Are you one of the roughly 10 million moms in the U.S. who have left the “traditional” 9-to-5 career path to raise kids? Like me, you may have decided to change up your work-life mix so you’re able to spend more time managing the household — and our numbers are steadily rising.
In fact, 43 percent of educated women with children have left — completely or temporarily — their careers at some point. Based on observing my own circle of friends, I’d say the number is even higher now than when Harvard Business Review estimated that number a decade ago.
And it doesn’t always have to be the mom who stays at home; in some families, the dad takes on the household responsibilities. The bottom line is that for many couples, one person’s career has had to take a backseat in order to manage and nurture the household in our busy society.
Leaving the workforce was a challenging decision for me. Here’s the surprising thing: I have not missed it at all. Of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. But the ability to better control my work and family life has been an eye-opening — and very rewarding — experience.
As I’ve traveled this path, I’ve encountered a whole WORLD of women who made similar choices, and who are more kick-ass than ever. With our kids getting older and becoming more self-sufficient, a lot of us are finding our way back to a good mix of income, flexibility, creativity and purpose.
Now, of course, our priorities are different than they were when we were in our 20s. A decade or two later, our concept of time has evolved. There’s all the time in the world and yet, there’s no time to waste.
Overcoming Perceptions of Stay-at-Home Moms
I’ve had a few conversations where I can tell the other person is dismissive of my time as a stay-at-home mom. Maybe you have too. Here’s how the witty Kiri Westby put it in a recent Huffington Post article:
“Moms who stay home for a few years are often penalized when they return to the job market,” Westby says. “Rather than being lauded for their newly attained skills, stay-at-home moms are treated as if they’ve taken a long vacation or lost touch with the modern world.”
The reality could not be further from the truth. While being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve started two businesses. It wasn’t easy to balance everything, but I am grateful that I was not bound to a paltry two weeks of vacation and the other stresses of working a full-time office job.
Being a mom and an entrepreneur gave me vital experience about different issues, communities and organizations that empower me in all areas of my life.
“When I compare the me-of-today to the twenty-something-employee that I was before raising kids, it’s no contest,” Westby continues. “Motherhood has turned me into a straight-up badass.”
Adding Work Back Into Our Lives
Technology and the connected world give us SO MANY options for adding fulfilling work back into our lives. It’s no surprise that a group of LinkedIn Influencers chose one of 2016’s “Big Ideas” as when “the forces of entrepreneurialism and feminism converge.”
We will “drive a long-wave, golden age of female entrepreneurship, which will be a positive for all of us: good for the women who make the leap, good for the economy and good for consumers,” says Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest.
Women are beginning to recognize this power that we have to control our economic fate. Krawcheck writes more about how and why women are stepping up to be the desirable leaders of startups that attract venture funding.
But not everyone wants to start a business at a scale that requires outside investors, with the accompanying risk, complexity and time investment required.
Fortunately, it’s not just the high-risk startup that is opening to women. Other networks and communities are also springing up to support all women who want a seat at the business table, lifting up all women.
Why Network Marketing Is a Great Fit for Moms
More and more women are thriving in home-based businesses, many by becoming leaders in Network Marketing companies (that I call NetLOVE Marketing companies). If these highly trained, tough-as-nails women aren’t finding the right place in the American 9-to-5 workforce, they can find a good fit where their hard work is rewarded and they can maintain the flexibility that lets them prioritize family.
So instead of camouflaging the mom in your résumé, BRING IT ON and apply your skills to the art of building an income-earning system of support.
Mothers are perfect for network marketing because:
- They are social media savvy.
- They understand the power of networks, as in “it takes a village” to accomplish a goal.
- They focus on creating a good ecosystem and don’t fall prey to their own egos.
- They have kick-ass organizational skills to apply to their own business.
- They are motivated to be financially free and good role models for their kids.
- They are excellent coaches and supporters of other home-based business owners, with the diplomacy skills to gracefully influence and guide others to success.
- They have patience and can set proper expectations. When problems pop up, they can re-prioritize on the fly.
Why Natural Wellness is Also a Good Fit for Moms
There are many good direct sales companies out there — I am a customer of many to support my tribe of professional women.
AND, I’ve seen how working with a natural wellness company is particularly fitting for moms.
Moms are interested in keeping their families healthy — that includes our kids, ourselves (hey, 40s is the new 20s) and our aging parents. Physical and emotional health is part of our everyday conversation.
As a matter of fact, health and wellbeing is another Big Idea for 2016 that was noted by LinkedIn.
“The trend toward greater aspiration is worldwide, yet at the same time in many societies, including the U.S., the number of people who describe themselves as ‘thriving’ — Gallup’s highest category of wellbeing — is either shockingly low or harder than ever to achieve,” says Deepak Chopra, well-known medical doctor and founder of the Chopra Foundation. “Therefore, wellbeing is going to become a hotter and hotter issue, especially in the workplace, and finding the means to quantify it is going to be a critical part of the picture.”
Some of these key elements to living a thriving life emerged in a study from Gallup and Healthways researchers. Wellbeing is measured in five different areas:
- Purpose (or Career): Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
- Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life.
- Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
- Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done every day.
- Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
Finding the Right Place for Your Time and Talents
As a mom with a lot of skills, you have many options open to you. Look at what is going to bring you the most peace, give you the most flexibility and best utilize your creativity and skillset.
If you’ve been seeing yourself in the place of a woman entrepreneur with a focus on your own wellbeing and that of those around you, consider making 2016 the year when you CONNECT more deeply and learn what our network of moms and powerful women is creating.