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Ask A Therapist: Any Advice for a Mom Returning to the Workforce After Kids?

Career, Parenting, Ask a Therapist
4 min read

Dear Therapist: I’ve been out of the work-world for 7+ years, raising kids and I’m finally returning with feelings of nervousness, doubt and, of course, anxiety. I haven’t looked for jobs in so long it feels like I forgot how to! I’m 38 and I’ve been out of the loop in this space for years. I’d love any thoughts/guides on how to not let those facts cloud my confidence.

Frame Therapist Rosalinda Guerra weighs in...
First of all, I want to congratulate you on taking this new step in your life. One thing is for sure, it is completely normal to feel nervous, anxious, and have doubts. This is a new transition in your life! This new phase is also an exciting time. You will be able to use what you have learned about raising kids and applying it to searching for jobs and confidently working through the career you choose.  

Keep These 3 Things in Mind when Returning to the Workforce after Kids

  • Recognize your achievements

Take a moment and look at what you have achieved in the past 7 years. Being a stay-at-home parent equips you with some strengths. You have worn so many hats throughout your days that have equipped you to be responsible, prompt, disciplined, and compassionate. Think about these strengths, or any others that come to mind, and create a list that you will be able to see every day. When you feel like your confidence is low, take a look at the list of strengths you have acquired to remind yourself about the last 7 years that have prepared you for this moment.

  • Set reachable goals

Set small goals; the smaller the better. By setting goals you gain motivation and a sense of purpose in your work. I encourage you to break down your goals from short-term (within the next couple of days or weeks) to long-term goals (within the next months or year). For example, short term goals can be, spending each day looking for and completing 1-2 applications; long-term goals can be moving up from your current position. No matter how you break down your goals, be aware that there may be challenges (salary is not what you expect, time spent with children may be less, or not getting a job) that will occur. Account for the challenges and decide if you will let them break your confidence or if you will change or make a new goal depending on your circumstances.  

  • Practice self-compassion

Lastly, have self-compassion. What would you say to a friend who is not feeling too confident in going back to the workforce? Now, say that to yourself. You may be your biggest critic, and when it comes down to what jobs or work hours you want to do, decide based on your current needs and home life.   


About the author: Rosalinda Guerra, LPC, LCDC is a licensed therapist based in Rio Grande City, Texas. Rosalinda specializes in working with anxiety and depression. To learn more about Rosalinda, visit her Frame profile here. 

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