Going Back to Work as a SAHM
Ep. 290
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In this episode, I tackle the common fear among stay-at-home moms or those contemplating a work hiatus— the worry that stepping back into the workforce is impossible. We delve into the duality of facing the real-world challenges of returning to the workforce after a hiatus and managing our thoughts about them. It’s not about blindly positive thinking, but acknowledging systemic issues while understanding the power of our mindset. From combating discrimination to owning your value, I share insights on navigating the professional landscape after a long career break (like staying home to raise children).

Show Transcript
Hey! Welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello my friends, and welcome to another episode. I'm so excited that you are here. How are you all doing? I'm doing great. Easing into this year, we are wrapping up some of the stuff with goal setting in the Quitter Club, excited about all the other amazing things coming in the club over the next year. If you are not in the Quitter Club, what are you doing? That's my monthly membership where we take these concepts and we apply it to your life, and you get the coaching and the tools that you need to actually start changing things. You can get on the wait list for when doors open and go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/quitterclub and get notified because I'd love to help you do this work and change your life. Okay, speaking of changing your life, I'm gonna talk about a topic that a couple of people have asked me to do for a while and I hadn't done it, so I figured New Year, let's get the moms back to work, and that is how to approach going back to work.
If you've been a stay-at-home mom, I have a number of stay-at-home moms in my community whom I love. And here's the thing, this podcast will apply regardless of whether you're a stay-at-home mom. It will apply if you wanna take time off for a sabbatical. I get the same question from people who want to take a significant amount of time. I mean, by significant, I mean like six months, a year, maybe more but are terrified that if they take that time off, they can't get a job or they're not gonna be able to get a job when they come back. And so they stay in these careers. They don't wanna be in, they don't go after these dreams that they have of maybe like traveling the world or doing really cool things with their family or just taking time to rest. It obviously, the concepts of this can also just be applied to anybody, but if you are in that particular position where you have wanted to take some time off and you're worried about this, or you have taken some time off and maybe you've taken a lot of years off because you were raising children and you're now the kids are grown or you have a lot more time and you wanna get back into the workforce, a lot of people have asked me like how to approach this, and I want to talk about the fact that there is always two things that you have to contend with that you have to think about.
There is the actual facts in the world, actually what's happening or what's out there, and then your thoughts about it, right? And if you have listened to this podcast at all, you know, in on this podcast, we talk a lot about your thoughts. And I wanna talk about, I think this podcast we'll sort of highlight the importance of looking at both things. It it's looking at what are the actual facts? Let's like really get clear on that, on the truth of the actual facts and what are my thoughts about it? It's both. It's never all or nothing. And I think this is really important because I think for a lot of us, we focus on one or the other. And I, and you hear this a lot, I'll talk about it like even in on social media, I'll
Talk about about that in a second. And for me it's always an, and it's like both of these things are really important, right? So there are a lot of people who will say like, oh, you can't just self-help your way in, you know, out of sys inequality. That's absolutely true. That's a hundred percent true, right? There are things that are systemic in our, in our systems that do exist and do affect us differently, different people in different ways. And, and those systems are run by people and people have thoughts, right? And we are within those systems. And if we don't work on our thoughts as well on then we also perpetuate the same systems, which I'm gonna talk about. So part of this is how do we know, like how we're navigating these systems that are very real, and it's not this like gas lighty, like, oh, if you just think positively and you put yourself out there, you're gonna do great or whatever, or like just manifest it or whatever that particular brand of personal development is.
But it's also not to say like, okay, well then like this is some fact that happens in the world, so I should just lay down and not do anything, right? Like I, there's nothing I can do about it. Like, there neither one of those two things are true. They, there's, there's a middle ground. And so it's really important to yes, fight for change and fight for how we view things. And we have to do that by viewing it differently within our own brains and within our own minds, right? And be the kind of that change, as cliche as it sounds like, be that change that you wanna see in the world, right? And so it's, it's a, it's, and it's both that we have to work on. And so when people tell me like, well, people won't hire me if there's a gap in on my resume, like if I take a sabbatical or because I've been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years.
