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Transitioning from a Stay-At-Home Parent to a New Job

Work Awesome EP207

Transitioning from a Stay-At-Home Parent to a New Job

Work Awesome EP207

There’s a case to be made that a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job because it is! But making the transition back to the workplace after taking care of your little ones can be a challenge. In this episode, Ian hands over his hosting duties to the experts as they chat through the challenges they faced when they made the hard decision to come back to work.

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Hey podcast listeners, I just want to jump in and say first of all, thank you for listening to this episode of the work. Awesome podcast If you aren't following us on social media, please head over to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Wherever you get your content from and make sure you're following so that you have the latest updates on blogs on new videos on new episodes coming out all on the work. Awesome network. If you haven't looked into the company behind the work. Awesome network.

AVIAN, I encourage you to do that as well. Please head over to 18.com to learn more about avian and how you can make your next transition in your career. If you're on a platform that allows you to rate or comment or interact with the podcast in some way, please do that helps out tremendously. Thanks again and now back to the podcast. Welcome to the Work Awesome podcast. This is a little bit of a different episode. You'll notice I'm not on screen, but I am playing a little bit of a voice in ahead for this one today. I have Kelly, Sarah and Joy with me to talk about transitioning from a stay at home parent.

To a new job.

I don't have experience in this field, so I thought these three would be great.

At discussing this topic.

And let's just jump into the description. There's a case to make that a stay at home. Parent is a full time job because it is, but making the transition back to the workplace after taking care of our little ones can be a challenge. In this episode, I'm handing over the hosting duties to the experts as they chat through the challenges they faced when they made the hard decision to come back to work. So at this point I'm going to pass it over to you guys and joy. Like I said, I think you have a really cool topic to talk about and get this kind of started. So if you want to.

Jump into that. Feel free at this point.

Sure, absolutely well to prepare for this podcast, Ian shared with us several articles and one that really stood out to me was an article from Harvard Law and it talked about these Fortune 500 companies in these larger companies that are now offering return ships like instead of an internship, there return ships, and they're designed specifically for parents to help them ease back into the workforce. Maybe help them.

Get caught up on their skill set and of course, so much changes in a matter of a year or two. So imagine being out of the workforce for four or five, maybe even 10 years. Some folks, but I thought to myself that is such a great idea idea. I think that's just an awesome opportunity to tap into kind of an unrecognized resource and grab these parents who are looking to return back to work, and they obviously must have some.

Type of skill said they've already had a career and this would just bring them back up to speed and get them prepared to return back into career. And it just really stood out to me is something that I think more companies should take advantage of, because again, there's probably a whole pool of people and candidates that companies may overlook simply because they see that gap in employment. But this return ship would also fill that gap a little.

Yeah, and I'm in a good situation. I think here at avian because.

I think we we recognize that there is that that sometimes there is a very good reason for gaps of employment an we don't just dismiss that as a as this person is not qualified. If we're looking at the whole resume, not just one time span an I was a stay at home parent for a good deal of time. I'm not going to tell you how long 'cause that would really age me, but.

In an I really was looking forward to getting back into the workforce and I did. Kind of what you're talking about. A little bit in a volunteer setting and I actually my my undergraduate degree in communications.

And I worked for I volunteered for a nonprofit and did some communications for them. And then I went back to school and and then I started working part time and actually I joined Avian Part Time as well and and then transition to fulltime just because we felt like that was what was best for my family. My husband did a lot of traveling and deploying I think.

We can all speak.

That and we just decided that we needed, uh, you know that there was a benefit to having me at home during those times, but I definitely was anxious to get back to work when I felt like we were in a place where our family could manage that. Sure, so an enjoy speaking to kind of what you were talking about. With that article, I found that I gained a good deal of experience and kind of became more current with the opportunity that I was given as a volunteer. I was able to.

Still write articles for our local military paper and some things like that and just be in a in a work setting, right? Using more current tools than then you know I had been exposed to in my prior work experience.

So, and I feel like that really helped me to make that transition.

And it was another thing to put on my resume as well, right? Yeah.

And I had a slightly different experience. I had a much shorter stay at Home Mom experience. That was a little bit more forced on me 'cause the military. I was a full time teacher for many many years, so my full time parent experience was more on the summers and then when my husband changed commands we came up here to Lexington Park and my opportunities to follow my teaching pathway. Little bit smaller an actually.

Sarah helped me a lot and being able to find a home with avian and it was part time which was great for me because I was pregnant at the time too. So I was moving to a new location trying to start a new career path. Being pregnant, trying to set up a house here, finding you know, doctors, childcare, different things like that. And then of course Covid hit on top of everything so.

