1) You have to be resourceful.
Gone are the days where I could settle in to a job search with my laptop, cup of coffee and some good tunes to keep me motivated. Now that I have a little guy on the move, I have to quarantine my laptop away from his grabby hands, and forget about a hot cup of coffee. These days, my job search is done by the light of the baby monitor, as I scroll through job postings on my phone while nursing my son to sleep. Only after bedtime does the laptop emerge to draft cover letters and submit applications. Luckily for us moms, time management and resourcefulness are desirable qualities to an employer.
2) Work/life balance takes on a whole new meaning.
It’s amazing how my priorities changed the instant I had a baby. For my younger, single self, work/life balance meant happening to work a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve instead of a 14-hour one, or having time left over after your closing shift to go have some late-night drinks with your coworkers. Now, work/life balance means family holidays and being home before bedtime. And it’s more important than ever.
3) One word: benefits.
Sure the offer of benefits was great when it was only me to worry about. If the job provided them, great; if not, I simply never went to the doctor. Now, as the provider of health insurance and other ancillary benefits for my family, benefits–especially health benefits–are an indispensable part of a compensation package.
4) Setting up interviews requires careful alignment of the planets.
To make every effort to be as professional as possible, I’ve snuck away and hid from a chatty baby so that I could have some quiet and privacy in order to call a potential employer. Email is an amazing invention, and I’ve even scheduled an interview via text (their initiative, not mine). I’m finding it helps to get creative when setting up interviews while a baby just wants to climb into your lap and steal whatever device you’re using out of your hands.
And then there’s the problem of finding a babysitter. Hopefully someone is free to watch the baby during your interview. Knowing a few people who might be available is key, but catching them available, often on very short notice, is even harder.
There are often many balls to juggle, and you haven’t even started the job yet.
5) My network is larger.
Having a mom network is a beautiful thing. I’ve had many offers from fellow moms to help keep an ear out for any opportunities, and a mom who I spoke with in passing once at daycare offered to pass my resume along to her boss when there was an opening at her workplace. I find that moms are well-connected and always willing to extend a helping hand.