To all those moms who stayed full-time at home after the babies came and whose kids are gone from 9-11:30 and 12:30 - 3:30. I know you have thought about it. Should I try to find outside work now? What do I do? I have been out of the loop for years! Where do even start? And if I do return, how am I going to set up a system so the kids are walked to and back from school, sometimes for lunch, and helped until I return? It would be great to be back for 3 pm. Is there such a job?
I have noticed our neighbourhood has a rich source of intellect, compassion, multi-tasking super Moms. They are the untapped resource of quite the brain power. I know a few who would love to return to some sort of "work" outside the home, but are contemplating the direction.
I think that this is very similar to a career transition (see Career Transitions, Jan 2012). The transition year when your child is going from half day school to a full day (with lunch at school or home) is a tough one for both child and Mom. Moms feels like there should be more time; but the stresses of friendships, bullying, social issues, academic development can be overwhelming some days! Baby is no longer baby with physical needs, but a growing child with psychological needs. The latter is more difficult, I would say. Along with this child transition, Mom may find a need to return to her career. I know a few Moms trying this. Some are returning to supply teaching, with a relative on stand-by to transport her own kids to and back from school. Some are making their second career attending full or part-time in teacher's college with kids in daycare or with nanny. Some are taking classes. Some are volunteering with their favorite organization, such as their child's previous daycare, school or swimming club. Some are setting up their own web businesses. All these activities will lead to some type of "work" outside the home eventually.
As for my science career, I have maintained my interests by attending conferences, consulting biotech projects, speaking at career symposiums, mentoring science students, and trying to give back by writing my stories. I am not quite sure when I will return to the regular 9-5; but I know whatever the future holds, I feel privileged to have met these Moms these past few years.
For those science moms who have stayed home for a few years for children, please read the link for some inspiring stories. It is possible!
Good luck, Moms!