Back To Work After Raising Kids? 5 Questions to Consider

This is a guest post from author and columnist Lisa Thomson. Lisa is a contributor to Huffington Post and Divorced Moms. To read more about Lisa and her story, visit www.LisaThomsonLive.com

This one is for the stay-at-home moms. I was one, too and I loved it while it lasted. Divorce changes everything, in a good way.

Cast your memory back, when you found out you were pregnant you were likely overwhelmed and delighted by the prospect of entering a new phase in your life; motherhood.  We want to do what’s best for our babies. Thus begins the long path of putting our children’s needs before our own.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing however as we learn years later, the decision we thought was best at one point can end up hurting us.

If you are like me and stayed home to raise your children you inadvertently have given up the prospects of furthering your career during those years. The rewards and benefits of staying home are invaluable to our children but there is a price to pay in the event of divorce.

We stay-at-home moms (“SAHMs”) are very vulnerable during divorce since we find ourselves with outdated skills and let’s be honest, at a complete career loss. What am I going to do now? we ask.  I’ve been there and I’m here to tell you it’s not as bad as it seems.  There is hope for a new beginning.

Rather than jumping in head first to the first job that will take you. Stop. Take a deep breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. How can my skills before I stayed home to raise the children, benefit me today?
  2. What are my interests, hobbies, passions?
  3. What do I have to do to update past skills?
  4. What are the cost v. benefit and time commitment to start a new education program or career?
  5. What type of work/career will be sustainable into older age?

Divorced MomsCareful analysis of these questions can lead you to some valuable answers.  The bottom line is you want to do something you are at least interested in, hopefully passionate about.

Also, if you are upgrading past skills you need to consider what it will cost and whether or not you’ll be able to continue that line of work into older age.  In other words, what are the physical demands of your previous work?

Perhaps it would be better to start over with a new career enabling longer term employment. For example, I was in the career of Phys. Ed and Recreation.  My previous work experiences were highly physically demanding and I knew there was no way I could sustain that type of work into my 50′s or 60’s. Also, after being out of the field for several years my interests and passions had changed.  So I asked myself should I invest in upgrading in a career I had little interest in?  No.  I decided to pursue a new program in Interior Design.  This made sense for flexibility of hours and sustainability of work.  I could do this type of work well into my 60′s if I wanted or had to.  Also, the program available allowed for part time study so I would still have time to care for my children.  This seemed ideal looking at the ‘big picture’.

Often during divorce your ex’s lawyer will pressure you to get a job because if you are earning an income of any kind, your ex will pay less in spousal/alimony support.  So the lawyer is trying to get your ex the best deal by encouraging you to get a job.

Yes, you will have to work, but know that the purpose of alimony and spousal support is to transition you from the marital role to independence and this includes allowing you time to upgrade and take up a new education.  So there is no need to rush out and get a minimum wage job and have no time for your children who likely still need you?

Look at this as a time of growth and new opportunities.  It isn’t the easiest transition but you will come out of it with new skills and increased self esteem. Your kids will be proud of your accomplishments too. So it’s a little scary, but taking the proper time to figure out what you want to pursue, you will be happier in the long run.

Were you a stay at home mom?  How and what did you choose for work, post divorce?

Divorced MomsLisa Thomson is the author of The Great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage, an informative self help guide full of practical tips and personal stories. Co-Parenting, Budgeting, hiring a lawyer, parental alienation, social changes to expect are all topics Lisa tackles in this all encompassing and riveting read. When not writing, Lisa loves to dabble in lots of mischief. She currently lives happily unmarried. Visit her blog to read more and you can also connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter

Purchase the e-book on Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble or purchase the paperback directly from her website

2 Comments
  1. Lisa,
    I appreciate this post. I am returning to full-time work after a long time of being at home with my 4 children. There is no doubt it is a challenging transition; and for women going through divorce, I appreciate your concern for their lawful financial position. I am transitioning to a new career path – from the music business to law and government relations. I encourage any woman considering the transition to take one day at a time, follow the path laid out for you that lines up with your heart’s desire, and be brave. There are good things ahead for you! I promise.

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