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How do SAHM's return to work after a long break?

(64 Posts)
loveroflife Wed 14-Nov-12 20:45:01

I'm a SAHM to DS (2) and am now pregnant with no.2. I gave up my job in advertising after work 'made it somewhat complicated' for me to return after mat leave. My job was no longer available, but another one was miles away in a different office and not compatible with pick up/drop off times from nursery and not profitable after childcare costs and lengthy commuting.

I agreed to take redundancy and in hindsight was really forced out, but loved being at home with ds so wasn't too bothered as felt I had done a good decade of the rat race and had given everything to my career.

DH is happy for me to be at home - we have a small flat, one car and cut back on most things to manage on one salary. It's tight but we're surviving.

However, as I am now pregnant again I don't plan on returning back to the work place for another couple of years and am concerned about a 4 year gap on my CV. Will I ever be able to get another job that was similar to my previous one having had so much 'time out'? How does one explain such a large gap on their CV? There are no jobs in my industry part time and childcare is so very expensive, I feel that is just isn't worth it, but am worried about the long term implications of SAH?

Has anyone else had a similar experiences? I feel a little selfish not contributing and wanting to stay at home, but then I would hate to miss out on my DC's early years. My friend said today that I shouldn't waste my time at university, the blood, sweat and tears working my way up the corporate ladder etc and it will be difficult to get my career back.

AnyFucker Wed 14-Nov-12 20:48:57

In my profession, you don't "go back to work after a long gap". Not these days, anyway.

You stay in work and suck it up for a couple of years that you may be working to cover childcare fees and travel. But you retain your job and your status (and earning potential if your H fucks off with his secretary)

loveroflife Wed 14-Nov-12 20:56:11

I was dreading hearing that answer but am starting to realise this is indeed the case (well, hopefully not the last line.....)

Even if I get a job now I still have a large gap on CV to 'explain'. Then I'll be off again in a couple of months for mat leave and would I even get a job now evidently pregnant....**feels a bit sick and panicky**

lifeintheolddogyet Wed 14-Nov-12 20:56:25

To answer briefly the question in your thread title, I'm going back in January after a break of what will be five years by then. I found the few hours or so a week of voluntary work I was able to do during my time SAH invaluable in my application and CV. It was directly relevant to my employment sector though.

I won't be returning at anywhere near the level I was at before but that doesn't bother me as I'm more interested in pursuing a different career path now anyway.

Good luck with your choice OP.

HazelnutinCaramel Wed 14-Nov-12 20:58:22

Keep up your contacts. I'm returning to work after 4 years as a SAHM because someone I used to work with is recruiting and thought of me.

HazelnutinCaramel Wed 14-Nov-12 20:59:54

And BTW, you 'explain' the gap in your CV by telling the truth. You took a career break to look after your children while they were young. No shame in that.

XBenedict Wed 14-Nov-12 20:59:56

In my profession you are welcomed back after a career break. I have not worked for 9 years. I am currently on a 3 month "refresher" course and then I'm back!! Since starting the refresher job I have been offered 3 positions - 1 a lot more junior than I was before I left, a second at the same seniority level as I left and the third a training opportunity to further develop my career. Not all doom and gloom smile

NatashaBee Wed 14-Nov-12 21:04:13

I know it's not your actual question... but you are contributing massively! (your comment about not contributing). You're saving your husband the hassle of worrying about taking days off to be with sick kids, whether you can make it to the nursery play/school assembly, taking the kids to doctors checkups, and leaving work in time to collect them from childcare, so that he can focus on his career. It is a real juggling act trying to coordinate that kind of thing if both people work.

If you really want to work, then go for it - you may not make much after childcare expenses, but it will allow you to maintain a pension fund and a career path. It doesn't sound like you really want to go back to work though, and that you are managing financially on one salary, so there's nothing wrong with staying at home if it works for you. I agree with the advice to keep in touch with your contacts - is there anything you can do freelance/part time to keep your hand in a little?

OpheliaPayneAgain Wed 14-Nov-12 21:09:08

I travelled and had an internet business. yeah yeah, a couple of holidays and an eBay account. Mind you I pettered my time off with school vunluntary work and caring for a neighbour with terminal cancer.

Do a couple of courses and claim to have returned to education.

Anyone with the gift of the gab can fill a hole in a CV.

Fairyliz Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:01

I work in the public sector the most equal of employers. However 12 years after going back I am still not at the same level I was at pre children. Sorry but I think this is one of the truths you are not told about when pregnant.

Shakey1500 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:19

Same as Hazelnutincaramel I've returned to FT work after a gap of 5 years (couple of years PT weekend work). It's in a different profession from my previous full time career. In my CV I put (insert dates from-to) "I chose to spend this time at home following the birth of my son"

It wasn't questioned or referred to at all.

Frontpaw Wed 14-Nov-12 21:13:50

I went back after 7 years part time. Ok so the job was a shitty nightmare and the position was made redundant after 18 months, but I got back in the saddle! Now working at a much lower level but at least I'm not coming home ready to kill or dreading sunday nights!

