Before you have a child, you might be extremely worried about how becoming a mom might affect your career. Although it’s true that being a mom can harm your career, there are many different steps that you can take to ensure that having a child is one of the best things you can do, not just to fulfill your personal aspirations but also in terms of your career.
Motherhood Forces You to Take a Break
When many people think about the impact of motherhood on their careers, the first element that they think about is the fact that new and soon-to-be moms often take a break from their careers in the form of maternity leave. After this, 29% of moms do not return to work for many years, if at all. This can be a scary concept for many potential moms, especially if they need the extra income to survive, even though you will usually be paid for your maternity leave. As such, before you become a mom, you must evaluate whether having a child is more important to you than your career.
However, this break can also be a positive for many moms. The break that your pregnancy forces upon you gives you time to reflect on your career and to decide whether it is still the right career path for you. You will be able to gain perspective on it and will have time to think about your other options. Not only this, but time away can reduce any feelings of stress and burnout that you might be experiencing, ensuring that you can return to work after your baby is born feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Your Career May Stagnate
Many women struggle with the idea that maternity leave can make their careers stagnate due to the interruption of a few months or years that this extended leave causes. This break can prevent you from getting promoted, as you will be away from the office and will not have as much chance to prove your skills as other people. You might also not get to hear about many of the promotions that are available within your workplace or may not be able to apply for them. It can then take months or even years to build your career back up again and to progress.
Not only this, but when you do return to work, you will often do so gradually or on a part-time basis. This can make you feel as if you are less a part of the company than your full-time colleagues, or you might even feel as if you have gone backward in your career, taking on a position with less responsibility than you had before. When you do this, you should talk with your boss about the potential options that are available and how they might affect your paycheck and your future in the company. Keep lines of communication with your manager clear.
You May Need to Put Children First
Your career may also be impacted by the fact that it will probably not be your priority anymore. Instead, your children and their needs will come first, and this means that you may focus less on work and be less dedicated to it. You may decide not to do overtime, and you might only be able to work certain hours of the day. However, although you will usually need a better work/life balance, this can work out for the best, ensuring that you have the energy to be productive during the time that you are at work and making sure that your overall quality of life is much improved. It may be more difficult to convince your boss that you are prepared for a promotion in this case, however.
If you are struggling to juggle work and your kids, you might consider taking on freelance roles, such as that of a graphic designer or marketing consultant, or you may decide to work from home. This can allow you to fit all your other commitments around your work and ensure that you can complete it within your own time, only taking on as much work as you can do at any one time.
You Have Time to Improve Your Skills
However, when it comes to having a child, the impact on your career isn’t necessarily all negative. Rather, having a child has the potential to boost your career prospects both now and in the future, if you take the right steps. This is because maternity leave gives you the time and the motivation that you need to decide to improve your skills and knowledge in your chosen field, or even to get the qualifications that you need to switch fields entirely. For instance, you could decide to take an online police studies degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Although you might not want to be moving across the country to take a traditional campus degree, many universities now offer online options that can allow you to study even in the chaos of pregnancy and the first few months of motherhood. The 1–2-year course length means that you will achieve your qualification at just the right time, when you start to feel as if you are ready to return to work again, and this qualification can ensure that you are excited to get back to work.
You Will Gain Parenting Skills
The skills that you will gain as a parent, such as patience, communication, and interpersonal skills, can also be applied to the workplace, so you may find that you return to work more prepared than ever to do your job.
This new acquisition of skills might also encourage you to start up your own business, such as that of a childcare center or a blog, as you will then be able to put these to good use every day while working for yourself, rather than for a manager who does not understand your needs as a determined and career-driven mom.