Is that true? Sure, a hundred percent. There's ageism, there's racism, there's sexism, there's you know, discrimination because you haven't worked. All of those things are true, but it's not the whole truth, right? And so I want you to really ask yourself, like, when we say people won't hire me, who are people? And how do we know it? Nobody in the world will hire me ever. Is is that a truth? Like, has there been anyone that has ever gone on a sabbatical and come back and been hired before or has been, you know, was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, 15 years, and then gone back to work? Of course there has, there's loads and loads of stories of this, right? And so you start looking at like, what do I control versus what do I not control in this world? We only get to control ourselves.
That's it how we show up, right? We control what we do and what we don't do. We can control our thoughts and feelings to a certain extent. And what happens is that when we've already made up our mind, like this is the way it is for a lot of people when they ask me this question of like, how do I approach going back to work? The problem with that question even is that it's what is your vision? What is your thoughts about going back to work? Because if you've already decided that nobody's going to want me because I haven't worked in 10 years, or I don't have enough skills, I want you to think about that. I want you to think about when that is my thought. How do I feel likely very defeated, right? Or frustrated or angry maybe at the system or resigned, right?
You can have, there's a lot of feelings that aren't very helpful because you've already created this image that like, nobody's gonna hire me because I was a stay-at-home mom. Or it's gonna be, or even like, it's gonna be too hard to get a job because I have no skills or I haven't done this. Like, if that's your thought going into this and you're feeling defeated or resigned or what angry, what do you think you're gonna do from there? How do you think you're gonna apply yourself? Like, are you actually gonna apply for jobs? Are you gonna network? Are you gonna start learning about what skills you need to maybe brush up on? Are you going to see what opportunities fit within your schedule? No, because you've already told yourself like, it's not gonna work. Can't do it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like if I tell myself they'll never hire me, so then I don't put myself out there, guess what?
They never hire moms because moms aren't putting themselves out there, right? Again, that doesn't mean that there aren't places that maybe likely wouldn't take you because you've been out of the game for that long maybe. But there are places that would, and a lot of it is like, okay, I think for a lot of people when they ask me like, well, I wanna take a sabbatical, but then other places, like, someone might not gimme a job. And I'm like, okay, do you wanna work at a place that wouldn't hire you because you were gone for one year? Like, is that the kind of people that you wanna work for? You are right that there might be consequences, that it might change some of the trajectory, but is it worth living your life the way that you want to? And then dealing with like, figuring out how to deal with the aftermath of that.
Now, if you have like a very specific path, like some people are like, I want to go to Harvard and I want to, you know, let's just say like, I wanna go to Harvard Law School and I want a clerk for a federal judge, and I want to become a clerk for the Supreme Court. Okay? That's like a very specific path. And yes, there's likely like very specific things you have to do and maybe taking a year off won't work in that situation. I don't know. Maybe it would, but that's not what most people are saying, right? If you're like, I wanna work at like this type of investment baking firm and they aren't gonna like a sabbatical, okay, then that's already like, you've already like that. Those are the circumstances you have. So you've got to decide like, maybe I won't take a a sabbatical, but for a lot of people, that's not the situation that's happening.
It's like I've been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and I just don't have the confidence because I've, you know, we live in a world where each stay-at-home moms are not respected as much as they should be, and we don't see all of the things that they, they can contribute. And we are changing that narrative a little bit, but we're not getting there fast enough. And so I've sort of taken that on too. This is what, you know, what if we even going outside of this topic, when you think about like misogyny or even racism or white supremacy, all of these concepts, the reason that these things can, are upheld for so long is that we participate in them. We, we may not be doing it consciously, we may not be doing it voluntarily. We are doing it because we've been programmed in them, but we are the ones participating, right?
