Taking a career break to have your kids can be challenging for some and game-changing for others, but a common theme amongst all women seems to be a lack of confidence around if and when they do decide to return to the workforce. I understand this feeling, but it’s just not something that’s justified or fair. That’s why I wanted to share some tips on how you can build your confidence and make your career work for both you and your family.
Family vs work
Don’t feel like you have to compromise family for work, neither have to be mutually exclusive and it’s possible to balance both in a healthy way. It’s important to be able to take time for yourself, your own development and goals. If getting back to your career is part of that focus, then don’t give yourself a hard time about it.
Think of all the new things you have learnt about yourself from having kids. Utilise these lessons to empower yourself to feel confident in your abilities when thinking about getting back into work. Use them as a motivation in your working life to be able to contribute in some way to their future either financially or through the work you do. For me, my business purpose really ramped up after I had my kids and I was much more aware of the positive impact Whole Kids could have on social and environmental outcomes for children. It helps me to know that I can honestly say I’m doing everything I can to make their future brighter.
I believe it’s important to offer a supportive work environment for parents, especially women who are returning to work, which is why I employ an all-women team with half of them being parents. Much of this revolves around flexibility and trust to let my team balance time with their families whilst still being able to work efficiently and deliver on their work goals. Look for a work environment that supports you where you can find balance.
Be open to the fact that your priorities will become transient and your focus will shift from family to work as it’s needed. Stay flexible in your approach and if you are being pulled in both directions, have an honest conversation with family and work to find a temporary solution to help you out. Right now, both of my children are starting new schools and it’s a time I need to be around my family. I’m open about how much I value a work life balance and always share my journey with my team, trusting them to take initiative and step up when I am not available.
When you are at home with your family, put down the devices and be present. Despite the fact that my husband and I run a business together we try our best not to discuss work in the few precious hours we have between getting home, spending time with our kids and going to bed. We also have implemented a screen ban during this time for all of us, so we can be fully present and emotionally available for our children and not slipping away into a “quick work email”.