You know, being a part time again, I didn't have it was in a full time position, but it was an internship and that did allow me to.

Be able to dabble a little bit. Be able to show those at avian. What I could do, and the different talents that I could bring. And Luckily I've been able to work on different projects with miscellaneous people. I'm part of the innovation team, but I've also branched out into helping other people as well, and it's allowed me to feel a little bit human again. I think we can relate to that sometimes when we are surrounded by little ones. You sometimes you forget how to adult.

And you crave that adult interaction. And even though now it's you know, via.

Computers, I still get to have that interaction and still get to feel like I'm a part of my household. Not just taking care of the kids and cooking and cleaning and organizing, but I'm I'm a part of a team outside of that as well and helping to take care of things here.

I think you made a good point there. Kelly, to about just feeling like yourself again. I know a lot of moms, probably dads too. And you know they return after some time. They have that guilt. They have that mom guilt or dad guilt about not being home with their kids all day long. But there's a lot of people who just I feel I'm a better mom by leaving my house by having an outside career about being part of a team and feeling like.

I'm contributing something besides the laundry, and you know, setting up dinner and running kids here and there, and you know, I think.

Parents need to learn to not feel bad about that, not feel bad about getting out of the house and doing something for themselves because I think as a whole it's probably better for everyone.

Yeah, and I think you know making the decision that's best for your family is really important and not, you know, not having the guilt either way, whether you decide to return to work after being a stay at home parent or you continue on with your career, or you do kind of.

What Kelly is talking about right now and have a mix of you know, being having a little bit more flexible work schedule but still being part of a very important part of a working team and having a little more time to devote to your family. In addition to that as well. So, and that's, I think that's one of the really nice opportunities right now in today's work environment as we do have a little bit more flexibility than I think we've necessarily had in the past.

An actually when I came back to avian when I started at avian, I started as a temp hire an, then I applied for a position that was full time and I said, you know, I really feel like I can probably support this position part time. Would you be willing to entertain having a part time employee so we try? So we tried it and initially I think it worked really well as a part time position and then it transitioned to a full time position, but that was really.

What I felt like was best for my family and I was very fortunate that avian was able to accommodate that. That's not always the case, but you see many different working environments where you have job shares and just, I think there's a good deal of flexibility right now, and I think Kelly. That's kind of what you were speaking too, too.

Yes, and having having an employer that understands that flexibility, especially in times that we're going through right now, I think that there are more employers that are open to the flexibility than they used to be.

But that's it. That's a huge part of any successful career as well. But your partner, whoever it is at home, being flexible and supportive of that schedule. It's really nice because my husband can work with me. I don't have to come in, but the times that I do, I'm able to work with him and say, hey, you know, can you stay home with the kids for an hour or two? And Luckily, his schedule is flexible enough that he's able to do that as well.

So finding that balance in there like.

You said what works for you what?

Works for your family.

But on the other side, here we talked about guilt a little bit I. I came to my boss and I said forgive me because I'm going to sound horrible right now, but I don't think that I'm meant to be a stay at home Mom. And that's OK too.

You know, because like you said, it's it's sometimes it's better to be able to leave, have that time and then come back because you're refreshed a little bit. You're not constantly dealing with the same thing every single minute of the day you have that breather. You can come back and look at a problem with fresh eyes, or you know whatever is going on or whatever you need to do to be a part of your family unit and be successful with your family unit.

As well, not just work, so it's OK to not feel guilty for coming back to work, you know.

There there are people that are.

Amazing and can just.

Take everything in stride in everything with ease and not everybody is like that an it's OK, you know it's OK to be the opposite.


And what I was going to say, I think right now.

I feel like there's a bit more pressure though on you of having that guilt, because this past year has taught us that you know, it's.

Become quite a juggling act, you know, because most of these kids have been home with their working parents all year long, and maybe they've fallen behind in school and things like that. And again, that adds kind of to that guilt.

But at the same time, it's it's we're all learning. We're all learning in this environment. We're still learning every day what works, what doesn't work. And you know, I've just I've noticed, you know, on social media and stuff like that that you know Mom should just quit and stay at home and you know, and I don't think that's fair.

When it's not always a choice.

Not always a choice. I mean we actually we. You know we're not everybody has two parents living in the same home that can balance that. Either we have single parents. We have parents that really both need to be working for one reason or another, so I don't. I think that you bring up a very valid point joy and that it's not. It's really about just kind of.

Doing like I said before, doing what's best for your family and doing what you need to do for your family. And I I'm in a situation where my kids are older. My children are older so.

I this.

Whole scenario has not been as difficult on my family as I've seen with people.

