Mommy Tips: How to Determine if Your Job is Still a Fit
byBrooke JuliaDec 08, 2014
Jobs are kind of like your old jeans after having a baby: they don't fit quite the same way. At least for a while. Your priorities have changed, your responsibilities have increased and your free time has shrunk to a grain of salt. So deciding if your old job still works for you means taking a fresh look at your new life. Sometimes you can still make it work with a few adjustments, and sometimes you need to move on.
According to Ellen Theodores, a licensed clinical social worker in Brunswick, Maine, it's important to "have a work setting where they understand the demands of raising a family and are also willing to have some flexibility around how the work gets done." You may need to miss days when children are sick or sitters are unavailable. You may need to scale down to part-time status, or adjust your schedule to include working from home or working project-by-project. When your job is willing to make these accommodations, that's a good sign.
Being able to talk to your employer is essential, too. "Make sure there is open and clear communication of expectations on both sides," says Theodores. She suggests approaching your boss with a planned conversation about your family responsibilities and how they may impact your job. Just be careful about how much you say. "If you are frequently talking about how your home responsibilities are pulling on you then it will cause the spotlight to be on that aspect," warns Colleen Smith, a psychotherapist and coach in private practice at Insight Coaching and Counseling in Reston, Virginia. Your reliability may come into question. Be a part of the solution by suggesting alternatives. If the results of this conversation are positive, your job may still be a good fit.
Talk to Your Family
Get the opinions of the ones you love most. Your family sees how your job affects your home life. Dr. Lisa Orbe-Austin at Dynamic Transitions Psychological Counseling in New York recommends asking your partner how your work schedule influences his share of the responsibilities in the home. Include your children as well, if they're old enough. If your job is causing undue stress, keeping you away from home too often or creating an uneven distribution of chores at home, it might not be a good fit any longer.
Don't underestimate the importance of simply being happy. Your hours may be flexible, you may be able to scale back to part-time and you may even be able to do some of your work from the home. None of it matters if you're still unhappy doing the job. "The experience of parenthood is profound and truly life altering," says Zak Mooney, a counselor at Healing Circles Wellness Center in Frederick, Maryland. It's impossible to know how you'll feel about something until after your child has arrived. Even a job you loved can feel different after baby. "The goal is to make your life as consistent with who you are as possible," he says. If it's time to step away, don't be afraid to do so.