Re-entering the workforce as a 25 year-old mom, I act differently and I am perceived differently than when I left. I’m assuming I’m not alone in this, so I’m writing about my experience with the hope that it will help others succeed with strength and grace.
Observation #1: As a younger mom, almost everyone will assume you don’t have kids. When people do find out you have kids, they will be surprised. Some won’t know what to say, others might say something rude. Don’t be offended.
Observation #2: When I’m at home, I have to be sure of myself to either convince my daughter everything is ok or that I won’t budge when I say something is off limits. This has translated into me being much more assertive and demanding at work. Many times, I have had to take a step back before sending an email or talking with a colleague to make sure I’m not coming off in a way that would offend someone, especially considering my level of expertise.
Taking all of this into mind, I think it’s very important to stay positive and aware. People around you will read, and feed off of, the energy you present. Remind yourself to be patient. (Especially when the 10th person comments on “how young you are” and “they never realized you had kids”) Keep your chin up – people assume things about the people around them all the time. It’s the way the brain can make sense of things.
I believe it’s possible to be a great mom and a great employee. It won’t come right away, or maybe for a long time. I’m definitely still working at it but I can say approaching each day with an open mind and the will to be positive has helped me feel like I’m headed in the right direction.