Have you struggled to return to work after a baby?
Calling all ex-stay-at-home-moms.
Tonight I was taking some time out and watching a series I have really come to enjoy. Younger. It has amused, entertained and delighted me on many occasions.
However tonight something really hit home for me about the entire overarching storyline. Liza (really a 40-year-old mom) wanting to get back to work ends up shaving years off her CV to get back into the game. And while I don’t agree with what she does – on some level I can relate.
My own return to work was difficult.
After my first child, I happily went back to my job after my maternity leave and never gave the ease of it another thought. However, when I tried to return to work after my second child things were different.
I had a difficult pregnancy towards the end and was on bed rest for the last month of my pregnancy. After my youngest was born I spent about 6 weeks to a month at home before looking for work. Having a baby is expensive! And two under three. Man, it costs a fortune.
So I started sending my CV out naively leaving a gap between Dec and April. The first interview I landed, I kid you not, one of the first questions was “what happened during this gap in your CV?”. Now I am fiercely proud of my motherhood and had dreamed of having kids since I was little. However after the reactions (in this interview and the few after this) when I replied “I had a baby and stayed at home for a couple of months” made me very soon stop proudly saying this. I simply did not hear anything back from the companies I revealed this to.
I soon learnt the truth did not set me free.
Anything was better. “I took some time off and freelanced” was what I eventually went with. Not quite the truth, but not totally a lie. It hurt to say it every time. It was like I was denying my motherhood and yet I knew if I wanted to get work and earn an income to be able to look after the kids I had no choice.
Eventually, I got back into the workplace. Truth is I am blessed with great friends. An old friend knew I was looking for work and her husband had a few months opening where he needed someone to fill in. Why? Trues Bob and funny enough his permanent employee who I was filling in for was herself on maternity leave.
It got me thinking.
Watching Liza tonight reminded me of how hard it was trying to get back into the industry one loves when the industry seems to see one as, uh, a liability. Why is it so hard for moms who have taken time off to raise kids to get back into the business we loved. Do companies not think that stay-at-home moms would not keep up-to-date on changes in a career they loved?
In my case, I had a barely six-month gap on my CV when I wanted to go back to work. What about moms who have a few years gap? I really do wonder if this is an issue for stay-at-home dads? Or is this an experience limited to women.
Why does the world still totally undervalue stay-at-home moms?
Why is staying at home to look after a new baby for a few months (or longer to be involved in the early years of your kids’ lives) somehow wrong?
Have you struggled to return to work after a baby? I would love to hear your opinions and stories? What do you wannabe ex-stay-at-home-moms out there do, if you do not have great friends who create opportunities for you?
Are there more Liza’s out there? What did you do when you wanted to go back to work?