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|8 Out Of 10 Mums Say|
Returning to work after having children can be a daunting prospect for mothers for many reasons.
The trauma of separation from their children, the fear of not knowing what's changed while you've been away, or even the stress of juggling work and family.
Research shows that two-thirds of all mothers now return to work after having a baby - an increase of 50 per cent since The Eighties. The research also reveals that almost 70 per cent of mothers with children under five now work, up from just 38 per cent ten years ago.
According to occupation psychologist Sherridan Hughes: "The job market has changed significantly for women in the last twenty years. We are far more likely to go back to work after having a baby and we are also taking less leave, before and after childbirth. Some of us may feel this is due to financial pressures but others may be seeking to minimise interruptions to their careers."
Whether you're looking to get back into work or you haven't made up your mind yet, the Careers Advice Service can help you. They have developed a six point plan to support mums who are going back to work.
Tip 1: Be RealisticHonestly assess your situation and understand your true motivations for returning to work to help you make an informed decision
♦ Think about why you want to return to work - Is it for your career progress or because you simply need the money?
♦ Consider carefully both the financial and emotional implications surrounding childcare. You may not realise how much you will miss your child and you may even end up resenting the carer who is looking after them!
Tip 2: Consider something newThink about whether you want to return to your previous field or place of employment, or try something new.
♦ Are you returning to your old job, or are you ready for a brand new career?
♦ Don't be put off from exploring new ideas, even if you may be doubting your own abilities after time out from the workplace - you'll be surprised at what you can do
Tip 3: Network, Network, NetworkDon't be afraid to talk to those around you about your professional intentions
♦ Use your network of friends, other mothers at your playgroup, and even family members for support, they can all help you keep in touch with what is happening in the workplace
♦ Talking about your plan to return to work and sharing insights with friends and family - who may even know of a job opening - will be a source of inspiration
Finding the right volunteering opportunity can help you keep your skills relevant whilst giving something back to the community
♦ Brushing up on your existing skills or training to learn new ones, can give you a real advantage when you start looking for work and will get you noticed by employers
♦ It may not be possible to secure a paid position immediately, but volunteering, retraining, or even securing work experience will all help bolster your CV and, more importantly, boost your confidence
Tip 4: Stay in the loop.Keep as up to date as you can with what is happening in your industry, so you don"t feel out of your depth or out of touch
♦ Keep in touch with workplace changes and trends online to get to grips with what's happening
♦ If you know people in your field, such as former colleagues or even your old boss, why not meet them for a coffee; they may well pass on invaluable advice and suggestions
Tip 5: Don't underestimate yourselfAlthough you may not feel confident after time away from the workplace, try to remember all the skills you have developed both at work and beyond
♦ Don't feel scared, or even guilty, about going back to work - it is perfectly possible to be a devoted mum AND a successful working woman
♦ Remember that as a busy mum, you have already been perfecting skills such as budgeting, time management and even negotiating (with your wilful toddler!)
There are a number of funding options available to help you return to work. Ask a Careers Adviser about Sure Start or log onto www.direct.gov.uk. You may also be entitled to free childcare.
Official Website: www.direct.gov.uk/careersadvice
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