How to Approach a Career Leap as a Working Mother

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Gladys Simen33
Life Coach for working mothers

Being a mom is synonymous with being comfortable with change; anything can happen, sometimes at a minute's notice! And you quickly get into the habit of becoming chief security officer and/or chief planner officer so that everything goes pretty smoothly for you and your family.

Mommyhood brings change and the power of adaptability. You always figure most things out when it comes to it and learn a ton. Living the present moment, working, enjoying, and many more! Let’s be real: It is a lot of stress to work and raise a kid(s) on a good day. One common misconception about working moms is that they are less ambitious when it comes to their professional lives. It couldn’t be less true at least for a good majority of working moms I am seeing in my coaching practice. Being a mother doesn’t make us less ambitious, professionally.  However, the prospect of a career leap /change/promotion could add more to your already full hands! In my humble opinion, opportunities come and go every time.  Choosing the right one for you, your career, and your family is a combination of mindset and timing.

Let’s talk mindset first.

Adding anything new to an existing routine, will more often than not require adjustment. And may take us on a little emotional rollercoaster for a little while.  A new role, job, or career is no different. That’s where the mindset comes to play. It’s important we are in the right frame of mind especially when a big change is on the horizon! 

A strong mindset allows us to move the needle bit by bit, to achieve our BIG dreams and live our BIG lives. It allows us to see opportunities when others see challenges and keep us going when others would feel demoralized. Besides an opportunity mindset, together with your own values, is the safety net where you can look for confidence, focus, and momentum to get to that leap! Embracing the possibility of opening yourself up to the opportunity flow mindset, you will provide a conducive environment for your combined motherhood and career journey. Focusing on what we want, not letting the big picture out of sight, increases the chances of getting there.

One of the first things I recommend is to check on us, physically and mentally: 

  • How is our confidence level? 

  • Are we clear on what we are bringing to ANY table in terms of skills and knowledge? Like unapologetically clear? 

  • Are we brave and strong enough to embrace failing forward? Or rejection?

Sometimes, when you don’t feel supported, or fulfilled with your current job and/or career trajectory, you can feel frustration, discouragement, and resign yourself to a “self-imposed“ fate. While I am a big proponent of experiencing feelings as opposed to suppressing them, I am encouraging you to take a step towards changing and becoming more self-aware. Self-aware of you, your unique combination of skills and expertise, and what the “dream” job can bring to your table too!  

What part of the situation you are in,  can you affect? What aligned so closely with your values? 

  • It’s time for a plan or your exit strategy. Define some realistic timelines and walk backward to define steps and milestones! It could be talking to someone in your network, getting a mentor, applying for a new job, or role, preparing your resume... you get the drill!

  • Build a routine and keep it consistent. It doesn’t have to be fancy and/or complicated. If you dedicate let’s say 30 minutes a day to work towards your goals, it’s time well spent that would benefit you in the near future. Think about it and make it work for you! And throw an accountability partner - or a few - to keep you on schedule. If you don’t know where to start, a coach is a good person to help you on that journey of yours.

  • Don’t be too comfortable. As the famous saying goes, nothing grows in the comfort zone. Fear and Anxiety can do a good job holding us back when we are facing stretch goals. If you want what you don’t have ( yet ), you have to be prepared to do what you haven’t done (yet) even if it’s scary or uncomfortable for a little while. It gets better, don’t get discouraged. And whilst we are on the topic, embrace setback(s) and failure(s). The road to success is seldom a straightforward one. Every difficulty is an opportunity to regroup, change direction and thus grow. You’ve got this! 

  • Don’t forget about the people who support you, aka the cheering squad. Whether they are work relationships, friendships, or couples, go where you can find the love, acceptance, and help you, your career, and your family deserves. And for those children of yours, seeing their mom going after her dreams is motivation enough to go after their own dreams! 

 Is it the right time for me?

When is a good time to change?

Those are the million-dollar questions many moms probably ask themselves when an opportunity comes and knocks at their door. By asking yourself this, you can examine new possibilities from a different point of view. 

When my kids were young, any thoughts of career change were put on the back burner. For me, it was important to be present and enjoy them as much as possible. 

As they grow older and become more independent, I realized it was a good time to pivot to other interests of mine, some of those professionally. 

There’s no good or bad answer to that question by the way. It will be your answer and it will be the best option for you, your needs, and your family if you prioritize what is more important to you in each moment and season of your life, you can better prepare yourself and succeed!

We all grow, learn and change. What you wanted to be at 16 is certainly different from what your dreams are now. This fluidity allows us to (re) evaluate if/when our current situation is still aligned with our goals and the life we want now.

Time also helps us to measure success, and set against those long-term goals we may have established already. Things that may not work now, may be a perfect fit in two years. Or vice versa. 

We talked about the importance of having a cheering squad, like-minded people that keep that mindset of yours strong. When you decide to embark on a new adventure, you want a well-oiled machine behind you to make you successful. That village can and will make a huge difference, even with very little notice to spare. When it comes to chores, children care, and whatnot, make sure you make members of your “village crew” truly appreciated. Some moms prefer their crew small and tight-knit, but don’t let that stop you should you want to extend your reach. One of the working moms I recently coached had a friend in a foreign country who taught the language to her kids in exchange for knitting scarves and mittens for her friend’s children. You certainly can be creative like that!  

Shift towards the “new you.”

A leap may imply a big jump towards something, but like all big journeys, it has to start with little steps that you will do consistently. So over time, those little steps could turn into something much bigger. Opportunities come and go, all the time. When you approach a career change or any life change with that in mind, your most significant obstacle will be the people that can adapt and evolve with that new version of you being created. 

Don’t let those stand in the way of the life you want and deserve, at the right time for you. Surround yourself with people that will motivate you, because, with the right mindset at the right time, you are simply unstoppable. I will be cheering for you on the sidelines!

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Gladys Simen is a life coach for moms trying to balance work and family life. She is a life enthusiast who lived in 5 different countries and mastered 2 languages. It took becoming a fabulous mama for her to tap into some BIG superpowers within herself. She is passionate about helping women live big, beautiful, shooting-for-the-stars kinds of lives. Gladys considers herself an advocate for the working mama! 

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for moms looking to make a career leap? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!