Resuming Your Career after a Break: Strategies for Moms with guest Janice Scholl

In this episode of the Brainy Moms podcast, Dr. Amy Moore and visiting co-host Sandra Zamalis interview Janice Scholl, host of the Money, Career, & Motherhood podcast and founder of Strategic Sabbaticals.  Janice discusses the struggles and fears that moms face when trying to return to work after taking a break to have a child. She shares tips for staying connected during a break, being thoughtful in considering what the next career looks like, and how to explain the break in a way that will appeal to future employers. We discovered that being strategic about a career break is possible and got some great resources for helping moms to do it! 

Read the transcript and show notes for this episode:

Brainy Moms Podcast Episode 115
Resuming Your Career after a Break: Strategies for Moms
with guest Janice Scholl

Dr. Amy Moore:

Hi, and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms. I’m Dr. Amy Moore and Terry is out today, so I am here with a visiting co-host Sandy Zamalis. Sandy is a married mom of two, a former homeschooler, probation officer and USA swimming coach. She’s a board certified cognitive specialist and owner of LearningRx Stanton Harrisonburg in Virginia. I am so excited for you to co-host with me today, Sandy.

Sandra Zamalis:

Oh, thank you so much for having me, I am absolutely thrilled to be here. I have a general rule that whenever I’m invited to be in the same room with really smart women, I show up. So that I can listen and just bathe in the wisdom.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Well, just so our listeners know, Sandy is a very brainy mom, so she’s being modest.

Okay, so Sandy and I are excited to introduce our podcast guest today, Janice Scholl. Janice is the host of the Money Career & Motherhood Podcast, founder of Strategic Sabbaticals and an advocate for working mothers. She’s passionate about illuminating the money and work-life challenges women face through the stages of motherhood. Through her work, she supports mothers in their quest to be financially empowered and use their skills while being fully present for their children. In addition to hosting her own podcast, she’s a frequent speaker on the topics of motherhood and money, career breaks and family finances. Her Strategic Sabbaticals program is designed to amplify the growth and opportunity women find through a career break to ensure a successful return to paid work. Welcome Janice.

Janice Scholl:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here today.

Dr. Amy Moore:

We are too. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your story and the evolution of Money Career & Motherhood, the how and why?

Janice Scholl:

Yeah, it’s definitely been an evolution. I’ll tell you that. So I started my career really in commercial banking and I was a professional woman for years prior to motherhood. And my husband and I both had this idea of what motherhood would be like and what parenthood would be like when our first daughter arrived. And lo and behold, it was nothing like what we had prepared and planned for.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Of course not.

Janice Scholl:

No, I kept thinking back to this one friend of mine who’s like, “I’m going to give you one piece of parenting advice, and this is the only parenting advice I’ll ever give you,” and she goes to say, “Don’t listen to anybody else’s parenting advice, it won’t work for your kid.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Janice Scholl:

And so there we were and I was like, “Now I get it” right? But so here we were a family with two working professionals and I was also getting my MBA, I was in graduate school and we had a newborn. And we had this plan of how we were going to navigate this really stressful time in life but it was based on something that was not our reality. Our daughter had some medical challenges early on that we had to face and so here we were realizing that it doesn’t always work to have two working professionals who can both excel at work and excel at taking care of the needs of their children.

And while I was in school, I worked on a project that was designed to help increase women in top tier MBA programs. And it was so serendipitous because I got to see how related our career advancement and our career plans are with motherhood, because so often the time that our careers really take off or have the opportunity to really take off are exactly at the same times that we are considering and starting to grow a family. And so we have these two really labor intensive things that occur at the same time.

And so, as I was feeling like I was not doing a good job as a mother and I was feeling like I wasn’t doing a good job at work, I was looking at the research that told me, “You’re not alone, this is what highly accomplished women face.” And it was so important to me because somehow we think often that brainy moms, that highly successful moms, if they want their career enough, they will remain dedicated to it. And that’s just not the reality that many families and many mothers face with what their families need. So with that, as the backdrop, I managed to stay in my career, I worked through the transition by switching the type of role I was working in with my employer. We were able to work out flexibility but I ultimately did take a career break that was due to us moving overseas.

So we spent time overseas and that was kind of the next evolution of what I now call Money Career and Motherhood and Strategic Sabbaticals, because I was with a bunch of amazing people who had left careers because of supporting their spouse’s career to move abroad and they wanted to get back to it. And that was when that reality of 90% of women who take a career break, want to get back in to professional employment but yet many don’t. And so that’s where Strategic Sabbaticals was born because I wanted to help women navigate the realities of a career break and not just the internal feelings of what we fear in a career break return, because they’re often a little disconnected and we can talk about that more. So once we moved back to the US, I kind of evaluated the opportunity to go back into the traditional workforce and decided that really my heart and my mind are dedicated to helping women through these challenges and just being the support system with my financial experience in the past to help women address the family and personal challenges that come with the transitions of motherhood.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So that really resonates with my experience as well, my husband’s retired military. And so we used to joke that if you were a teacher or a nurse as a military spouse, you could take that career anywhere, right? But if you had location-bound careers, then you really did have to put your career on hold and so then what do you, do? You have babies, right? Because your career is on hold anyway but then life is going on without you. And I was super fortunate, I was a teacher at the time but absolutely resonated with me when you spoke about that.

