Returning to Work After Life as a SAHM

For those of us who have been fortunate to enjoy the unique experience of being a stay-at-home-mom -- commonly abbreviated to SAHM -- the idea of returning to work is an alien one. Whether you have been out of the workplace for six months or 16 years, considering a return to work can feel incredibly odd, like something from another life that you have forgotten exists.

However, most SAHMs will reach a point where they want to consider returning to work. This is a healthy development, for the most part. It’s perfectly possible to always be there for your children even if you work a part-time job or return to education. You’re always going to be there for your child when required; to borrow a common phrase, you’ve got this.
Of course, while moving back into the workplace might be feasible, that doesn’t mean it won’t have its own unique set of challenges. If you’re contemplating a return to work, then you’d be wise to keep an eye out for the following occurrences-- so you can handle them like the pro you are if and when they arise.

It Will Take You Some Time To Adjust

Even if you actively love the idea of returning to a working environment, actually doing so is still going to be a real shock to the system. Up until this point, your days have focused on keeping your child/ren happy-- now, you’re going back into a competitive environment where you have to keep your boss happy too. That’s pretty jarring, not least because you’re never going to be as invested in your boss’ happiness as you are in your child’s!

So when you return to the workplace, don’t assume that you’re just going to be able to hit the ground running. It will take awhile and you may struggle with feelings of guilt, but this will ease over time.

You Might Have To Start Small (And Work Up)

The longer you have been out of the workplace, the more you might need to return to the bottom of the career ladder when you resume working. Having great work experience is wonderful, but if that work experience is a decade or more old, then few companies are going to see it as particularly relevant to the modern working environment. It might be worth taking a few vocational courses, just to set you on the right track, and ensure you have something to show you’re still dedicated to a career.

If you do have to start small and work your way back up to your rightful place, that’s okay. See it as a challenge rather than a knock on your abilities. You never know, you might fill in an Applebee's online application at for a server role and find yourself promoted to manager within a week, as your natural skills just can’t hide themselves! There’s nothing wrong with going back to the start with entry-level jobs like waitressing or basic office admin. It’s just a step in the right direction for you.

It May Take Longer Than You Anticipated To Get Hired

Employers don’t like to see gaps on a resumé, even for a completely justifiable reason like staying at home to raise your child. So don’t be surprised if it takes longer than you’d anticipated to receive a job offer. Use the lag time to update your skills or even take on volunteer work, so you can show a prospective employer that you have the time management and commitment abilities to work outside the home (albeit in an unpaid position). These might sound like small fry, but it’s a way of showing a potential employer that you’re committed to making the change, and you’re ready to put the effort in to show you’re a viable candidate.

You’ll Experience A Different Kind Of Fulfillment


Let’s be honest; it’s nigh-on impossible that you will find your life as a worker as fulfilling as being a SAHM. The two things just can’t even hope to compare to one another.

What you might experience is a different kind of fulfillment; one that is able to delight in adult company on occasion. You will likely find you are positively delighted every time you have the chance to spend time with your child/ren; even a few, part-time hours of work will feel like a lifetime, and you’ll absolutely delight in being reunited with them. So while the transition back into the workplace might be tough, it should also have a few extra benefits that make life that little bit easier.

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  1. I was a SAHM never worked in fact, never wanted to and was lucky too be married to a man who was willing to support me and his daughters

    1. That's wonderful, Jo-Anne! Lucky & blessed, indeed!


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