Does a career break lead to a career end?: Perspective of a stay-at-home mum

Six years after graduating from the university, if someone had told me that down the line I would voluntarily quit a good job to be a stay at home mum, I wouldn’t have believed it. Never in my wildest dreams!

After graduating from business school, as all graduates wish, is to get a good paying job, car, house and I would basically say, to live the life! :). I am also the typical independent lady. Common trait of a gey hey girl. I prefer to do things on my own and not rely on others. God being so good I was fortunate to get a good job straight out of university.

Five years down the line, I lost my triplets at 27 weeks. That was the fire in my life that eventually became the turning point in my life. Prior to this my focus was family but mainly by words but after this terrible experience (I have heard stories of people with worst experiences than mine which I would share later in a separate post) my priority was my family and I ensured that I put that to action this time. Family is the next important thing to have in life after God. Through all this I learnt to be a risk taker, took things cool in life and embarked on new adventures.

I would say God indeed has a reason for everything.

When I resigned to stay at home due to some pregnancy complications, I received comments such as ‘You are brave’, ‘You are so strong’, ‘Are you not scared you might not get a job when you are ready to work again?’. I just smiled and told them, ‘one can only make such decisions if only one has passed through fire before’. Yes fire, by fire am referring to any experience that results in you rethinking through your life and resetting your priorities in life. It’s not just about making resolutions but actually sticking to them and putting them to action.

In life taking a break sometimes helps you rediscover yourself. This career break/family time came with its advantages as against the spoilsports who thought a gap in my employment would not look good on my CV and future employment potential.

For those who need motivation, these are a few points I wish to share that would probably give you hope should you wish to take this bold and risky step.

1. I am gradually becoming a risk taker
Even quitting my job to stay at home to care for our baby girl for a year was risky enough. In other words people were scared I won’t land a job when I was ready to go back to work. But I disagree. You have to brand yourself well on LinkedIn and consciously work on building new professional networks. I get contacted on LinkedIn which is evidence that taking a career break is not the end of your career. I use my interview opportunities to develop myself till I find a suitable job in line with my objectives.

2. I feel I have options in my job searches
I don’t settle for just anything. I know what I want in a job. My family is and continues to be my utmost priority. So I would say am a beggar with a choice. It feels good. I am no longer a desperate job hunter. I feel I have nothing much to lose and it builds my confidence when I meet potential employers.

In my free time I do freelance work for essaywriters.net and essayology. The pay might not be high but the good side is I get paid to write and I end up studying at the same time. Note that, I am still developing myself whilst at home. I am actually learning new things.

3. Free e-learning opportunities
As a follow-up to the earlier points, I began to explore and discovered ways of still developing myself during this period. There are loads of free e-learning opportunities online. When my baby is asleep or being of good behaviour, I go online to study and develop myself. I have done courses such as Introduction to risk management, Social media and entrepreneurship etc. Don’t want to become archaic during my career break. For those interested check out the following sites: Alison,  HP life e-learning for entrepreneurs and Coursera.

4. Learning new skills and discovering new hobbies
As a an addition to point 3, I have discovered a new hobby which is crocheting baby slippers and shoes. Currently working towards creating my own designs and patterns. Good thing is I learnt all this for free online. That is now my newly discovered hobby.

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Image of crocheted shoes made by myself

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Image of slippers I crocheted for a friend

I have acquired social media marketing skills through experience and practice. Social media and business

6. Entrepreneur and business skills
I assist my sister with her business and advice her accordingly. I founded an online wedding business helping out brides to get affordable and quality gowns. So I would say I became a mumpreneur. I keep my own financials and I daily have to strategise to meet customers needs. I gained all this during my break. Am not an expert yet but it’s a good start.

7. Time management and multi-tasking skills

Most stay at home mums and even working mums will testify to the fact that childcare is full-time between diaper changes, feeding, bathing etc. You might not even have the luxury of the time to eat. I am always rushing when eating or taking a shower, I have no help at home during the day, so in all this chaos I find myself planning and making maximum use of my time. I have to squeeze in crocheting, blogging (OMT’S digest), freelance writing, online e learning, social media marketing within the shortest free time I get. Not to mention the periodic interruptions by my daughter. True test of patience. 🙂

8. Financially prudent

Not being on a monthly income has made me more prudent financially. I now value little things that I used not to. Managing your finances

I would say its been worth it and I disagree with the pessimists who believe that being unemployed for a period of time takes you off the job market. It’s all about planning, rebranding and developing yourself and acquiring new skills.

In life, if you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect someone else to?

Disclaimer: I am not by this post pushing for everyone to be a stay-at-home mum, it requires budgeting, agreeing with your spouse and planning. If your finances allow you then I would say go for it!!!

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