LDNmummy Wed 14-Nov-12 21:16:56

I'm starting off with a part time Christmas position in retail. I am overqualified but I will sharpen up my transferable skills and will be able to slowly adjust myself back to a work environment.

I love retail and customer services and find the people skills invaluable. I think dealing with the public will knock me out of my baby brain haze.

After that I will find something more permanent but still part time. I am not rushing to go back to work though and don't need a full time wage right now.

fossil97 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:18:09

I can answer the CV question - you put Maternity Leave/career break. It is completely legitimate thing to do with a few years of your life - it's not as if a recruiter will imagine your children were magicked out of nowhere.

How you explain that you are still up to speed with your previous job and demonstrate your commitment to picking up and continuing your career is the million dollar question. Unfortunately the world of work is still dominated by the full time, no-breaks culture which favours workers with no family/caring commmitments: ie normally the childless or parents with a SAH partner or FT childcare.

Don't at all apologise for being at home - it's not an extended holiday even if it's nice change from corporate life. Looking after children is a demanding full time role - that's why you have to pay someone else so much to do it. Your contribution to the family unit is providing childcare, your DH's is providing income - give and take on both sides.

CuriosityCola Wed 14-Nov-12 21:18:54

Sorry don't have any suggestions, but I'm in a very similar position. Dh and I are both very happy with my choice to be a sahm. I often fret over my future though and worry about how I am perceived 'just a sahm'. sad

I agree. You say what you did, which was maternity leave. No shame in that or need to pretend it was something else. In your covering letter/email you detail the skills that you have acquired during this time that are relevant for the job 'prioritising, time management, patience....' Agree with hazelnut who says keep your contacts up though. That is invaluable, both for what's happening in terms of professional skills and developments and for job opportunities/references.

In my situation, I have chosen to work locally and part-time which means that my options are somewhat limited but I have found something which is reasonable. I do work in a very female field, so that may make it easier for mums to return. I do think that realistically I won't go back to working as I used to do though, at least not for quite some time as it doesn't tie in with the family life that I strive for.

I'm the opposite - struggled through past 8 years of working, both full-time and part-time, after two periods of Maternity leave (partner works away from home for six months of the year). I have had enough, now off sick from current job and never going back. I don't care about 'CV gaps' - I don't care about much at the moment. (I gave 20 years to my career previously)

Taking time out to raise your children should not have to be explainable on a CV, sadly there's no attached value to being a SAHM, or a WOHM for that matter (ime)

You seem to have accrued loads of skills - budgeting, time - management, problem solving - and will accomplish juggling to the nth degree when DC2 comes along!

fossil97 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:09:46

Are you on Linkedin for example, that would be one way to keep in touch?

WildWorld2004 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:41:28

I took five years out of work to raise my dd. i volunteered for three of those years. I have always written both of these things on my cv. Im not ashamed to say i took time out to raise my child. Neither should any sahm.

lifeintheolddogyet Thu 15-Nov-12 07:01:08

To add to what the other posters have said, my choice to be with my young DCs was never questioned or discussed at all. My new boss likes that I've been very local for the last five years and know many of the families that use his service!

Himalaya Thu 15-Nov-12 07:19:37

As others have said you don't need to "cover up" time as a SAHM on your CV.

The other thing about going back to work, I would say is to make sure your DH is willing and able to support you by stepping up his side of parenthood when you go back to work.

The danger is that while you are at home he, and his employer get used to never having to think about pickup/drop off times, sick days and school holidays etc... At the same time his wages go up, you move to a bigger house tied to his earning power (perhaps with a longer commute).

If when you come to go back to work if all the childcare organising, cost, lack of flexibility falls on you, it will be much harder to find a job that fits.

LivesInJeans Thu 15-Nov-12 07:29:01

Absolutely don't cover up the time spent being with your children. It's not a problem

Depends on your field as regards returning. I could pick my job up quickly if I had a long break.... Within 3months I'd be 'back'

My employer could probably put someone in the role who wouldn't need 3 months to get back to it though! That's the issue. Not 'can you do it' but as an employer has choices 'why' would they choose you?

Best thing is to return to similar field and get experience again so that you are that person who go straight into a job.

Spatsky Thu 15-Nov-12 07:34:35

It depends on your profession and requires some luck but I've been tapping up old contacts to get dribs and drabs of freelance work over the last few years which is pocket money and gives me stuff to put on my cv. Is that a possibility for you?

Can you go self employed and work on small contracts that fit around home life?

coldcupoftea Thu 15-Nov-12 07:43:39

I had 2 years off and found a part time job after about 6 months of searching, signing up for relevant job bulletins, pursuing local companies in my field etc. However after a year I hated the commute and stress for v little gain after paying childcare and travel costs.

I did some volunteering in schools and was lucky enough to get a TA job in a school down the road. Yes the pay for 30 hours is less than half what I previously earned for 21 hours but I have no travel costs and in a couple of years will have no childcare costs, so the actual take home pay will be more!

If you arr serious about it I would say think about how you can keep your skills up and/or retrain, approach local businesses and use Linkedin and contacts you already have to stay in the loop.

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