Menu

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.

A photo posted by Motherly (@mother.ly) on

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.

FEATURED VIDEO

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.

3. Volunteer.

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.

You can pick up freelance jobs, part-time work or even project-based work through websites like The Mom Project, which connects highly educated women to companies in need of short-term work.

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.

Join Motherly

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners