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Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

What's Next for the Empty Nester?

First determine who you are now.

My co-author and iRelaunch Co-Founder Carol was recently doing a prototypical parent thing—taking one of her kids, a senior in high school, for a quickie trip to visit one last possible college—when she picked up a copy of Philadelphia magazine on her US Airways flight. The baby-pink cover probably caught her attention, as did, I’m sure, the headline: “You Quit Your Job to Raise Your Kids . . . And Now They’re Grown. . . Now What? . . . The Existential Crisis of the Wait-at-Home Mom” by Vicki Glembocki.

Although the cover displayed a Main Line-ey looking woman in a pink sweater set with obligatory pearls, and the power yoga pow-wows and three types of chicken salad lunches may have been a little too much for my plebian tastes, the story was happily straightforward and empathetic. After so many articles either mocking or berating the educated stay-at-home mom, it was refreshing to see one that mostly just described her state, rather than passing judgment on it. And, judging by the many favorable comments the author received from Philly-area SAHMs, she described it well indeed.
 
This is a welcome development in what Carol and I call the Relaunch Movement—that of educated women who opted out in the last two decades—thinking about opting back in. There are over two million of them all over the country—women between the ages of 25-54, with at least a BA degree, and children under 18, who are NOT currently working, and studies estimate that anywhere from 70-93% would like to return to work. 

But the first step in helping these women get back to work is understanding them. That’s where articles like Vicki Glembocki’s come in. Both employers and stay-at-home moms themselves need to realize that they have a lot to offer, but first the moms themselves must figure out “who they are now.” When we interviewed women for our book Back on the Career Track, only about one-third wanted to return to the work they had done prior to having children. Another third wanted to do something related but not the same, and another third wanted to do something totally different, like the commercial banker who became a certified teacher of English as a Second Language. To make this sort of transition, and even one that’s not so radical, you really have to get to know yourself as you are today and be honest about what your current self is telling you. It’s going to be damn hard to get a job in corporate law, no matter what law school you attended, if that’s not what your inner self is rooting for. 

So, however you do it, whether you take a battery of occupational tests, visit a career counselor or therapist, or keep a journal, make sure you spend the time to figure out who you’ve grown into. Then you can start to figure out what’s next, now that your children have grown up.

Learn more about the Roadmap

A 5-Phase online workbook and support program to help you go from relaunch readiness assessment to negotiating your benefits package. Your self-paced tool for returning to work. 

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Success Stories

Maureen Byrne

Success Stories

Motivation, inspiration and ideas to shape your own story. Find your role models.


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"The Bible of Career Reentry"

"The Bible of Career Reentry"

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Book cover of Back On the Career Track

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