Tips for Former Working Mothers Returning to the Workforce or Thinking of Leaving the Workforce


In the early 2000s, I remember watching an episode of Desperate Housewives where the character of Lynette with the sharp business acumen quits corporate to become a stay-home mom because she is so in love. She put her career on hold only to realize that it was a mistake. She eventually found a job (after six years) when her four children grew up but it was with a lot of doing because of the gap in her work history. I’m not sure why this instance stayed in my mind when I wasn’t even thinking about marriage at the time. I was fairly new to the US. Anyway, fast forward several years later, I found myself in her shoes. Stranger than fiction indeed. And I was led to believe that I could leave the workforce and easily reenter (if ever) the workforce after my child reached five or six years old. I’m not the only one. Many working mothers I know thought the same as the pressure to start a family and multi-tasking home and work duties increased. Since our husbands had enough to support us, and we (the unsuspecting mothers) saved our own money in case things got sour, we took the plunge of pausing our careers.

Fast forward again…

We have some mothers who quit the workforce nine years ago. Others who quit five years ago. And plenty that are within that range or beyond it. The common denominator between us all is that reentering the workforce is not as easy or has not been easy as we thought.

So, here are some tips to help you land a job and some advices if you are considering becoming a stay-home mom.

  1. Beware when someone tells you that you should pause your career. Sometimes it is done with good intentions. However, many women have come to realize that such advices are to trick them into staying home and manipulate them into forgoing their education and freedom. It can become like taking off a piercing before the wound heals. You will never find the hole until your pierce the skin again…
  2. Go part-time if being a new mom becomes stressful. DO NOT QUIT. You will regret it if you do at least for a fleeting moment once in a while. Mark my words. That said, some moms I have talked to are content with just focusing on their families for the moment, and may Allah continue to make them content with their choice, aameen.
  3. Remain active in your field of work by starting your own business with your professional experience. This can help you fill the unemployment gap legally. You can also volunteer your services and log those instances on your resume. This brings us to the next point.
  4. Polish and revamp your resume. Make it true, concise and detailed at the same time. Don’t bullshit employers or sweet talk them. Remain honest with what you can do and what you can’t do. Add to your resume what from the job description posted you can do since computers pick resumes. It’s a key-word digital era.
  5. Distinguish yourself by providing a compelling cover letter and your official school transcripts when applying for jobs.
  6. Reconnect with your former colleagues if you’ve lost touch with them. LinkedIn is a good place to start.
  7. Become familiar with Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) tests. They eliminate unprepared and clueless candidates. So watch out to not be discarded when you are actually competent.
  8. Beware of sweet- and smooth-talking staffing companies. If you can, avoid them.
  9. Apply daily to jobs even if you have to crawl to the computer. We are in a digital world and the chance of your resume being picked up is based on algorithms you will have to find out for yourself.
  10. Beware of job postings that are being reposted. They could be advertisements and not real job offerings.
  11. Suck it up and apply directly to companies’ websites instead of via a third party. This diminishes the likelihood of fake jobs.
  12. Remain skeptical and alert at all times. Why? Identity thieves are all over the place.
  13. When you land an interview, make sure you know what to do before, during and after the interview.
  14. Above all, bring out the big duas and dhikr guns. May al-Mujeeb come to your help, aameen!

Main Picture Credit:

Papatia Feauxzar

Papatia Feauxzar is a practicing Accountant. She focused on personal finance in graduate school. She has a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA). Around the year, Feauxzar expatiate on personal finance and romance tips here and on her blogs. She is also the Online Editor of Hayati Magazine and the author of the first Ivorian Cookbook in English. Also a poet, you can read three of her pieces in "WOKE & LOUD: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word" published by Inked Resistance. Visit her at or .

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