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Going Back to Work After Children Have Grown

written by: nataliajones•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/31/2010

If you have decided to take a hiatus from the world of work to devote time to your family, you may eventually get to the point when you start thinking about going back to work after children are all grown up. This article looks at what you should consider before taking the plunge.

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    Did You Leave Your Job to Start a Family?

    Back to Work After Children If the answer to this questions is "yes", then you may eventually start thinking about going back to work after the children are old enough to take care of themselves.

    Giving up your work to stay at home with kids is never an easy decision. You would have had to make sure you would be financially able to survive on just one income and reconcile yourself to the fact that others will continue to advance while you are on hiatus. However, the joys of being able to take care of your own children are just too bountiful for many people to pass up as long as they can manage to give up the extra income.

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    Factors to Consider When Returning to the Work Force

    The decision to re-enter the work force is often just as difficult as the decision to leave. When you are thinking of going back to work after children have grown up, there are a few factors that come into play and they are listed below.

    Will Your Family Really Be Able to Cope Without You?

    When you seriously start to think about going back to work after children have become independent enough to fend for themselves, you might start to second guess your decision. This is absolutely normal because it means you are forcing yourself to get out of what has now become your comfort zone. You may start to worry about who will prepare dinner if you run late or if your kids will still be able to make it to all of their extra classes and activities without you to be at their beck and call.

    The bottom line here is that if you want to make it happen, you can. You can organize dinner from the night before so it is easy to pop into the oven or start to collect easy menu ideas that require little prep time. You can hire someone to take the kids to and from classes or ask a friend or family member. If you really want to get back into the workforce, don't accept excuses.

    How Will You Explain the Gap in Your Resume?

    Many parents who have been away from work for a few years are a bit anxious about how to explain the gap in their resume. There is a tendency to feel that you will be harshly judged for taking this time off, but it all depends on how you put it across. Firstly, try not to use a chronological resume because this emphasizes time gaps. Instead draft a resume that is more focused on positions or skills, and use a cover letter to explain why you want to return to the workforce.

    Secondly, you can use what you did while you were at home with the kids if it is applicable. For instance, if you organized charity events or neighborhood parties and this type of skill is applicable to your field, then don't be afraid to mention it.

    How Much Do You Have to Earn to Make This Move Worthwhile?

    Before you get into the interview room, you should have an idea of what kind of income you need to make in order to make going back to work worth your time. To figure this out, consider what you made before you left your job and factor in the possibility that you may not be able to re-enter at the same level, especially if you have not taken any additional courses or qualifications.

    Don't forget to think about the tax implications of going back to work after your children have grown either. It is possible that your extra income might push you into a higher combined tax bracket and you could actually take home less money. Do the math to make sure you are making a smart move.

    Do You Still Have What it Takes?

    You should not look at every interview you manage to get as a mercy call for which you should be eternally grateful. You may think that you are unemployable but if you made the cut, you should evaluate the employer while they are testing you as well. Be confident that you can add value and work on your interview skills to help to boost your confidence.

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    Just thinking about going back to work after children have left for school can get you feeling anxious, but take your time with the decision and think through all your factors carefully. If you do that, you will arrive at a solution that is best for you and for your family.

    Image: br3akthru /