I’d like to ask the question, “Who says I’m opting out?” To outside
observers, I may have looked like “just another stay-at-home mom”
dressed for a day in the park, pushing a toddler in a stroller, but I
came to think of myself as a secret agent on a mission of reinvention.
This opportunity was a precious gift, one that offered me the freedom
to make radical changes in my sense of who I was, professionally and
personally. Many people, men in particular, never feel that they have
the opportunity to reinvent themselves in this way, but the transition
to motherhood virtually guarantees that you will reevaluate your core
self. Time off from your former job may allow you to reshape a career
that was not satisfying you, start a new venture, or rekindle
…I love the
idea of being a secret agent because it takes away the pressure of
worrying how others are judging you for taking time off. Being a secret
agent gives you the freedom to observe your new life as a mom and take
stock of your interests. I recommend that you take a lifelong view of
your career path and take steps that will help you remain competitive
if and when you decide to go back to work. Even if this day doesn’t
arrive for many years, you can keep your skills sharp in the meantime.
Here are three ideas to help you develop your future plans on your own
• Get creative. Playing with your kids can open you up to
new creative pathways. Look for ways to express yourself. Art is not
just for kids. Motherhood can be a catalyst for rediscovering our
creative selves. When I was writing Mojo Mom, the book that inspired me
most was The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
professional—even one day a month. Even when you are not employed, find
a way to stay in touch with your professional persona. This will
maintain your professional image in the eyes of the community, and even
more importantly, keep this important aspect of your self alive in your
own mind. …
• Develop an
entrepreneurial spirit. Many women find that after they have children,
the idea of creating their own business so that they can work on their
own terms becomes very appealing. Women-owned businesses are growing at
double the rate of male-owned businesses. A new study from the United Kingdom
showed that women over age 40 are more likely than all other age
brackets to start their own businesses. Even more interestingly, just
3% of those women over age 45 who currently run their own businesses
admitted they had considered starting their own company when they were
younger… When I speak to
college-age women I emphasize that entrepreneurial skills can help
bridge the conflicts between family life and traditional career paths.
Whatever your field of interest, if you can create a plan that allows
you to strike out on your own, your career future will remain in your
The greatest gift I have learned from being a secret
agent is that no life experience is ever wasted. I am open to using
everything I see, hear, or learn as an inspiration for my work. I no
longer let others limit my career path or define the worthiness of my
work as a mother or a writer. When you are a secret agent, you’ll have
the confidence that comes from knowing that even if the rest of the
world doesn’t always realize how amazing you are, you can move through
life armed with the confidence that your plans will succeed on your own
terms. [bold emphasis mine]
MojoMom, I think you have the right of it. The time we take off to be with our babies is soo very precious, even though it is often accompanied by financial pressures due to loss of your income for the duration. And by definition you are in a hugely creative phase, after all you’ve just made another human being – I think that is the pinnacle of creative!
So rather than see yourself as the ‘Mum’ who is no longer earning an income and spends her days with this little being who demands so so much of you – why not turn that around and become a secret agent women, out there in disguise looking for all the options.
Remember you ARE amazing – go forth with confidence!
From my own experience – returning to your former job after your maternity leave expires can be great, but it can also be a cop out. It may seem a lot easier to go back to a company and a job you know, rather than follow your dreams. Yes, it’s safe. But is it what you want now you are a Mum?
Why not take the opportunity while you have it?
How could you reinvent yourself to fit the new, creative, inspired, wonderful you?