Most women who become stay-at-home mothers when their children are young intend to return to their careers someday.
And most stay-at-home moms earn money and contribute to household income, even though they define themselves as SAHMs.
Wondering how to keep your career alive even if you choose to become a stay-at-home mom?
These strategies will help you be a MOMBOSS at home + work:
1. Update your LinkedIn title to 'consultant,' 'freelance' or another term that works.
You don't have to put “stay-at-home mom" on your LinkedIn profile if you don't want to. Instead, think of creative ways to explain your new status—in a way that maintains your professional image. This leaves the possibility that a recruiter might find your profile and float you a perfect flexible opportunity. Score.
Try this: Focus the verbiage on your skills and the fact that you do your work on your terms: consultant, freelancer, independent contractor, project-based work are all terms that can fit.
2. Maintain relationships + attend industry events.
Women who let their professional networks drop when they have babies often have a hard time jumping back into the mix once the kids start school. Staying on top of industry trends and keeping up your relationships can make it much easier to find work and on-ramp once you're ready.
Try this: Grab coffee with your former coworkers. Reach out with emails to former contacts and see what's new from time to time. Attend an industry conference in the field you worked in before having a baby, or show up for an evening talk in your area of expertise. You'll keep those connections alive—and you just might find out about flexible opportunities you can do on the side.
There are infinite opportunities to keep your skills current. You can find volunteer gigs in your community or ones that you can do remotely. Ask for a title, such as “Head of Community Outreach," for example, and you've got yourself a powerful role you can add to your resume (you don't have to specify that it was a volunteer role).
Try this: Worked in accounting? Volunteer to review the books for a local community group. Digital marketer? Find a nonprofit that's looking for a strategist. Teacher? Sign up to participate in teacher education workshops at a local school.
4. Work that side hustle.
Try this: You can work at night for a few hours, on the weekends or between nap times.
5. Negotiate to work on your terms.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to working motherhood, or being a stay-at-home mom. Most women who consider themselves to be SAHMs, for example, also earn money on the side.
Try this: You can adjust any volunteer or paid work you do according to the needs of your family at any given time, so don't feel pressure to commit to something forever. Especially if you have a degree (or multiple degrees) and serious experience, you have more power than you might think when it comes to negotiating with potential employers. So be prepared to ask for what you want, whether that's one day in the office, project-based work or something else, and we won't be surprised when you get exactly that.
6. Become an online leader.
Can't head to the office every day due to the demands of managing a household? We. Get. It.
Try this: Build your brand where future employers or clients are likely to find it: online, whether through social media, YouTube, a podcast or or a blog devoted to your area of expertise.
Over time, you'll become a trusted resource and expert in that area, leading to collaborations, revenue streams and yes, future job opportunities. So blog, stream, record and post to your heart's content. You're just building that brand, mama.
Ask yourself: What skill or interest do you really want to be known for? Focus on a topic that helps you stand out—and will connect you to a community looking for info and inspiration.