Reinvent Your Career After Baby – A Mom Coach’s Best Advice

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I am someone who has done it: the seemingly impossible task of having a successful career pivot after becoming a new mom. My career transition involved anxiety and fear over leaving my old job in a coveted position as an international civil servant and embracing the unknown territory of running my own business – all in the first year of my child’s life

As a professional life and career coach specializing in helping working moms forge their own path to what working motherhood looks like for them, I have compiled the most impactful advice on reinventing your career after having your first child (or second, or 10th, really!). Use those tips to create your individual roadmap to a new career path.

Why So Many Pregnant Women Think About a Career Switch

Becoming pregnant as a full time working woman was a significant turning point for me. All of a sudden I was not hyperfocused on work outcomes and my next strategic career move but I had someone else to think about. Every choice I made from that point on would affect my first baby. And like so many other first-time moms, I started reevaluating my current career.

Was my current job suitable for a thriving family life? How much time would I be spending commuting, at the the office, and how much would be left to be spent with my newborn child? How would I feel about returning to work after my short maternity leave? I mean, I was working what many would consider a dream career – wouldn’t it be frivolous to waste the time and effort I had put into it to take a break? And then what would become of me? A stay-at-home mom?

After lots of back-and-forth, introspection, and contemplation, I decided that I wouldn’t want to be away from my small child for most of the week. I also knew that I wouldn’t feel happy not doing any professional work. What I needed was a new job with a more flexible schedule that would allow me to spend less time on trains and in an office but a lot of time with my new baby, while doing meaningful work that would give me a sense of purpose.

If you are in a similar situation, know that you’re not alone. In fact, most new mothers are contemplating a career shift or a career break but not many will find the courage to go through with it.

Below are the top 10 reasons a career shift may be imminent for you.

Top 10 Reasons You’re Thinking About a Career Pivot in Motherhood

1. Changed Priorities

Motherhood often brings a shift in priorities. The desire to spend more time with the child and actively participate in their upbringing can lead mothers to reevaluate their career goals and make adjustments accordingly.

2. Work-Life Balance

Balancing the demands of a career with the responsibilities of motherhood can be challenging. Many mothers seek a career change to find a better work-life balance that allows them to be present for their children while pursuing professional fulfillment.

3. Flexibility Needs

The rigid structures of traditional workplaces may not align with the flexibility needed to meet the demands of parenting. Mothers may seek careers or roles that offer more flexible schedules or remote work options.

4. Desire for Meaningful Work

The birth of a child can trigger a reevaluation of one’s life and career purpose. Mothers may desire work that aligns more closely with their passions and values, seeking a sense of fulfillment and purpose in their professional lives.

5. Career Realignment

Some mothers use the opportunity of becoming a parent to reassess their career paths. They may realize that their current profession no longer aligns with their long-term goals or personal development, prompting them to explore new opportunities.

6. Financial Stability

The financial implications of raising a child, coupled with the potential cost of childcare, may lead mothers to reconsider their careers. Some may seek higher-paying opportunities or look for ways to increase their earning potential, while others may realize staying at home and saving money for childcare may be a financially sound decision.

7. Entrepreneurial Aspirations

The desire for greater autonomy and control over one’s schedule may inspire some mothers to explore entrepreneurship. Starting a business allows for more flexibility and the opportunity to create a work environment that suits their family needs.

8. Professional Growth

Motherhood can ignite a desire for continuous personal and professional growth. Some mothers seek new challenges and learning experiences, which may lead them to explore career paths that align with their evolving interests and skills.

9. Impact on Mental Health

The demands of juggling a career and motherhood can take a toll on mental health. Some mothers may seek a career change to alleviate stress and find a work environment that promotes well-being.

10. Role Modeling

Mothers often want to set positive examples for their children. Pursuing a career change that aligns with personal values and aspirations can serve as a powerful demonstration of resilience, adaptability, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

10 Tips to Successfully Prepare for Your Career Pivot After Baby

1. Get clarity about your values and priorities

All internal work I do on myself or with clients starts with clearly defining your values. You might think you’re old enough to know what’s important to you in life but very often values change as we enter a new season of life, and how many of us ever really take the time to look inward and check in with our changed priorities?

In the whirlwind of pregnancy and early motherhood, it will be crucial to redefine your values and priorities. What aspects of your career are non-negotiable? What sacrifices are you willing to make in your new role as a mother? What is non-negotiable for you as a caretaker and nurturer? Identifying 2-4 core values and creating a clear roadmap of priorities will help you focus on what truly matters in both your personal and professional life. I will also make decision-making so much easier.

