Alex Wilson

Making the choice to leave the workforce is hard. Motherhood already comes with enough pressure and decision making, but after you’ve decided to go back to work? There are a lot more decisions that need to be made.

Will you be able to re-enter the workforce at the same level of seniority? Would your income off-set the cost of after-school programs? Or would you prefer to have a nanny instead? How will your kids feel? Will you be overwhelmed by all the responsibility?

The first step is to take a deep breath. While there isn’t a definitive how-to guide on re-entering the workforce after being a full-time mom, there are some books that come pretty darn close. Here a few books to help make your transition back to work a little easier.

1. “Moms For Hire: 8 Steps to Kickstart Your Next Career,” by Deborah Jelin Newmyer

As a successful film and television producer, Newmyer was more than ready to juggle her four children alongside a revamped career. Her book was inspired by her work-life transitions and she’s broken her experience down into eight steps. By following this book, you can create a strategy that’s unique to your needs and then put it into action.

2. “The Ten-Year Nap,” by Meg Wolizter

If you’re looking for something to read just for inspiration’s sake, you’ll find it in “The Ten-Year Nap.” Wolitzer’s story follows four (fictional) women who chose to leave their careers and are now ruminating over how the decision affected their lives. While it’s not a step-by-step guide on how you get back into an office, you can use your takeaways from the story to discern how you should approach similar situations.

3.  “10 Strategies for Reentering the Workforce,” by Mary E. Ghilani

Many women want to re-enter the workforce, but not everyone is doing so for the same reason. This book recognizes the different kind of career changers and focuses on the unique challenges each faces. It can help you focus on what you need on a career level as well as on a personal level. Though the book was originally published nine years ago, it still has insights that can help you today.

4. “Act Three,” by Julie Shifman

Shifman’s work doesn’t just focus on building a new career path, it also focuses on building a new life. After all, there’s no reason you have to re-enter the workforce for the same job you had when you left it! It’s okay to dream big for your next act, so get ready to think big picture and to follow your passions. You’ll also figure out how to address obstacles in a proactive manner, so you’ll be ready for anything that inadvertently comes up.

5. “The Comeback,” by Emma Gilbey Keller

It always helps to have goals to aspire to, and “The Comeback” is full of them. Keller’s book follows seven women as they balance their families and careers across multiple industries. The stories don’t necessarily have happy endings, nor are they relatable for every working woman. They are, however, a good source of inspiration and are definitely worth a read.

6. “Lifestorming,” by Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith

This book isn’t about transitioning from full-time mommy to full-time working mom, but the advice in here will help you shape the life you dream of leading. It’s less a guide on how to transition and more a guide on overcoming fear and guilt associated with major life changes. “Lifestorming” will remind you that regardless of the scenario, you’ve got this!