Career vs. kid: Balancing restarting your career and child care

Mom & Child
Mom & Child
Updated: Jan. 17, 2019 at 10:33 PM CST
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(WAFF) - One of the most important choices for a new parent is whether to go back to work, leaving your young one in a child care facility or to stay home and care for your child full time.

Then there’s the decision on when it’s best to jump back into the regular workforce. While lots of issues are debated, family finances and the cost of child care often becomes the deciding factor. With three children, all under 3 years old, it’s obvious to see that Madison mother Casey Sheahan has her hands full.

“Some days, I am running on three hours of sleep,” said Sheahan.

Sheahan has 2-month-old twins and an active toddler which would be a normal challenge for anyone, but she had preparation. She once had a full time job as a pre-school teacher and even spent time as a nanny for several families before she and her husband decided it was best to leave that behind and stay at home.

“Child care is very expensive, especially good child care. Even for me to get a job that would make it worth putting them in daycare, I’d probably have to make 40,000 a year, finding that kind of position at a preschool facility is obviously not going to work, those jobs are usually $9,10,11 an hour,” added Sheahan.

Around the Tennessee Valley, sending one child to day care can run parents up to $1,000 a month.

According to the Pew Research Center, costs that high can lead parents to stay home where, stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five U-S parents in latest data.

The cost of child care was the deciding factor for Brandon Johnson’s family. His wife got a promotion so they decided he would stay at home with their youngest daughter and broke the news to his supervisor.

“Well I’m going to be a stay-at-home father, I got a little push-back on that like why, why are you doing this, you’re a dude, you’re a guy you know,” said Johnson. For Brandon it meant putting his manufacturing career on hold for two years. “It is still a full time job, taking care of a child,” explained Johnson.

He just went back to work at the beginning of this year and said he was lucky to find a job after hunting for about two months. During the job search, he made staying at home very clear on his resume.

“That was at the very top of my resume so it wasn’t even like something that needed to be asked,” added Johnson.

That’s exactly what job recruiter, Bridget Chambers at JTL Solutions recommends for moms and dads who are ready to jump back into work.

“We get a lot of resumes, there is a five year gap, even a ten year gap, even just a one year gap can throw off a client and they say no I’m not interested. What did they do for this one year, it’s a mystery so the big thing is what did you do in that gap, put it on there,” said Chambers.

Perhaps you can add some creativity to describe the job of a stay at home parent. “Tantrum negotiator, manners expert, household CEO, birthday party coordinator, creative things, just put something on there,” said Chambers.

Extra effort in returning to the workforce would be taking online certification classes, free leadership courses, or internships for adults and don’t forget to network.

“The issue is great applicants are going unnoticed because the amount of resumes coming in and not knowing how to properly make a resume, or make an updated resume. They have the experience but they didn’t put it on their resume,” said Chambers.

Chambers said some companies may think you’re rusty or will have an attendance issue because of your children but you have to combat that with “I’ve got children but I have excellent childcare and I am ready to work.”

Then comes being realistic, Chambers said employers may start you off at a lower pay scale or put you on a probationary period.

“Employers are just so over-precautious they want to know that you can prove yourself before they give you that big salary that you feel you have earned,” added Chambers.

If you see a job out there that you really want, Chambers said contact them directly instead of going through a jobsite. Speak directly to the hiring manager.

  • Update resume
  • Add a brief line describing your work gap (if applicable)
  • Make sure your current / most recent job is on there
  • Revise your resume to focus on job experience relative to what you are applying for and shorten anything else not relative
  • Have a professional Email and voicemail - get rid of the “HotDude89@gmail”
  • Keep the resume short and simple only focused in core responsibilities
  • Update your social media or create account on LinkedIn
  • Make a follow up phone call after applying through job sourcing websites (Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, Job Spider etc.)
  • Dress appropriately for an interview and don’t bring your kids.

For more resume help contact JTL Solutions at 256-772-1788 or the Alabama Career Center System at 256-851-0537.

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