If you are considering returning to work and are still guilt-stricken about not spending enough time with your child, this might change your mind.
According to a study published by Harvard Business School, there was no detrimental effect on children whose mothers worked outside of the home. It was found that daughters of working mothers were eventually more likely to hold supervisory positions themselves, as working adults. Sons of working mothers were more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for their own families when they became fathers.
Planning to return to work after being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM)? Here are tips for you to consider.
1. Analyse your decision
Calibrate your objectives the same way you did when you decided to be a SAHM and stay rooted to them, says Pek Lay Peng, Director of SocietyA (an online fashion retailer) and Spurs shoes.
“Is there a greater value to the role you will assume in the workforce? Now that you have a child, priorities will be different and you need to know how far you are willing to go to juggle between being a mum and a constructive employee,” adds the mother of one.
There will be an adjustment period when you return to work, but the key is to keep an open heart and stay rooted in your objectives, adds Lay Peng.
This can seem overwhelming and tough if you have been a SAHM for some time. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to go back to work?
- How hungry am I to go back to work?
- What are my childcare and family responsibilities?
- Do I have the support from my spouse, family and friends? If so, what kind of help can I receive from them?
After going through these questions and you’ve made up your mind, slowly start to build your confidence by doing the following.
2. Stay up to date
Do not expect to pick up where you left off. Re-entering the workforce requires you to do some catching up. Technology has changed drastically in the past few years, and it’s highly possible that the job you handled before you left to become a mother is now executed very differently.
Have a sense of what’s happening in the industry. What’s trending now in the field of work that you worked in? What are the new initiatives out there? Is there any new accreditation added to your line of work? Keep up with current affairs and know what’s going on at home and around the world.
3. Upgrade your knowledge and skills
Assess if your interests and skills have changed. If you are sticking to your old skills, update them by attending an accredited course. If you are looking to learn something new, sign up for a crash course or get certified.
Take this chance to tap on your SkillsFuture credits. Every Singapore Citizen (SC) 25 years old and above in 2016 will receive an initial credit of $500. SCs who are below 25 years old in 2016 will similarly receive $500 worth of credits in the year that they turn 25 years old. The Government will make further top-ups to individual’s SkillsFuture Credit at regular intervals.
You can search for a course online at www.skillsfuture.sg/credit
NTUC members also get $250 every year to offset up to 50% of their course fees under the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP), which can be used together with your SkillsFuture credits.
You can search for courses eligible for NTUC’s UTAP here.
4. Look for return-to-work programmes
There are programmes helping unemployed people find jobs, but few catering specifically for back-to-work SAHMs.
Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC recently suggested a Returnship Programme to help mothers return to the workforce.
This was what he proposed in his Parliament speech on 10 November 2016:
“The “Returnship Programme” spanning 4 to 6 months to facilitate the matching of women job seekers and employers.
During the Returnship period, women job seekers are given guidance and training to update their skills, better understand the job and ascertain her suitability for the position. Upon successful completion of Returnship, women job seeker can embark on PCP (Professional Conversion Programme) for further training to make the career switch. This can be done through an enhancement of the current PCP and CSP (Career Support Programme).”
Join relevant industry mailing lists and start a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one. Also by attending courses, you will also be meeting people in the industry. Speak to them and exchange contacts. If you are intending to return to your previous line of work, get in touch with your ex-colleagues or supervisors for a casual catch up and let them know of your plans to return to work.
Source: NTUC U Future Leaders, powered by Black Marketing
If you are looking for flexible ways to work for home, here are viable work from home options.
6. Share your ambitions with family and seek support
Share your job search and ambitions with your spouse and family, including your children. Tell them early on that your decision to go back to work and assure them that doing so is not a rejection of them in any way. Share with them about your decision. And don’t feel shy to ask for help from your parents or in-laws.
Other than your own inner circle of support, expand your network of mummies and read tips to help you integrate back to the society. Breastfeeding mothers who are worried about the transition back to work can read this: Returning To Work: What All Breastfeeding Mums Should Do
Here are a few online support groups you can join and discuss with parents:
- 2017 Babies www.facebook.com/groups/2017sgbabies
- 2016 Babies www.facebook.com/groups/2016sgbabies
- Breastfeeding www.facebook.com/groups/breastfeedingwithlove
- Preschool & Enrichment www.facebook.com/groups/preschoolsg
Identify your strengths and purse what you want
Lay Peng asserts, “If you are willing to explore the options out there, there are boundless opportunities for everyone in a metropolitan city such as Singapore,” The successful career woman who also runs her father construction business believes a sound country and society is dependent on many factors.
“Working mothers are able to dedicate to work because we have a society that has support networks for us. As long as women – regardless if they are mothers – are able to identify their strengths and pursue it, it is a contribution to society in some ways.”
If the first job you find makes you unhappy, leave it. Don’t settle for something you cannot stand, even if you are working out of financial necessity. Keep searching and you’ll be able to find a rewarding career choice.
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