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Why the return to work after a career break for childbirth and looking after our children might actually put you at an advantage.
We all know it’s not an easy comeback. Being a mother is extremely rewarding and overwhelming in various ways. The little one comes to your life and your world changes. Many of us were in active careers, in an extremely happy space with respect to the progress we were making, and suddenly we have to think about a break.
Many of us take this break consciously, as spending time with the little one is crucial in the first few years of their lives. Also it’s one of a kind of experience – we are pretty new to this journey and want to enjoy it. Yes, we have partners who can take care of the bills and the financial burden of the family. For single parents all I can say is “Kudos to you guys!”
After few wonderful years of bliss, being a part of your child’s life, their first walk/talk, starting school, soccer, swimming, you decide to return back to your career. For some of you, the comeback is easier than others. I am here to talk about the additional or more evolved skill set you bring to the table when you return to work after a child-birth-caregiving break.
We are way better with time after we have children. We become extremely adept in prioritizing duties and allotting time to each one. Specially, when you are the caregiver. More specifically, when you stay in a foreign land with no help, you have to use each and every minute cautiously.
For example, when your child sleeps, maybe a two-hour window if you are lucky – get all the possible stuff done. Laundry, cooking, cleaning. You have to keep Plan B ready in case your darling gets up in less than an hour. It’s an amazing skill set you add on when you have a child at home. You’ll be an excellent time manager when you return to work.
Frankly, if you want to increase your patience, have a child.
One of the most important attribute your child teaches you is to be patient. You have to be extremely patient when it comes to your little ones be it food, sleep, play… nothing will go as planned. You cannot shout, cannot be logical most of the time ( because they don’t understand), all you can do is to wait it out.
In working scenarios, our patience goes out, and we just can’t wait and it hurts us in many ways. After being a parent, you are going to be way ahead in it. You’d learn to give the required time and wait patiently for results.
Listening is a very important skill for you to deliver in the work world.
It’s extremely important to listen to what your colleagues are saying, which many of us often fall short on and try to punch in our own opinions in between conversations. As a parent, you don’t have that option. You have to hear out your little one, and not only that, be extremely excited about it and be encouraging so that he/she talks more about their experiences to you. I seriously lag in this. But I think after being a parent, I have improved, even though marginally.
With childbirth most of us, if it’s feasible, take it slow for the first few years. The general perception is, women kinda lose focus at this time. Even if they want to comeback, it’s simply because they want to stay employed.
That is so wrong. Many of them come out way more ambitious and stronger than believed. It gives an unusual confidence to fight more and yet maintain that striking work-family balance.
Your children shadow you. You cannot preach what you don’t practice. Being a parent, I have consciously controlled my behaviour, which I didn’t earlier. It’s not that I was a monster before, but I see things with more empathy now, as I have to teach my child everyday about kindness and being nice. I get less angry than before, and have slowed down a lot, as I think being a better human being is extremely important along with being a great achiever in life.
Being hopeful has nothing to do with being a parent, one might say. That might be true, because you have to be hopeful all the time, no matter what. But the fact is, when you have a little one who comes up to you with all the hope in the world that she/he would get to be the line-leader next day in school, you can’t help but hope with them. Their little world of hope will make you even more positive and optimistic through whatever swamp you might be in.
In a nutshell, it’s not easy to resume work after a break, but what keeps you going and strong is primarily your child most of the time – other than financial obligations, an appetite to resume your career and so forth. I’m personally fighting for a comeback, but, sometimes when I feel like giving up, my not-so-little-one anymore would pop out “Work hard Mama!” just like you tell me “Try harder”.
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An Indian upbringing, educated in Economics, with a Banking profession past, relocated to United States
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