”. One of the most interesting things we took away from this answer was the term “mum guilt”. Generally speaking this can have two meanings, both of which are based around social gender norms.
Firstly it touches on the guilt of returning your focus to your career and thus away from your children. This form of “mum guilt” is an unfortunate feeling of being judged, sometimes by family or friends, and often by other mothers. While there is no easy way to resolve this feeling, MTC want to encourage all women by letting you know that you’re not alone. Thousands of women every year make the decision to return to work for a variety of reasons, and while we’re certain it’ll be difficult to make the adjustment, it’s a necessary part of life for many and your efforts to return to the workforce and take care of children shouldn’t be witnessed as anything but admirable.
Secondly, “mum guilt” can refer to the social pressure many women feel from rebelling against the traditional stereotype of a mother’s role as a carer and housekeeper. While there have been many advancements in changing this social perception, it’s important to note that MTC is a staunch advocate for women returning to work and do not in any way believe that you should feel any guilt from antiquated gender bias.
On your side | Returning to work with MTC Australia
At MTC Australia, we support your return to work by giving you the knowledge and confidence to achieve what you want to achieve in your professional career. Whether you wish to return to your previous industry or start something new, as your registered job active service, we’ll provide you with the most opportunities for success. Get in touch today on 1300 BECOME (1300 232 663) and discover how MTC Australia can assist Mum’s returning to work.