How to Keep a Competitive Edge While Being a Stay-At-Home Mom
Here are ten ways in which you can be a stay-at-home mom and still foster a working advantage.
Everyone knows that being a stay-at-home mom is a 24/7 job. While caring for your kiddos can be all consuming, you should still try to keep a connection to your previous life as a working gal.
Update your LinkedIn profile. Just because you're currently employed as Mom (household CEO), you shouldn't abandon your professional LinkedIn profile. First, pour through your profile and complete any missing areas. Once your profile has been updated, reach out to former colleagues and add them as connections -- you might even ask for a recommendation as well.
Pursue your passion. Let's say life before babies was all about dollars and cents in your accounting career. Find a way to weave in what you love to do with your current SAHM status. It will keep the spark alive and remind you of who you were before becoming a mom. (Extreme couponing, anyone?)
Go back to school. One or two nights a week, dust off your textbooks and get schooled. It's crucial to know the latest updates in your industry, even if you're taking a mommy sabbatical. Being in school will refocus your thinking in a new way, adding energy, knowledge, and inspiration to your life.
Stay connected to former colleagues. Sure, you miss your former work place pals, but being a SAHM is no reason to cut those office ties. Send a quick IM on Google chat or text your former cube mates to see what they're up to. Staying in the know socially is just as important as staying abreast of all the latest cutting edge technology in your industry.
Offer to teach. You were a hit at Career Day when you showed the kids how to make a pinhole camera from a milk carton. So offer to teach some classes to various grades at your child's school. Talking about your career -- and teaching it to young minds -- will reinforce your passion and be a great detail to add to your resume.
Join a professional association. When you were in high school, you loved hanging out with the students in the drama department. You'd sit and gab for hours about soaps and celebs. Similarly, joining a professional association allows you to be with like-minded people who are passionate about the exact same things as you are. It's an excellent opportunity to meet new people, network, and get out of the house -- without having to bring a stroller and diaper bag.
Talk with other SAHMs. Nothing beats advice from those who have walked a mile in your shoes. So the next time your kids are playing in the park, talk to some of the moms nearby to get a sense of how they stay connected to their former lives as career women. You might discover a really great idea that you can customize to fit into your lifestyle.
Challenge yourself. Before you decided to stay home to raise your family, you worked as one of the best bakers in the city. Now, you whip up dessert by opening a box and adding water. Don't let your skills sink to the bottom of the brownie bowl, though. Instead, set small weekly (or monthly) goals for yourself to keep your mind sharp and your creativity challenged. Not only is it a great way to express your originality, but it will also help keep you moving forward, both personally and professionally.
Stay social. Today, everyone has a social media footprint. If your only foray into social media is occasional updates of your kid's t-ball wins, take advantage of this time to build up your media presence. You can create a Facebook page or form a Twitter feed to fill with some of your previous work accomplishments, as well as some of your most recent endeavors. If you choose to head back into the world of job interviewing, you have a ready-made online portfolio that you can use to highlight your work -- and show off your social media skills.
Find a flex job. There's no better way to stay competitive than to actually be out there in the market. Try finding a part-time telecommuting position that will allow you to work when you want to, but still be a stay-at-home mom to your family. That way, you'll have the best of both worlds.
Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.