Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Mommy Syndrome: How women can remain marketable

Many women begin their married lives independent. They work, manage their own affairs, budget their own finances. Somewhere down the line, they're sidetracked. Unexpectedly, they're lured into the domestic life and find themselves elbow deep in a sink load of dishes and a pile of laundry.

Flipping through the July 2012 issue of Simple Magazine, I came upon a very important article by a mother and professional. At one time a self-sufficient feminist, she found herself playing more in the kitchen than she liked, or even expected. Her husband started dominating basic tasks that she had accomplished on her own in the past, from managing the finances to even refueling her car. A nagging voice grew inside her head as she wondered when precisely it was she became so co-dependent.

Many women can relate. Strong women who somehow relinquish their independence to their spouses once they have children. As they're increasingly distracted by the demanding job of motherhood, they find themselves losing basic skills, such as balancing the checkbook or making life-changing decisions. Their vocabulary simplifies and anything that's sure to create a semblance of complexity to their routine is delegated to the spouses. A real problem when they return to work after a long absence.

There are a few steps women can take to stay stimulated and marketable should they consider a return to work:

  • Volunteer at local schools. Many primary and high schools have positions for bookkeepers, budget planners, and marketers to help maintain records and raise money. There is also a need for classroom helpers, where women can pick up strategic organizing and planning skills. Of course, these positions are unpaid but they allow women to network and gain skills.
  • Volunteer at local charities. Same situation as the first point. There are many positions available that can help develop skills and relations. Many women have found their next jobs through volunteering.
  • Work from home. If you have a talent you can offer or a product you can sell, setting shop at home is a fine way to maintain a career.
  • Take a vacation from home. In the article mentioned, the writer flew herself and two young children to a remote village in Puerto Rico, where there was no access to basic luxuries such as running water. The experience helped her realize how independent she really was. She gained insight of her strengths and it elevated her self-worth.

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