Trying to juggle exactly trying to juggle multiple children, multiple schedules, multiple demands jobs.

I my hats off to all of the parents trying to manage younger children in a virtual environment right now because and, you know, supporting job and home and family life too. I don't know how they're doing it so.

Well, that's where the flexible employers right man exactly Kelly had mentioned. It seems a lot of people this, if anything, has opened their eyes to allowing their employees a more flexible schedule.

Just maybe because you can't work straight from, you know, eight to four or eight to five doesn't mean you're not productive. Sometimes you know I was working till 1011, maybe even midnight some nights, but the work was getting done right. The work was getting done just in a different time frame and I think if anything this is opened. A lot of people's eyes to the fact that.

You know family does come first.

But it doesn't mean you still can't do a.

Good job, right? Absolutely so joy. What are some of the things that you would recommend if you were if you had maybe a friend and I actually I have people speak to me regularly about this, so I think this is a really great episode. If you have a friend that's been a stay at home Mom for significant or dad for a significant amount of time, what would be the steps that you would recommend to them to prepare for returning to the work environment?

Well, there's a couple things. First of all, if you are returning and your children are young and you're going to need childcare, you need to be prepared to understand that you're probably not going to have a lot of take home pay after that, OK? However, when I did return because I had returned to work, I also was able to provide the opportunity for my children to go to preschool because one income we couldn't, 'cause we have triplets, so we could not afford to send.

Three of them to preschool at the age of two on a single income. But by my going back to work, we were able to afford them that opportunity. And then, of course we had to pay for childcare after school.

You need to be kind of prepared for that, but at the same time recognize that you have the opportunity then to contribute to a 401K. You're paying into Social Security. You can possibly take advantage of your employers FSA both dependent care and health care, so it's kind of a hard pill to swallow when you're not left with a whole lot of pay when it's said and done, but there's other benefits of that, so there's that. It's just it's just the reality.

So it sounds like you're recommending.

That parents really sit down or you know, people sit down and kind of create a worksheet. A financial worksheet like look at the costs versus the benefits of working outside of the home and kind of figure out where that's going to put your family right? 'cause there could be tax implications as well. Sure, sure.

But there's you know there was that and.

Again, learning to.

Just readjust kind of your entire life, things you're just going to have to learn to let a little bit go 'cause you're not going to be at home all day able to. You know. Maybe stay on top of the laundry. Or you know, there might be some dirty dishes in the sink when you get home. Things like that. Learning to just let some things go. Sure, that's a big adjustment. 'cause I'm a little bit OC D about that, but it'll get done. It'll all get done in due time.

So and and preparing your children for that. So they're used to having mom or Dad home all the time. Even just this past year. I mean, my kids are old enough to understand what's been going on, but it's so hard today because I was getting ready to go to work and they ask Mommy are you going to work at work or on the computer because they've they've gotten so used to me being home now that it's hard on them again when I do leave the house?

And you know, we just we've just tried to talk to them through this whole thing. But you know, when they were younger, we just talked about how Mommy was going to go to work now too. Just like daddy. And I'll be home at 4:30 every day and things like that and finding the right child care and getting them comfortable with that. It all kind of plays into it.

Yeah, absolutely. And Kelly. What are some you and I kind of had a process when we were working together on finding you a position at AVN. So what are some recommendations or some kind of takeaways from that experience? With that you would recommend or you would like to kind of talk too.

So one of the biggest things for me was talking to my network.


Especially when you're transitioning, it's really hard to look at your resume and go. How do I fit in? This is something that I think I can do, but how do I present myself to show that I can do this, especially for me? I have a Fine Arts degree in photography.

And now I'm doing research for innovations. Those two things when you look at a piece of paper have nothing to do with each other. But when you're talking with people, you find that they really do. And especially my teaching experience. So being able to look at what you do on a day to day basis and how can you word that an how can you present yourself? But talking with that network is so incredibly important. Luckily, you know, as I said Sarah, you really helped me because I, you know kept applying and applying and applying.

And then we've had a few conversations. I went to job fairs, talk to recruiters at job fairs, talked to different schools, and you know, said, OK, this is something that I can do, but Luckily you were able to reach out to me as well and say, hey, what about this opportunity? So being able to be open minded as well, because originally I was looking for full time. I was looking for things maybe a little bit more.

Straightforward, whereas this was an opportunity to try something new IT was a little bit different from what I was used to, but you know, take that leap. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in those around you. Really look at what assets you can bring that might be out of the norm.

I'm talking about preparing the family too. 'cause yes, when you go back to work, certain things are going to drop off, and that's something financially you need to talk about. If you have a partner at home, you definitely need to talk about those things because childcare is expensive, it's excessive.

