Mother’s Day is upon us. Flowers, gifts, lunch outings? Yes to all of that.
But beyond these, it is also about recognizing and resolving the issues that matter most to the women in your life, a key one being their career destiny.
There are over 10 million women in the U.S alone who are stay at home moms, and hundreds of millions worldwide. Being a parent first is a choice of the heart, but circumstances evolve. Children grow up but many Moms end up with misplaced career aspirations or are floundering to find answers. Lots more feel like their family can’t manage without them and there are others who struggle with confidence issues after their years away.
Returning to a Career after a break takes skills, preparation, info, but it also needs the mindset first.
As Husbands and Partners, the mantle to help women find their way to the workplace lies on your shoulders as much.
Encourage & Inform: A Career Comeback isn’t a step – it’s a process.
Sometimes a long, involved one, depending on how much time one has been away. Keeping up with the job market or entrepreneurial trends is easier for someone who’s already in that space. Share info and resources that women can use professionally. Find any useful articles and links that can help her stay current in her profession or start something new? What does she need to know about the changing world of career choices or evolving technology? Does she need to add new skills and how can she do that easily.
As first time parents, the Grahams got into the habit of sharing articles from the internet on child-care. After their twins started playschool, Lynn wanted to do something, but didn’t want to get sucked into the lifestyle of her previous corporate career. That’s when Josh encouraged to start looking at work options online. “I didn’t even know that jobs like Virtual Assistants existed. Now thanks to Josh, I’m happy to be able to work from home at my own pace and be there for my family too.”
Enable: Honey, it’s doable if you want to achieve this.
A lot of women who want to take the career steps get daunted simply because they’re already juggling a lot and don’t feel like they have the the bandwidth to add more. Yes, they’d like to work but it’s easier to shelve their own aspirations at this point. But does it have to be so?
When Kim Avery started night school for a Diploma in Pharmacology, she was very apprehensive. With four young kids and a busy spouse, it seemed like too much, too soon. But her husband Steve stepped up to the plate – he cut down his weekly Poker Night with buddies to just once a month and started what he called Fun Fridays with the children. He also took on some of their afterschool activities and after a few hits and misses, they managed to find a steady rhythm.
Empathize: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
What would a few years’ break do to your career and confidence? How would it feel if you had to start all over again? What would you expect from your partner at a time like that?
When Stan. M lost his job and was unable to find another one for over a year, his wife Angie took on part time work to help out. She also reached out to her network of PTO moms and one small introduction led to a good role at a leading software company.
Support: It’s a team effort.
A salute to every spouse and partner who helps out, but child and family care needs a constant and predictable support system. A helping hand, planned participation and prepping together for a career comeback goes a long way. But even the best laid plans will go awry.
Diya Sharma went back to her job as an HR Manager after her daughter turned 2. She hired a nanny for her daughter and planned a meticulous schedule with backup care. But things fell apart and as she struggled with keeping everything manageable, her husband Girish took time off so she could make the transition back to work without losing her mind.
What Women Want
The right help when it counts means a lot. A lot of women also feel that small things matter.
“Making custom jewelry needs money so my husband agreed to co-sign a business loan provided I did my homework on costs and profits. It worked out for us and now it’s a family venture.”
“Jeung starting walking the dog and doing school drop-offs so I could leave for work early and be back before the kids came home.”
“It sounds funny, but it was Carlos who told me about Pinterest when it was new. I managed to get so many graphic design jobs because of posting my work there.”
“Feedback helps but not too much of it. My husband used to make me so nervous before a job interview with loads of suggestions, so I stopped telling him when I had one.”
“When I started my own Consultancy business, Brian not only advised me on what to do, he actually did some of my accounting. Huge help!”
Sometimes the balance of responsibilities is skewed. Factors like frequent travel, on call professions, medical needs and many others reasons make some family-career situations more difficult for some couples than they do for others, and mutual spousal understanding is important. But if there’s a solution, each partner can and must try to make it work.
So go ahead and motivate the woman you love into grabbing that career dream.
To paraphrase that incomparable Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon Jinn “Your focus will help determine their reality!”
Luck often happens by design, so don’t give up!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates and mentors amateur and pro stock traders.
A trivia buff, travel lover and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family cooking, playing board games and watching documentaries.
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