How Return to Work Mum Can Support New House-Husbands

You made the commitment to start your family years ago.  Several children later you find yourself, for many reasons, deciding to return to the world of work.  A world that has dramatically changed since you last participated in it.  Increase use of technology, global competition, increased workplace diversity and doing more with less.  You prepare for this re-entry by revisiting who you are, what your skills were and what skills you learned being a Mom by nurturing your children.  You reconnect with your social and professional network and before you know it, you land the job that will reignite your career. Don’t forget to add any your experience to resumes, because it will help you in the future.

Your excitement is infectious and your family is anxious but happy for you.  Then your husband drops the news that he has been laid off.  His position has become redundant. Your life changes in a second.  You support your husband and tell him he will find a new job soon, but you both know that may be a dream.  In the current global economy finding a new job at the same salary of your previous job is rare and takes much longer than you may think.

You both talk it over and decide you will continue with your new job.  Someone has to bring in the paycheck and how fortunate you will be the new financial head of the house.  This new twist of events places more pressure on you, much more.  Returning to work is hard enough but suddenly being the sole breadwinner takes it to a new level.  It looks like your roles have been reversed.

Both of you will be in the dubious position of trading places. As you lay in bed that first night it dawns on you that you have to support your family and your husband in his new, involuntary, role as the leader of the home.  Caretaker of your precious children.  Fear envelopes you at the thought of him doing your duties,  you sense disaster is near.  Truth be told, you need to relax and rely on what you needed from your husband when you decided to stay home and raise your children.  Here are tips that can actually strengthen your relationship with your husband and your children.

Communicate!  You know what you needed from him when he came home from work.  Talk to him during the day to see how he is functioning in his new role.  Show empathy in his new role. Allow him to make mistakes but mention his successes not his failures.  Give him time to learn his new role. His new role is completely foreign to him.  He has the same fears as you have returning to the work world.  Walk a mile in his shoes as the ancient saying goes.

Be a role model!  Your children will be just as confused and uncertain about their parents new roles as you both are.  Show patience, kindness and a loving spirit toward your husband and your children will surely echo what they see and hear.  Work with your husband to develop a detailed priority list, menus, budgets, etc that will give him the structure he so desperately needs to be successful.

Lighten up!  Celebrate small victories with your family.  When your husband finally figures out how to do the laundry, buy him a small gift.  When he finally makes dinner without burning it raise your glass to toast to his new found culinary skills. By remembering what you would have loved to be treated, recognized, appreciated and honored in your former role your husband has the same needs. By sharing your frustrations, pain and your gains in your new roles, your family life with thrive through the radical changes taking place for all of you.

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