And and also be understanding with whoever's in your household about. Yet there are certain things that might not happen right away, like they used to, or, you know, might not even happen within a few days. And getting used to that, or sometimes you know you just go, you know what?

I made the decision I were ordering dinner tonight because I just can't today. You know, and that happens Anne Anne. But having those conversations, being able to talk and have conversations with those that are in your household with that transition are one of the most important things.

Yeah, I think that's that's a really good point. Kelly and I think the you know, looking at it from my standpoint when when I was working with Kelly, I identified that should be a great addition to Evie. And it was just kind of the timing and figuring out how that would work.

And she was very easy to work with, very flexible from my standpoint when we have someone who wants to join the labor pool, it's a huge win. We have a very small labor market here at 8 in Southern Maryland and I feel like you know, we're we're constantly trying to bring knew new people into this market. So any when we have a candidate who's willing to say, hey, this is the.

This is where I was going originally, but I'm willing to work with you and be a little flexible. This sounds like it would be a great opportunity that might work its way into something else eventually. Then I feel like you have a real win as well. An recruiters really, we want to put people in positions that are going to make them happy and we really want to fill positions too, so.

So having people enter the workforce that have not been in the workforce for awhile, it's exciting.

And they are probably eager to get to work. Yeah, sure, yeah, work hard. You know, that's that's the whole reason they are applying.

If they're like me, third, just excited to leave their house.

Please give me something to do.

Well and there are so many resources in our community. I know our library has some kind of return to work type training. Resources available are Tri County.

Community Center or Workforce has different programs that are available so really reach out if you're in a military setting. The fleet and Family Services can be very helpful. There are many different resources out there, colleges, community colleges, so make sure if you have been out of the workforce for awhile and you're looking to get back in. Do everything you can to prepare yourself and make yourself as current as possible.

Well, I think that that kind of brings up a good point as well to to not necessarily be intimidated when you see a job description. You might only meet two or three of the key skills that someone is looking for. I would say don't let that intimidate you though. If you don't fit that job description like a mold, because again, they employers could be passing up, you know someone great if that's all they were looking for, but I think I.

Believe avians very much like that where they don't expect someone to necessarily fit into a box, but they recognize certain skillsets could help fill maybe another position that they weren't considering, so don't let those job descriptions intimidate you. You know if you're interested in something, apply. Put yourself out there.

Absolutely, and I think Kelly brought up a super good point. We don't of course have as many right now, but I think as as hopefully as.

The economy opens up a little bit more, and.

You know we have the pandemic a little more under control. We'll go back to in person job fairs, but there are some great virtual job fairs out there too. If you can get your conversation with the recruiter, then that recruiter is more likely to remember you and kind of be able to think about you, not just attached to one job, so.

Then it's an opportunity to have a conversation and say, hey, this is where I've been. This is where I am right now. And this is where I'd like to be. So how do I get there? You know what would be some of your suggestions, and I mean we'd love to help candidates find jobs that are going to be a good fit for us. It's always a win when that happens so.

I think Kelly you'd mentioned talking, getting out there and talking to your network so that getting an expanding your network and letting everyone that you that you know know that you are looking for a position and that you know whether it's part time full time.

Letting the recruiting

people in your area know as well.

Absolutely, and I was on, you know, LinkedIn, different social media outlets. LinkedIn was was huge, especially to find, as you said, the virtual recruiting fairs that are going on right now. But that you had mentioned with military spouses, there's a military spouse group out there. But talking with other people that are in your situation. And I had a lot of.

Excuse me, a lot of other moms that said, you know I attended this fair or my husband attended this fair. Or this is the person that you should talk to. Don't be afraid to show your resume either. I feel especially when you're trying to get back into the workforce. You have a little bit of fear of what are people going to think. I haven't updated my resume and X amount of years and now it's completely different. Well don't be afraid to show it to somebody.

Don't be afraid to share it even just for it. Hey, can you look at it and give me some feedback? What would you change? Is it? Is there a little bit too much going on?

Geographer I saw a lot of resumes, especially when I was finding the replacement for my own position, where they had so much graphic design things all over it. And I was like, OK, this does look cool, but you need to tone it down a little bit for a recruiter, for hovers. Looking to to be able to get what you're really trying to say.

As as well as you know, not having a lot of fluff, but you still want to let somebody know that you know what you're talking about, so that was helpful to me. It was to share it, and people with different field backgrounds. So not just fellow educators or artist, I gave it to contractors. I gave it to engineers, you know anybody that I could find saying, hey, can you please look at this and let and let me know what you think or how might I be able to make myself look better?