2. Embrace the Power of Flexibility

Working with a young child will require some form of flexibility on your part. And that’s a good thing! Whether it’s negotiating flexible work hours, exploring remote work options, or a longer career break, adaptability is key. Working with a child will look a bit different than before. Remember, your career doesn’t have to fit a traditional mold. My group programs offer ample opportunities to find the best strategies and flexible arrangements that work for you.

3. Cultivate a Support Network

We all know that “it takes a village” to raise a child. The more supportive your network of friends, family or hired help is, the easier will be your adjustment to early motherhood. If you don’t have supportive friends or family around (like so many of us nowadays!), seek out a peer support group for mothers.

Try to surround yourself with individuals who understand the unique challenges of balancing career aspirations with motherhood. If you can, seek out mentorship opportunities and connect with like-minded professionals who can offer guidance and support. A professional coach can also be a great addition to your support network and can offer proactive support with your individual situation. 

4. Leverage Transferable Skills

Many successful career pivots involve leveraging transferable skills. Identify the strengths and experiences gained through motherhood that can be applied to your professional life. Effective multitasking, time management, and problem-solving are just a few examples of valuable skills developed as a parent.

5. Pursue Further Education or Training

Investing in your skill set can open new doors. Explore online courses, workshops, or certifications that align with your career goals. By staying relevant and enhancing your expertise, you’ll boost your confidence and marketability in the job market. Maternity leave or a career break can be a wonderful time to pursue further training.

6. Craft a Compelling Personal Brand

I will die on that hill: Your personal brand is your professional identity. Develop a compelling narrative that highlights your unique strengths and experiences. Whether through a polished LinkedIn profile, a well-crafted resume, or a memorized elevator pitch, ensure your personal brand communicates your value and personality to potential employers. What are they getting by hiring you?

7. Explore Entrepreneurial Opportunities

A career pivot doesn’t always mean you need to jump into the next 9-5 job. Consider entrepreneurship as a viable option. Many successful moms have built thriving businesses around their passions while staying at home with their children. Explore opportunities to turn your hobbies or skills into a profitable venture, providing both financial independence and the flexibility you desire.

8. Negotiate Effectively

Many first-time moms don’t know that they can negotiate extended leave or flexible work arrangements. Confidence and clarity are key when negotiating. Whether it’s negotiating a flexible work schedule, salary, or project timelines, approach these discussions with a clear understanding of your worth, what’s possible for your employer and a willingness to advocate for your needs.

9. Develop a Roadmap for Your Career Pivot

A well-thought-out plan can be essential for a successful career pivot. Break down your goals into manageable steps (based on the values work you did before, see point 1!), creating a timeline and action plan. Having a strategic roadmap will help you navigate challenges and celebrate victories along the way. Again, I am of course biased, but this is something professional coaching can absolutely help you with! Just saying. 

10. Practice Setting Boundaries

Last but certainly not least, remember to prioritize yourself. And by that, I don’t mean taking a bath or booking a spa day for “self-care”, I mean identifying and consistently setting healthy boundaries that will keep you from burning out. Balancing motherhood and a career pivot can be demanding, so it’s crucial to invest time in setting said boundaries. Whether it’s scheduling regular breaks, letting go or relationships or habits that no longer serve you, practicing mindfulness, or seeking professional support, taking care of yourself ensures sustained success.

What will your journey look like?

Embarking on a career pivot after having a baby is undoubtedly a challenging career journey. By combining the wisdom gleaned from my work with real mom clients, you now have a quick guide to navigating this exciting path. Remember, your journey is unique, and with dedication, resilience, and the right support, you can reinvent your career in a way that aligns with your newfound priorities.

Are you ready to reinvent your career after welcoming your bundle of joy? Connect with a community of empowered moms and professionals in my brand new peer support group for moms planning their career pivot or return to work post baby. Share your experiences, gain insights, and let’s embark on this transformative journey together. Remember, you’re not alone in this pursuit of balance and success.

More questions? Book a free 1:1 consult with me to find out more about how I can support you in achieving your goals.

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About The Author

Julia Billings

Hi, I'm Julia! I am a working mother, professional life & leadership coach, international HR expert, and motherhood advocate. Upon becoming a mom, I quit my coveted United Nations career to pursue more flexibility and freedom so I could be able to combine professional aspirations with how I wanted to show up as a mother. In my work as a coach, consultant and facilitator, I help other moms make similar bold decisions in their careers.

My approach integrates my 7 years of experience as international career & leadership development professional, my personal journey as a mother and my proficiency as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) holding an M.Ed.

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