You are still marketable after staying home for 10 years…
Before twins, my career was in the pharmaceutical industry where I served as a District Sales Manager. I led a team of 10, covering a 4-state region, enjoying the challenges and perks of a successful career. The decision to have a family was something my husband and I agreed we wanted. At 40, I had twins—a girl and a boy. Being Mommy to two beautiful and healthy babies was such a blessing. You can prepare all you want for their arrival, but the reality was, life as I knew it was changed forever…
To work or not to work
My husband and I talked about the logistics of returning to my work life. My typical week entailed being on the road 4-days every week, with Friday my work-at-home day. We considered getting two nannies, but after looking at the cost of care and the bonding experience I’d miss by going back, I decided that it was time for me to pause my career. The demands of two infants, sleep deprivation, and physical exhaustion occupied the majority of my days. Gone was the buzz of fast paced airports, client dinners, boardroom collaboration - which all fed my intellectual stimulation. I had been so programmed to be a business person, I had to change my mindset.
The first year of being a stay-at-home mom was the longest and the shortest of my entire life. There is a learning curve for any new mom juggling very active and curious kids. As the twins grew into toddler age, we joined many “Mommy-and-Me” groups. One group we attended was challenging. It was run by a woman who wanted the experience to be idealistic. Her vision was for our kids to follow a structured pattern. Moms mingle and get to know each other while holding their kids. Playtime would follow, and wrap-up would coincide with sitting in a circle holding your child on your lap. Did my kids comply? Nope. My son was all about the toys, and my daughter wanted nothing to do with my lap. They wanted to play. Trying to get two 14 -month old’s to comply with the plan simply doesn’t work.
I started looking at the job market in 2012 with the idea that, given the right opportunity, I might return to my comfort zone. As it turned out, the economy was on a major downturn and I was needed elsewhere.
Growth through loss
In 2012, my sister, a few years older, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her diagnosis looked hopeful. During the 18 month fight, I worked out a support system whereby I’d drop my kids with my mom and be with my sister and her husband at her treatment appointments. After many rounds of chemo, a mastectomy and radiation the pathologist declared her tumor disintegrated to dust. We rejoiced. However, within four months of our celebration, cancer was back and now Stage 4. Sadly, five months later in June, 2013 she passed leaving her husband and three kids, 20, 15 & 12. It was a time of personal grief, but I felt blessed that I wasn’t working so that I could give my energy, support, laughter, and hopes to my sister and her family.
Returning to work after 10 years
By 2019, I’d been a full-time mom for 10 years and I yearned for the problem-solving challenges work provides. Plus, my kids were 10 and established in school and with friends and activities. Networking was key. I found a job back in my former career space pretty quickly. It was a process going back; I had to prove myself all over again. I had been out of the field for 10 years, and there are technology platforms I had to learn. This entailed going out of town for a period of training. So, preparing my kids was my first job. To get buy in from them with my new found career, I found a website with women’s apparel, and I invited my children to help me pick out a new work wardrobe. Making them part of the process helped get my kids ready for the changes ahead.
My husband has always been in my corner, through my travels to the home office for training, he arranged his schedule so that he could drive the kids to school, and he leaned on my mom and family friends to help with after-school activities. In fact, after our schedules normalized, I asked my kids if they’d rather have me at home. “No,” they said, “we’re proud of what you’re doing.”
Assessing my decision, I know going back to my career was the right one for me. It has enabled me to contribute to my family financially, and to set an example for my children. They are inquisitive, well-read and confident. My son has already decided he wants to work for NASA, and my daughter has the same analytical and logic skills as my husband who is an actuary. The support from my husband and family made it possible.
What’s it like to be a working mom today? When I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, I felt that I was a business person undertaking a different challenge. Now that I’m back at work, I feel like, first and foremost, I’m a mom.
If a woman faced with the same circumstances were to ask me what it takes to go back to a career after having kids, I’d say this…
● Network – reach out to former colleagues
● You bring a wealth of knowledge from past work experience
● Know that you are resilient.
● Have confidence in your capabilities.
● Be flexible; you’ll need it.
● And always carry a sense of humor into every situation. Humor lightens the mood, brings perspective and eases the sting of rejection or self-criticism.
La Jolie MLN: ”It’s our mission to give young ladies the lessons all of you can share with us. So, let’s share our experiences, strength and stories.
I cordially invite you to join a cohort of empowered women. Please send your stories to Blog@lajolie-mln.com
Roll -On Love Bracelet Aid Through Trade
The Original Roll-On® Bracelet- Ethically Crafted by women artisans in Nepal - High quality glass beads and hand-dyed cotton thread - Expands over your hand to fit most wrists - Aid Through Trade is a Founding Member of the Fair Trade Federation and is the only authorized provider of Fair Trade Roll-On® Bracelets.
This Roll-On Bracelet was ethically crafted for you by one of beloved artisans in Nepal. Your purchase directly empowers this woman to create a life she is proud of, through a sustainable job she loves.
Made in Nepal
Aid Through Trade is a Founding Member of the Fair Trade Federation and is the only authorized provider of Fair Trade Roll-On® Bracelets. Your purchase provides women with fair income + benefits in a safe and healthy work environment. Aid Through Trade empowers women by creating opportunity through beautifully designed jewelry. While teaching in the late '80s as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, Damian Jones became inspired by the artisans of the Kathmandu Valley and intrigued by the use of glass beads in the Nepalese culture. Damian visited many artisans and artisan groups in various regions of Nepal, and observed the artisans as they created unique jewelry designs. Damian recognized that although the designs varied from place to place, there was one undeniable constant across all villages: Women’s lives changed dramatically when they had an income. Upon his return to the United States, Damian began to conceptualize the idea of working with artisans in a fair, dignified manner as a way to improve their lives. Damian quickly realized that if he were going to succeed in a global marketplace, he would need to emphasize continual design and re-design. After traveling back to Nepal numerous times, Damian actualized his vision in 1993, founding Aid Through Trade, a fashion design company with ethics, and introducing to the world for the first time to The Original Roll-On® Bracelet.