Three tips to get your old spark back before returning to work

To many women, the prospect of returning to work after taking time out to raise a child may be daunting. Many mothers choose to remain at home for several years in order to give their child the best start in life, but once their child starts school the prospect of returning to work looms, and many women can feel out of the loop.

This is understandable, as in today’s career driven society, much can change in a relatively short period of time. But with the correct attitude, confidence and determination, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to re-enter the world of work in a position you want and deserve.

The problem many women encounter is a change in the way they perceive themselves. One day you were a passionate and driven career minded woman, making hard-hitting presentations to corporate executives or dealing with high profile clients on a day to day basis, the next you were cleaning baby sick out of the carpet, kissing your sons grazed knees better and teaching your daughter to tie her shoe laces.

This is by no means a step down; your priorities changed, and so did your sense of identity. When thinking about starting work again, many women can only see themselves in their new role as mummy, rather than the working woman they used to be. This can damage confidence and leave many feeling lost.

Here are some confidence boosting tips that should re-kindle the “old you” and boost your self-esteem:

  • Remember a time when you were at your best. How did you feel? Self-assured, in control? Make a list. What skills were you demonstrating? Influencing skills or the ability to bring people together? Recall how it felt, and absorb that feeling.
  • Be positive. Tell yourself ‘I can’, not ‘I can’t’. Make a list of things you want to achieve for yourself, not anybody else. You may have a family to think about now, but that is no reason not to prioritise your own needs sometimes. Change ‘I can’t start working again because of the children’s school holidays’ to ‘I can start working again if I find suitable childcare’.
  • Make a list of the skills you use on a day to day basis. Many of the parenting skills you use with the children are transferable to a working environment and could include things like persuasive skills, organisational skills, problem solving, and creative skills. If you look at your day to day life in this light you will realise you are a very employable individual.

Kerry Ridgeway is a careers adviser. She often speaks to mothers who have been out of work for several years. If they ask about training courses to build up their skills, she directs them to

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