You’ve been home with the kids for a few years, maybe more, maybe less. When do you know it’s time to reenter the work force?
I’ve got some ideas.
You’re looking around the PTO meeting and don’t know a soul. Your kids are the ‘big kids’ in the back of the bus. Your youngest is everyone else’s oldest. You don’t pay babysitters any longer. Your kids are the babysitters. You’re excited there’s a big project due at school. You work multiple shifts at the bookfair.
Eleven Sure-Fire Signs It’s Time to Get a Job
- All your emergency contacts on school forms are unavailable during the day ‘cuz they all have jobs.
- At school, your kid and your kids’ friends ask, “Why are you always here?”
- Any of your children shave – anything.
- You are the only mom at the mall without a stroller.
- You’re at the mall…or Target or Costco or HomeGoods, just to look around.
- You have time to train for a marathon.
- You become obsessed with small injustices and have the time and energy to fight the good fight on the facebook, letters to the editor, petitions, rallies, and Board of Education, Board of Finance, Legislative Council, and Dog or Skate Park committees.
- Cable, appliance repair guys, and internet geek squads can come anytime at all, no worries.
- You spend more than an hour (that’s right – 1 hour) on-line in a non-income producing or nonprofit save-the-world-or-one-small-part-of-it manner.
- You have ample time to be cookie mom or popcorn mom to scouts.
- The school secretary rolls her eyes the moment you buzz to get in.
Don’t misinterpret. I’m not advocating to stop being a mom. Nor stop being a volunteer. I’m saying find some balance, and now that your kids are full-time school age, you’ve got the time to do so. And there’s plenty of newbies waiting for their turn to shine.
Get a job. Any job – to start. You’ve volunteered out the wazoo and been there for your kids 24/7. The school will not disintegrate without you to keep it running. Let some new mom, with kids still in car seats and feetie pajamas, fill the void. Your time has come. Move on. Not to worry, homework will still get done, teach conferences attended, basketball teams coached. Yes, groceries will still get bought and your house cleaned. (Okay, perhaps an exaggeration on the house.)
Fill that down time between buses by preparing for the next chapter of your life. Volunteer, if you must, at non-profit. Take a class that updates your skills. Get recertified. Be a mentor. Get a mentor. The skills accrued with eventually get you hired. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but you’re building your potential with every move you make.
What signs do you see pointing to returning to work, or thinking about going back to work part-time, flex-time, work at home or full-time? If working now, when did you realize you were the last one staying?
It’s time. You’ve paid your dues and added time-management skills, leadership capabilities, and lifelong friendships to your childrearing CV, now it’s time to be reimbursed for your efforts. There’s work out there that lets us moms continue mommying, while adding to the coffers and confidence.