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Work-Life Balance For Stay-At-Home Moms Returning To The Workforce

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at September 27, 2021

By Nabanita De, Founder and CEO, Returnships.org

Who will take care of my house or look after my kids while I am working? How much of my day to day schedule needs to change to accommodate a career? Is work-life balance even a feasible dream for me, despite being passionate about restarting careers? During the pandemic, there isn’t an option for day care and in-person school. My kids and home need constant assistance for an additional 3-4 hours. When will I do my work? I wish I could talk to another mom who went back to work after a career gap to hear how she did it.

As a stay-at-home mom thinking about returning to the workforce after a career gap, did these thoughts ever flood your mind and prevent you from taking steps towards returning to the workforce? Not anymore. Returnships.org, through the Free Returnship Course, incorporates jobs and opportunities, Forum, Podcast, Cohort and Book by Nabanita De, helping caregivers to navigate through all stages of returning to the workforce after a career gap. This includes identifying crucial conversations and building a roadmap to restart careers and live their dream life. Founder Nabanita De sat down with caregivers who successfully returned to the workforce after a career gap to map out day-to-day schedules that work and important tips on transitioning from being a full time stay-at-home mom to being a mom and career professional. If you are a mom, participate in this conversation and use #ReturnshipsMomsWFH in your social media posts to tell us how you are keeping up with work-life balance.

Decide pertaining career path and organization – Your work life balance can hugely differ from what you plan to pursue in your professional life. Do you plan to be your own boss and build a startup/business or learn about organization structures, latest technologies and work for a company? Do you want to wear multiple hats and have a lot of ownership by working for a startup or working on a world famous product in an established big company? Do you want to return to work, just to be financially free and have sources of income or want to work for a particular passion or leverage a certain skill?  There are many sources of passive income that can be completely automated like real estate, affiliate marketing or drop shipping, which can be done completely remotely, virtually and at your own convenience without 9-5 structures. Each of these options would have varied work structures and hugely dictate what your work-life balance would look like.

Discuss work time flexibility with your employer: “Working in tech allows for plenty of opportunities for remote work. My employer was flexible on work timings. Life happens and employers understand, it’s good to communicate if you need to leave the office at 4:00 PM for carpool pick up or soccer practice,” states Jhansi Reddy, who returned to work as a Principal Technical Program Manager at Microsoft after almost 10 years of career gap. (Listen to her entire interview on our Returnship Podcast by Nabanita De here).  “I had a conversation with my manager about the hours my child would need that I would need to be away. I made sure my deliverables were delivered up to mark and since my employer was in the Central Time Zone, 2 hours ahead of me, I was able to put in early mornings before my daughter woke up and late night hours to complete my work instead of traditional continuous 9-5,” says Karima.

Enlist the help of your family to take turns caregiving: “When starting work after a gap in career, I had a conversation with my husband and kids to figure out a schedule that works for us and my family,” says Ramya, Amazon Returnship Participant. “As the pandemic happened, my child needed constant assistance for online school. My husband, inlaws and I took turns sitting with my daughter to make sure each of us had the opportunity and space to pursue our careers, while caregiving. This was a boon as my husband spending time with my daughter, actually brought them a lot closer in the pandemic,” says Karima Vishram, a Goldman Sachs Returnship Participant.

Optimize your daily schedule: “When I came back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for a few years, I really had to take a look at my schedule and make a few changes. This involved cutting down on my PTA daytime activities, optimizing on my time to plan better for meals and grocery trips and acknowledging that I don’t have that much flexibility with my availability anymore,” says Jhansi. Ramya has also optimized her time by mostly cooking in the evenings and warming up and eating the prepped meal throughout the day.

Define a dedicated work from home space as your office: When Returnships.org’s Founder Nabanita De was working with her family member returning to work, she noticed that creating a dedicated work from home space setup with a desk, chair, laptop and book rack for her family member really helped with mental transformation and motivation. Karima shares a similar experience where she transformed her walk-in closet into an office, with a monitor and webcam.  Creating a working spot at home mentally separated her work from living space, and helped her 3 year old daughter identify that space to not disturb her mom when she was working in it and accept her mom’s new working schedules.

Use Returnship Opportunities to dip your toes into returning to the workforce: Returnships are 12-16 week paid working opportunities to work for employers like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and more, recruiting people with a significant gap in career. It can lead to a full time offer if you do well in the program. For more information on Returnship opportunities and returning to work, check out our Returnship opportunities module and Returnships Podcast with Founder Nabanita De. Returnships can be an interesting way to test to see if you would really enjoy going back to the workforce and get a feel of current company and organization structures, despite whatever career trajectory you would take.

We asked Ramya, an Amazon Returnship participant, to share a day in the life of a working mom when pursuing Returnship opportunities: “My day to day schedule after joining work includes: Wake up and help my daughter with getting ready for school and sign her in for distance learning. My husband and I take turns depending on our work schedule. Most days, I have meetings in the morning, so my husband takes care of our daughter. I start my work routine by checking my emails and talking to my team members in India before 9 AM. 9:30 -12 I work on my projects and then break for lunch. I mostly cook in the evenings,  so I just warm up food and we eat lunch as a family. Afternoons, most days I have meetings between 1 and 3. After that, I start working on my project deliverables until 5:30 or 6PM. Then I take a small break and workout for 30 mins and plan for dinner and wind up cooking and cleaning before 7:30- 8PM. We wrap up dinner before 8:30PM and I sync up with the India team again with updates from the day over a 30 mins call. I unwind after wrapping up my work (sending emails, status etc.) between 9:30-10:30 PM.”

Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages, to tell us what you would like to read next. If you found this article useful, pre-order our Returnships Book By Nabanita De here. To connect with our Founder, visit her LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Currently Returnships.org is empowering caregivers to return to the workforce in 89 countries. Our initiative will only continue through your support in the form of donations. Donate here. To listen to our Returnships Podcast, click here. To join our incredible community of moms, coaches, industry experts and recruiters, click here.

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