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Why I’m giving myself grace during my career relaunch

am very fortunate and thankful that I had the opportunity to take a planned career break for 11 years. Because of my husband’s job, I was afforded the luxury of being a stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM.

As I type this, I realize that some of you may be thinking, “That sounds a bit like a nightmare to me!” If you’re a mom who ran back to work as soon as possible after having your kids because, although you loved them dearly, you needed outside adulting time, that’s awesome! Or, perhaps the income was a necessity, and you wanted to stay home, but couldn’t. Whatever the case, no judgement.

However, for me, being a SAHM made perfect sense, especially since I was a certified teacher. Why teach someone else’s kids when I could care for my own full time?

I’m thankful I had the choice to spend foundational years with my precious “pumpkins.” But, at the beginning of my new stint as a mom, I’ll be honest: I was painfully exhausted much of the time.

Even though “the days were long, but the years were short,” we survived without a broken bone or concussion. Except, that is, for my own broken rib and two broken toes — one absurdly fractured — when I thought it was a good idea to jump over a baby safety gate. Ha!

Anyhow, back to the subject of planned career breaks, or, better yet, the career “relaunch.” At the beginning of my SAHM gig, I envisioned myself going back to teaching. But I couldn’t think about it too much because I was in the thick of mommyhood. Then, at about the three-year mark, something huge happened. Digital marketing, and more specifically, social media, exploded! I was intrigued and pondered a career pivot, but I was still knee deep in diaper and sippy cup management.

Right around that time, a friend even asked me to guest blog on her new website, but I turned her down. With three kids under four, and no super close support system in place, how on earth would I ever find the time to create content?

So I waited. And waited. Then we moved. Twice in one year. It was traumatizing. After we finally re-settled in our new home, our kids were all in school full-time. I began to dread making trips to Costco only to be surrounded by brand new moms or senior citizens, no offense. I felt like I didn’t “fit in” anywhere. Even though I volunteered at various events, I felt kind of empty.

Then one day, after an esteem-boosting pep talk from my husband, I decided it was finally time to return to work. Instead of returning to teaching, I chose to take a stab at marketing again. Only this time, the old ways of marketing were exactly that–old and outdated.

What’s more, after being told dozens, if not hundreds, of times that I was “irrelevant,” and after unexpectedly tearing up at a networking meeting, I decided to take the plunge and get certified in digital marketing. I was confident that if I could complete the “apprentorship,” I’d be offered multiple jobs. It was a wonderful experience, and I don’t regret it for a moment. I made new friends and found an incredible new mentor.

However, here’s the unfortunate thing: my course ended in May 2020. The world as we knew it, and the job market had imploded thanks to the COVID pandemic.

Although I found this fun freelance job and I have a couple of others, I still haven’t landed a full-time position. After all, I’ve got millions of other re-launchers with whom to compete. And first-time launchers. And people who are simply trying to get back to their previous career after being furloughed or laid off, as well as many who are decades younger than me.

My point is this: although my career relaunch might not be rocketing as quickly as I’d like, maybe it’s a blessing. Not maybe, definitely. Although I’ve had to turn down a few offers because I’m “teaching” again, this time as a “volunteer” at my kids via virtual school, I’m not complaining.

I’m confident when the time is right, I’ll land somewhere wonderful. I have no doubt. That’s why, this month, or perhaps year, I’m giving myself the grace to breathe deeply, remain in the moment, and realize that “this too shall pass.”

For more about being a mom and all that goes with it, please check out Paulette’s blog

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