Have you been on maternity leave or had time out from the rat race to bring your children up? Are you maybe thinking about going back to work or looking for a change of career direction? Easier said than done. Where do you even start when you’ve been living in a bubble of CBeebies, dirty nappies and parent groups?
You might be wondering if you still have the necessary skills to enter back into the world of work. Are employers looking for someone who is able to name all Peppa Pig’s annoying little friends by their voice alone? Probably not, so I’ve had a think about what potential new employers could be looking for. This is mostly based on the skills I have acquired (some rather reluctantly) since becoming a parent, all of which I think are totally transferrable into the world of work. I’ve also made some suggestions for careers you could possibly venture into.
- Negotiating – if you can persuade a toddler that sweet potato is a dessert or that they really do have to put clothes on to go to nursery then yes, you can more than handle multinational, multilingual contract negotiations. In fact, that will probably be easier.
- Multi-tasking – you have learned to simultaneously breast feed while you go for wee, disturbing neither the baby or wetting yourself. You can do a full face of makeup and straighten your hair with one hand while changing a nappy with the other. You can multi task the shiz out of anything an employer throws your way and not even break a sweat.
- Time keeping – you will never be late for work EVER because you can’t actually wait until your working day starts and you can have a hot brew, enjoy adult conversation and have the time to finish a task without being interrupted ten times to change the TV channel or prepare a snack.
- Patience – You read The Hungry Caterpillar ten times a night, every night. Patience is definitely one of your virtues. Having to deal with those really annoying customers who ‘don’t know what they want’ will be a breeze compared to this.
- Team player – Because let’s face it, you never get to do anything on your own since becoming a parent (take a bath, go to the loo) without a sticky toddler clamped to your left leg.
- Artist – As soon as you become a parent you acquire a craft drawer which mysteriously fills up with paints, crayons, coloured paper and glitter. The artist in you will flourish.
- Night shift worker – You’ve not slept since your kids were born so you may as well get paid to be up all night.
- UN Peacekeeper – You’ve been on the brink of World War Three several times when your kids want to play with the same piece of plastic tat they found at the park and you always safely and calmly diffuse the situation with both sides retreating peacefully.
- Politician – Because as soon as our kids are old enough to understand us we start lying to them. Santa? The tooth fairy? “Yes, we’re nearly there darling,” “Yes you can totally be a dragon trainer when you grow up.” Lies, lies, lies – Westminster is calling you.
- NHS worker – You administer Calpol like a pro at the faintest hint of a temperature or tooth cutting through. You put magic cream on cuts and grazes. You hold the sick bowl and their hair throughout the night when they’ve caught the latest round of D&V circulating nursery. You can make most ailments better with a magic mummy or daddy cuddle. All without ten years at university and saddling yourself with a life time of debt.
In all seriousness though, you have the skills and capabilities to go back to work. Everyone has their strengths just make sure you play to them. If you believe in yourself then others will too. I’m not going to lie, it’s exhausting. Some weeks you will fail on your quest to achieve a decent work/life balance. You will sometimes feel guilty for putting your kids in after school club, other days you will feel like you are on a mini break without them. It’s all normal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are awesome. Go out and do it for you.
Have you acquired any new skills relevant to the work place since becoming a parent? What do you think of my suggested career paths? I’d love to hear from you.