Back To Work After Divorce: 10 Skills You Have But Never Realized
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By Stacey Freeman, Featured Columnist - October 16, 2014 - Updated November 17, 2014

Fotolia_75019479_XS.jpgDivorce is a time for starting over. Love, the most obvious area in which women have a second chance, is by no means the only. Whether it is because a woman has to, wants to or, a little of both, divorce is also when many women return to work after an extended period away.

In many cases, a woman who has been home raising children may not have been gainfully employed in years. Consequently, looking for a job can be both overwhelming and potentially undermining to a newly divorced woman's self-esteem. Accreditations may have lapsed, skills may need to be refreshed, or it may simply be time to retool and start over again.

Whether a woman has been out of the workforce for one year, five years, or 20 years, it is important she recognize that although she may have taken time off to care for her family, she has continued to develop valuable skills during those years spent at home. How women present those strengths to potential employers can mean the difference between securing employment and not.

If you are a newly single mom who is considering returning to work and think you are obsolete, think again. Here are 10 skills you may not be aware you possess and how these areas of expertise are easily relatable to any future employment opportunity you pursue.

1. Creativity. No more apparent is a stay-at-home mom’s creativity than when she crafts, cooks, bakes, brainstorms and problem solves. Whether on her own or with her children, stay-at-home moms always have their creative juices flowing. Remember that project you helped your third grader complete? The Halloween-themed party you planned for the neighborhood kids, equipped with scary treats and decorations you conceived of and made? That school fundraiser you suggested? Or the game you invented at the supermarket to distract your four-year-old during a tantrum? In each instance, you used creativity to achieve your desired result. That same creativity will serve you well in any professional environment you find yourself.

2. Organization. Organization is the mainstay of the stay-at-home mom. She knows better than anyone when she is not organized, control is sacrificed and efficiency compromised. Exhibiting strong organizational skills are akin to laying a solid foundation, whatever the endeavor. Regardless of strategy, being organized increases productivity, something your future employer will definitely appreciate. 

3. Time Management. Time management is another important skill any valued employee possesses. Stay-at-home moms know firsthand how difficult it is to get children to and from school, multiple extracurricular activities, sporting practices and games, play dates, events, doctor appointments, and parties. Throw in a list of daily household chores including cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, helping with homework, and miscellaneous errands, a mom needs to be an adept planner if she is to accomplish all that she must during her busy day. That calendar you maintain and abide by hourly is a testament to your planning skills. Do not let your expertise go by unnoticed.

4. Multitasking. In line with a stay-at-home mom’s planning ability is her ability to multitask throughout her day. Regardless of how much planning a stay-at-home mom does, time constraints force her to juggle numerous tasks at once. Doing so calmly and with ease is no simple feat. And like any other skill, multitasking is one that is improved and mastered over time. Such a skill will prove an invaluable resource to you and your new employer. Be sure to market it well. 

5. Budgeting. Oftentimes stay-at-home moms are in charge of household finances. From investing money to buying and selling the family home to managing daily and monthly expenses, these women effectively operate as their family’s financial analyst, strategist, accountant, and bookkeeper. Requiring intense focus and attention to detail, the skills involved in these tasks will serve you well in any line of work you choose.

6. Technological. Not everyone is as tech savvy as you imagine. As a mom of children practically born with a computer or electronic device in their hands, you likely have been forced to learn those same skills alongside them. In order to remain updated on school activities and related information, computer familiarity has all but become a pre-requisite to parental involvement. Do not forget social media either. Regardless of the position you are pursuing, knowledge of social media is increasingly becoming an essential part of the workday.  

7. Interpersonal. Let’s face it. It is not all fun and games on the playground. And I am not only talking about the kids here. Stay-at-home moms are constantly interfacing with members of the community, teachers, and whoever she comes across on her family’s behalf. Just as someone working outside the home must navigate office politics, so, too, must the stay-at-home mom. Without proper communication skills (people skills), it will not matter how smart you are or how well you do your job. No one will want to work with you! 

8. Leadership. The successful stay-at-home mom is a natural born leader. In addition to caring for her family’s needs, women who stay at home raising children also tend to be involved in various volunteer efforts. Whether heading a committee, charity benefit, or the school PTO, many stay-at-home mothers positively impact their schools and communities. Confidence leading others translates well to any professional environment, and will increase the likelihood of your success.

9. Dedication. Any good mom understands her position is 24/7 without a five o’clock whistle sounding at the end of the workday. Each morning when she wakes, whether healthy or sick, happy or sad, that stay-at-home mom shows up for work. Your exemplary work ethic and attendance record should not be discounted. When a mom is on the job, she is ON the job, whether that job is inside or outside the home.

10. Endurance. Your life as a stay-at-home mom, though fulfilling, has not been easy. Still, you have persevered and excelled as evidenced by your thriving family. So, the next time someone asks what you do all day, say so. Proudly. You have a high-stakes job and you do it well. So that new position you fear? Do not. What you are afraid of is just another day at the office.

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