Becoming a mother is one of those transitions in life that you can never go back from. Once it has happened, you will inevitably be forever changed.
It also, in my experience, offers a woman the rare opportunity to reinvent themselves. If you are a woman that is 100% happy in your career, I applaud you and will say now, this article most likely was not written for you. This post is for those of us who feel drawn to take another look at our work identity after children come into the picture.
After taking leave to birth and rear children many mums consider doing something different to before, or perhaps studying, or starting a business, or a side hustle, especially as many of these things can occur more flexibly with digital modes of delivery and participation.
In the United Kingdom:
“Fewer than one-in-five of all new mothers, and 29 per cent of first-time mothers, return to full-time work in the first three years after maternity leave. This falls to 15 per cent after five years.
17 per cent of women leave employment completely in the five years following childbirth, compared to four per cent of men.
A woman’s likelihood of returning to work in the years after birth is independent of the number of children she has; what matters to her likelihood of working is her employment status the year before her child is born.
Mothers who leave employment completely are three times more likely to return to a lower-paid or lower-responsibility role than those who do not take a break.
For new mothers – but not fathers – staying with the same employer is associated with a lower risk of downward occupational mobility but also with lower chances of progression.”
Professor Harkness from the University of Bristol, quoted in the article above, goes on to say,
“Women who return to the same employer risk becoming stuck in their job roles with limited career progression.” This might go some way towards explaining another reason why women are reluctant to return to the same roles after having children.”
As someone who has reinvented my own career after the birth of each of my three children, I feel like it’s a topic I can speak to from the heart.
A Winding Career Pathway
My career began in Public Relations for a boutique agency specialising in wine and food. I then went on to work in the Film industry and also as a Legal Administrator on the side. Once my first child was born I worked in Arts Administration and studied Residential and Commerical Building attaining a Diploma and working for a residential builder full time for one year as I completed the qualification on a part-time basis and solo parenting my son.
Once I met my (now) husband when my son was 7, we were trying to conceive and I was working part-time as an Operations Assistant for an Aviation Risk-Management consultancy. Following the birth of our first (and my second) child, I studied Secondary School Education, became a casual teacher and trained in digital marketing. Since 2009 I was also writing this blog and learning about digital content creation.
No straight-forward is it?
The Holstee Manifesto
Now, allow me to either introduce you to or remind you of, the Holstee Manifesto. It is an emotive and inspiring piece of writing that I love to read every now and again to check myself and make sure I’m living according to my deeper values.
It is one of the reasons that my business now involves mentoring people like you, with this blog and our membership community, the Soul Mamma Collective. It is also why I’m training for a Black Belt and instructing a women’s class in Hapkido.
So, my love, I want you to know you deserve to discover your ultimate driver in life. I’m here to help you tune in and get more authentic with your day-to-day.
To that end, I’m gifting you this old link “How to find your purpose – a list of resources” as a starting point. It helped me back in the day, and maybe it will help you too.
Where to get help?
If you get stuck, and you want to know some more ways to cut through the ambiguity and uncertainty and get clear, go here and ask me anything.
Go on, you know you want to, right?
Alena Turley is a founder, mentor, ethical content creator and mother of three based on Sydney's Northern Beaches. She is equal parts loved and fired up to support mums in making deep and lasting changes inside and out. We at the Soul Mama Hub acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we live, learn and create and invite you to feel deeply and tread lightly.