If you are a parent who has taken a career break to raise children, you may be wondering – when is the right time to start working again?

Recently I spoke with a woman about this topic and the decisions she made in her life and career. This woman described her experience of being a mother into two distinct stages…“Roots and Wings”.

When her kids were young she focused on providing them with “Roots” – loving, supporting, teaching, and helping them build a strong foundation like the roots of a healthy tree. At this stage, she wanted to be home with her kids.

When her children became teenagers this mother focused on providing them with “Wings” – helping them become more independent, guiding them as they learned from their mistakes, and helping them find their own voice in the world. She was encouraging them to spread their own “Wings” and to prepare them to leave the nest. At this stage, she began thinking about what she wanted to do with herself as her kids were almost all grown up and out of the home.

Over the years, this woman found her purpose in providing “Roots” and “Wings” for her children. Now that her role was changing she began thinking about what’s next in her life.

I spend a lot of time talking with mothers about their hopes, dreams, and shifting priorities. Every woman’s circumstance is unique and there is no one-size fits all when it comes to making life decisions (such as returning to work). As a fellow mother I want to support mothers in finding the path that is best for them and their situation.

So, what about YOU? What season of life are you in and is it time for you to spread your own wings and fly?

Here are a few things to consider:

3 Signs it’s Time to Relaunch Your Career:

1) You Have More “Free” Time
Although we all have the same 24 hours in a day, most moms would agree that parenting requires a HUGE investment of time and energy. Our “Free” time is limited especially when our children are young. Thankfully, this changes as children grow older and they spend more time in school, extracurricular activities, and with friends.  Eventually, we get more time for ourselves…sometimes it seems like a luxury!

Yes, more “Free” time means more time for YOU and what YOU WANT to be doing.  So, how do you want to spend your time? What do you think is important for you to be doing at this stage of your life?

2) Your Children Don’t Need You (as much)
It’s a simple truth that sometimes stings. One day our children will grow up and they will no longer need us to take care of them. If we’ve done our job well, they will be able to meet their own needs and live on their own independently. Sure, you can expect the occasional call from your grown kids showing that they still need you…like when they run out of money for food and have been eating Top Raman for days.

You don’t need to wait until your kids are 18 and out of the house to focus on you.  As your kids reach developmental milestones (and master new skills), take a look at what you need in your own life and career.

Allow yourself to start dreaming. Think about the possibilities for you and your career. What do you imagine?

3) You Have the Desire to Do Something More
Yes, honor that desire! Don’t let it stay buried any longer.  What do you really want to do? Allow yourself to brainstorm all the things you have been thinking about.

Get the thoughts out of your head and put them down on paper. Give your heart a say too. Express your feelings and the meaning behind what you want to do in this next chapter of your life. Write down why it’s important to you on an emotional level.

Which sign do you notice in your life right now? Congrats on recognizing what is true for you!

Which one are you STRUGGLING with or don’t have at all? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I would love to cheer you on as you consider relaunching your career.

©  2017 Jolie Steers.  All Rights Reserved