No matter what your prior expectations of motherhood, the reality is that it is often relentless and exhausting. Taking some time out in order to concentrate on your child (whilst mainlining coffee) could be the best decision for both you and your baby.
There’s also the financial aspect; sending your baby to a nursery or childminder can make you weep when, at the end of the month, you look at your finances and realise you haven’t got enough money leftover to buy a packet of jaffa cakes.
However, although I think we can all agree that the ‘Mummy Gap’ shouldn’t be an issue in 2020, a lot of women find that it can completely knock their confidence when applying for jobs.
If this is you, then read on for some top tips for making a successful ‘Mumback’:
As your parents so rightly said, lying won’t get you anywhere, but omitting the finer details can make your career gap seem less imposing.
Remember that time spent on annual leave or maternity leave is still counted within your employment, and you don’t have to disclose this.
So, for example, in this very boring example Susan was an Office Administrator. She started her job in August 2014, and went on maternity leave during December 2017. She took a year’s maternity leave followed by her accrued annual leave entitlement, and then decided in January 2019 not to return to her job. Her CV can state ‘Office Administrator, 2014-2019’.
Although she hasn’t actually set foot in an office since 2017, the new way of dating her CV implies almost two extra years of employment, whilst still being factually accurate.
…But Be Honest
No matter how you dress it up, an employer is going to notice if you have a break of a few years on your CV.
Don’t go into huge amounts of waffle or irrelevant detail; the dates followed by a simple ‘Planned Career Break’ should cover it.
If they want to discuss it at interview then be truthful; your colleagues are going to find out that you have kids eventually so for goodness sake don’t lie about it, but you don’t have to talk about your personal life in detail if you don’t want to.
Avoid Using ‘Mother’ As A Job
While motherhood is indeed one of the hardest jobs there is, it really has no place on a professional CV. It is widely accepted that putting ‘mother’ among the jobs on your CV is going to find it filed straight in the bin, so don’t do it.
Fill In The Gaps
Technology moves fast, and you don’t want to be left behind – you don’t want to be the office Grandma who needs help finding her files. Fill in those knowledge gaps through online courses; you can find a lot for free on the internet.
As well as improving your chances of sounding like you know what you’re talking about, it helps to show that you are taking steps to prepare yourself for the workplace.
Showcase Any Relevant Experience
Unless the job you’re going for is extremely niche, no one cares that you were able to change a nappy in 14 seconds and catch a flying poo in mid-air.
However if you helped manage the local toddler group, were treasurer of the PTA, or started your own Work at Home business, then that is all relevant experience which you can use to show that your brain didn’t entirely go into hibernation, so include it!
Remember Your Strengths
Take time to reconnect with old colleagues, switch your ‘work brain’ back on and remember what you were good at. You’ll be surprised what you remember!
Do Not Feel Ashamed
Crucially, don’t feel the need to apologise or feel ashamed for your time out of the workplace.
Stress instead how eager and ready you now are to get back into the workforce, and how you’re looking for a new (less poopy) challenge to take on.