Like we have been programmed, let's say for as women the patriarchy, we have been programmed to believe that our worth is in only giving value to other people. And that we're only desirable if, let's say men find us desirable. And our body and the way that we look is really the most important thing, let's say. Like that's what the patriarchy tells us. Well, a lot of us uphold that, right? And I'm not saying like it's, it's our fault. Like we've clearly been given those messages from when we were born, but when for so many of us, like this is what a lot of the work that we do in the club, when we talk about taking up space and saying learning to say no and learning to put your own desires first and learning to decide what you want and say it out loud, like that is revolutionary work that is taking it on the patriarchy for women because we have been told for so long that we're not allowed to do that, or we shouldn't do that, or that makes us bad, or that people won't like that, right?
And the only way we change the patriarchy is if we stop participating in it. If we say like, no, this is. I'm allowed to say no. I'm allowed to say I don't want this. I'm allowed to say you're making me uncomfortable. I'm allowed to, you know, like all of these things that back in the day, like it's easier to look at like, you know, 50 years ago, 60 years ago, we used to have like ideas that women shouldn't be in the boardroom or men and women can't work together 'cause men can't control themselves or whatever. Like we all had to collectively, like a lot of people had to dismantle those beliefs to be like, this is. Women, of course, should have the same opportunities. Of course women can lead companies of course, like someone had to change their thought in order to go for that job, right?
Like, all of us have to stop kind of participating in these beliefs. And so for my stay-at-home moms, you have to be the one that changes your own thoughts about how you view yourself and how you put yourself out there. It's not to say that you won't have obstacles, of course you will. And it's not to say that there isn't real discrimination against maybe somebody that, that instead of being praised for like everything that you've done for the years and years of being a stay-at-Home Mom, which is like unbelievable amounts of skill, like multitasking, patience, operating on zero, sleep, dedication, persistence, right? All of these things that are so valuable to employers, some employers aren't gonna see, they're not gonna understand it. Okay, that's fine. Those aren't the people you wanna work for, but you have to see it. You have to be the one to realize what a fricking badass you are before you decide you're gonna go out to get a job.
Because you have to see the value in like, hey, because when you go for a job interview, when you go to apply a job, you are gonna be the one that's trying to communicate your value to them, right? Most job for any job that you wanna get, your employer is hiring you for value, right? They think you're gonna bring them value. And if you are going into, this is for anybody that's going in for any job interview, if your belief is like, oh, I don't know how valuable I could be to them, I don't know if I could actually help them. I, I want you to think about how you show up at an interview or how you show up on your resume or how confident you show up in, in trying to sell yourself like your value to them, right? But when you do have, like, imagine if you are I'm trying to think like you have some level of expertise in something like 10 years of experience and you're gonna apply for maybe an entry level job, your confidence would likely be really high.
Like you'd kind of like, I could totally do this, right? And so for a lot of people, like you have to really think about like, I have had experience in a lot of different things in these years taking care of my children, I have developed a lot of skills. Now that's not to say that I might need to do some things to sharpen my, you know, tactical skills for a certain like job or to realize where I need to bridge the gap. Okay, great. Like maybe I need to take some classes on the weekends. Maybe I need to start in some type of a program that, you know, helps train me. Maybe I need to start somewhere where that's maybe a step below I would want where I want where I left in order to kinda get reacquainted. All of those things are fine, but I have to like really work on what is my own belief?
What are my own thoughts about being, you know, stay-at-home mom for 10, 15 years and now going back because that's what I have to clean up before I even like kind of go out into this world. Because if I'm going out operating under the belief that it can never happen or they're, they probably think I'm underqualified or they think I can't handle it, then that's how you're gonna show up and you're gonna create a lot more problems for yourself. And what's funny is you're gonna show up in that way. A lot of people like do this where they have some belief like, yeah, nobody wants a stay-at-home mom, let's say. And they show up in a way that's not confident, not doesn't articulate the value that they might bring. Hasn't really prepared in, in the way because they've been, you know, too busy kind of spinning on the fact that nobody wants them to work there.