Yeah, that's some good advice and I think I've mentioned it in past podcasts as well, but when you have a good deal of graphic elements in your resume, sometimes uploading them into the applicant tracking systems, it doesn't necessarily go well. Yeah, it doesn't necessarily go well, especially if you don't have it as a PDF saved as a PDF, and even then.

There can be some issues and really.

As much as everyone loves a beautiful resume, it's what's on the resume. That is what we really need to see, especially when we're qualifying someone for a position on contract.

So yeah, good good. Very good topics. Good good advice I.

Am going to jump back in here because we are hitting that 30 minute mark. There is one more thing that I want to ask you guys and it falls within this realm of resumes. So there's I assume a lot of the time when parents are coming back into the workforce, there's that gap in experience. Sarah from a recruiting standpoint, how would somebody kind of explain that or account for that gap and then maybe Kelly or joy if you've experienced?

Having to put together a resume where you have a couple years of gap because of being a parent at home, maybe from that perspective, explain how that played out for you guys.

So I've seen it. I've seen it kind of addressed in different different ways, and I actually don't see it as a detriment. So I think, however, the candidates have expressed it is completely fine. I've seen I've seen it specifically stated you know state. I've seen it done cute, cute ways like you know.

With just a little explanation, managed housholder something like that.

And I've I've also just seen a gap there as well.


When I'm looking at the resume, I'm really looking to see if the candidate qualifies for the position. That's what's important to me.

So if.

I haven't seen it done in a way that I didn't think was appropriate, so I think there are many different ways that you can manage that gap. I don't think it's bad to just, you know, put in there that managed household or or something like that if that's the way that you feel comfortable addressing it, it's not something that anybody should feel is not, is not.

OK, to put on a resume or.

You know, obviously, if you need to have 10 years of experience and you don't have that on your resume, it's not really going to matter what you put because you need that 10 years of experience. But I think there are many different ways to address it an I think just looking at resume sites you can, you can find the way that you feel the most comfortable with yourself.

Personally for me, I don't think it was a big deal when I returned to the workforce because like Sara said, I had the experience I had the experience that they needed. I was out of the workforce maybe about four years, and most of that was because we moved here. We were stationed here and I came from television news, so unless I was going to drive to DC every day, there wasn't obviously an opportunity to continue that career path.

But I I was fortunate and I didn't really have to account for those missing years. But Kelly, I think you had mentioned earlier about volunteer opportunities, and I know, sorry you had mentioned that as well. And I did do that during my years where I was staying home when we were stationed in Norfolk. I was the SG FRG president then when we were here. I was actually ombudsman at the X1 for a year or so, so I filled in a little bit of that gap with just some volunteer.

Opportunities and I absolutely included those on my resume because again there was different skill sets that were required to even fill those positions.

Yeah, and I think charity is a is a big thing to bring up either charity or volunteer any of those positions, even if you're not working full time. Even if you're not working part time, those positions definitely still count. You know, if you think back to your high school days if you ever talked to a college counselor and they said, hey, we want it. But you know, colleges want to see somebody that's well rounded, not just focused on one thing. And I think the same is true for employers. So yes, you might be.

At home with your kids or, you know, have those quote unquote gap years for whatever reason. But you're still doing things so you know, look for those opportunities as well. If you're passionate about something, volunteer.

You know, I I did a lot in college and out of college as a young professional. I did a lot of the parents. Sometimes I know it, it's harder, but are you working with your kids? PTA at all? Are you a classroom? Mom or dad?

We are we have close ties to the military, obviously in the area that we are. But like you said, FRG, Ombudsman, Spouse Club, any of those sort of things. Put that on your resume. You won't have that gap if you put those on your resume, and I think a lot of people are just afraid to have that gap, but I think it's becoming a little bit more understandable nowadays that that happens. I I did not necessarily have that gap, with the exception of just because of our move.

And then trying to find a new position but.

Don't be afraid to put to put that experience on there.

Yeah, I think that is great advice. Advice from all of you. I do want to wrap it up here 'cause we are getting on the lengthy side for this one, but as I'm sitting here I'm thinking you know what? Maybe we switch up the scheduling a little bit. Let's release this around Mother's Day since I think it's an appropriate time. So I think this will be a special Sunday episode of the work. Awesome Podcast Releasing on May 9th.

Like I said, the scheduling might switch up a little bit from there, but Joy, Kelly, Sarah, thank you for leading this episode. 'cause it was a really, really great conversation and I will see everybody next time.

Thank you guys.

Thank you so nice to be here with the two of you, that's fine.