And so then they likely don't do well in an interview or they go in and, you know, they don't, they don't really sell themselves and so they don't get the job and then they confirm to themselves like, see, they don't want stay-at-home moms. But it's not that, that they didn't want stay-at-home moms, right? It's not that the gap on the resume was the problem, it's that like you didn't sell yourself for that job. You didn't show how the va that the skills that you had maybe before you became a stay-at-home mom or even after like the things that you've developed are exactly what's needed for that role. 'cause if you can do that, then there are a lot of people that are willing to hire stay-at-home moms. Like, again, I feel like the culture is sort of shifting and there are a lot of companies that now even have programs that help get moms back into the workforce.
But I think oftentimes it's more about even really figuring out like who is in alignment with me. Like, I think about it like if I wanted to take a sabbatical or if I wanted to be a stay-at-home, mom, where would I want to work? Like, I wanna work in a place where that understands the value of that, that understands how important it might be to take some time off in your life and actually, you know, see the world or to take time in your life to raise your children. And so maybe that means I work for a smaller company. Maybe that means that I work for moms, I work for a company that is run by women that really understands, that their values are aligned. Maybe it means that I have to start my own business. I don't know, like there's a lot of, I can come up with solutions if I put move past the thought that there is some kind of scarlet letter put on me because I was a stay-at-home mom for a certain amount of time.
And I think from a lot of people that I've coached, a lot of people that I've talked to, there seems to be that, that fear, that belief that oh, this is such a huge problem, so how am I ever gonna, you know, overcome this? And then that is what permeates kind of every action they take every way they go about it. And I want you to clean that up first. I want you to know how valuable it is to have someone that has dedicated 10, 15 years to raising their kids and all of the things that they have learned from that, from managing the home, from doing all of the things that you have to do in order to be a stay-at-home mom, how that could benefit the, an employer, right? How the fact that now you have all of this time now that you don't have small children at home, like how that benefits your employer, right?
Because you meet like other working parents, you may not need as much time off. You may not need, like in order to get your sick children or whatnot, you may not be as sleep deprived. There's a lot of reasons, but you have to know those reasons. You have to be sold on it before you try to sell an employer on it, right? I want you to just think about the difference between these thoughts. They're not gonna want me because I have a gap in my resume versus regardless of my work history, I have a lot of value to offer my time as a stay-at-home mom will only make me a better employee. My season as a stay-at-home mom is over and I'm ready to figure out how to get back into the workplace. I want you to think about like if I've adopted one of these other stories, how that changes how I approach this.
So I will leave you with this. Like, again, I don't deny that you might have unique obstacles that other people in the, in the employment world don't face right now. And there's gonna be other people that have other obstacles that you don't face, right? But I think there's so much more control that you have in how you show up and how you go after it and how you figure it out. If you didn't listen to last week's episode on resourcefulness, if you dig deeper to figure out how do I solve this problem? Like I have been out of the workforce for X amount of years, and so how do I show the value that I can bring and how do I get the skills that I need and how do I make this work? And when you adopt that belief system,
It's amazing where all of a sudden you can find different opportunities, all of a sudden you start figuring out ways to bridge that gap. And if you want help coming up with these beliefs so you can bridge that gap, I would love to help stay-at-home moms who wanna close that chapter and get back into the workforce. Or vice versa. If you're a working mom and you wanna become a stay-at-home mom, I would love to help you in the Quitter Club. Work on your beliefs, work on your thoughts, manage that part so that when you do go out into the world and in the circumstances, you can handle whatever comes your way.
You can join me in the Quitter Club. This is the work that we do every single week, and you can get the coaching that you need so you're not doing it alone. You can go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/quitter club and sign up there. And to all my moms, I want you to get out there and kick some. We need way more moms that are changing the landscape of corporate America. All right, my friends, I hope you found this helpful and I hope you'll back next week with another episode.
Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working. Like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome… and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life and you will get the coaching, tools, and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/quitter club and get on the waitlist. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.