Sandra Zamalis:

I just really love that term Strategic Sabbatical, it is so positive and affirming versus a career break or even choosing to be a stay-at-home moms. I’m really going to use that phrase more, I think. I know when my kids were young and I chose to stay at home with them and I would often make a point to visualize those next steps for myself and figure out how I was going to get back into the workforce. And even try to strategically think through how I was going to model that for my kids, my mom modeled that for me, she had a huge career change when I was in college. And you shared that amazing statistic, that 90% statistic, could you share more and what goes into the decision making process for women on whether or not they want to take that career break? Can you share a little bit more about that?

Janice Scholl:

Yeah, absolutely. And so 90% of women want to return to the workforce when they leave. So first of all, this idea that women just want to leave the workforce and not come back and have babies and stay out is not really… It’s something that kind of is a perspective that we experienced in the corporate world, but it’s not the reality. Most women want to raise amazing humans and use their professional skills and expertise. So of the 90% who want to return, 74% ultimately do, but only 40% of the returners actually go back into professional full-time employment. So out of a 100 women who would decide that they want to go back only 30 are going to actually end up in third, into full-time professional employment after that and that’s where the breakdown happens.

So women are leaving the workforce and they’re leaving the workforce to solve problems. They’re leaving because of childcare challenges, which I mean, we know that fully over the past 15 months, right? The pandemic in particular has just reached this point of capitulation for women in their careers who are mothers. But that was really a major problem that women were solving through leaving and taking career breaks prior to COVID as well. But even still they’re solving problems, but they want to remain employed.

And so that, when you look at that and you realize how few end up back in that’s when you can identify this disconnect of what’s happening during career breaks. And I’m so glad that you liked the term Strategic Sabbatical and when we talk about sabbaticals, usually we’re talking about kind of a leave of absence and a return to your core work and probably within the same company or often it’s talked about in academia. But to me, I use it differently, obviously but it’s about the rest and recharge that you get on a sabbatical and bringing that energy back into your career.

We don’t, as a society, stay in one career path any longer, we don’t start with one company and retire from that company any longer. And so the concept of having a sabbatical with one company is not something that’s going to work for everyone, but by planning it to be a sabbatical, we can actually address what the research says are the challenges women face when they take a career break and help them use that information to get back into paid employment or paying entrepreneurship, that can be their next step out of the workforce.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Wow. Let’s say that they do choose to take a career break, what happens when they want to come back? How does the corporate world actually treat moms who have been on a career break?

Janice Scholl:

Well, the first question I think is how do we treat ourselves when we’re returning? Because the first barrier is women fear, mothers fear that they have to do a great job of explaining the break and that nobody will want them because they have deskilled during their time out of the workforce. Those are the two biggest fears that I hear from women is that they’re afraid that they don’t have any skills that are worthwhile in the marketplace. And let’s be honest, the world has changed dramatically. If you left the work world a year ago or five years ago or 10, things look different than they did. So the first barrier to re-entry is really ourselves and the conversations that we often have with ourselves that we’re not really wanted in the way that we were wanted before, we’re not the same person who left the workforce. So what type of job might I be eligible for, is kind of clouded through those conversations that we’re having with ourselves.

And employers, they do require an explanation of what did you do in your time off. And so when we focus on the career break, we’re telling them that we chose to leave the profession, we chose to leave our career, that is not a priority but we can paint a story that demonstrates to employers that ambition didn’t die when we were on a career break. Again, most women I know, do want to continue to invest in themselves professionally while they’re on a career break. They didn’t say, “I’m done investing in my personal growth and professional growth,” they just needed extra time. So employers who might be questioning a career break, painting a story and showing them how you remained ambitious and invested in yourself professionally during that break, can really help. And that can be in the form of skill-building or different activities that just show you remain active. So that is going to address the confidence barrier that I see women face and it’s also going to address that dreaded, “How do I explain my break?”

But, the real challenge, the real barrier is that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. When women leave the workforce, usually they disconnect from their network. That is where it is so important to have a strategy on the front end because you can decide five years into a career break, “Hey, I want to go back to work in a year and I’m going to start investing in skills and I’m going to do some things to prepare me for the workforce,” but it is a lot harder to completely rebuild a network from scratch than it is to maintain what you have and continue to grow that. And so these are, again, just some of the ways that using the research of how we get jobs, how we find our next career path and how companies are going to consider us. It’s how we can address the realities of a career break rather than just focus on our fears.

Sandra Zamalis:

That is so relatable, I know I experienced all of those things. I remember being so overwhelmed and thought the whole process was daunting. And then we had moved to a new city, so I knew no one, so no network, nothing. But I know our listeners would really love to hear some practical steps that you might like to share of what they could do to reduce some of that impact of a career break with their career and help them prepare for when they are ready to return. What could they do to build a network in their community? Or even, what are some skills that can kind of lean into to prepare?

Janice Scholl:

Yeah and when I work with women through the Strategical Sabbaticals process, there’s three key areas of focus. The first is personal development and having a personal strategy because I do find that if you left, however long ago you left, you’re not the same person when you’re looking to return. So the first is knowing what skills you actually want because you have an idea of what career you want to go into. What can happen, and it sounds kind of fluffy but, what can happen if you don’t really understand yourself first, then a lot of times we’ll focus on trying to get that career we left.

And then we invest all of this time and energy in getting back to our old place and then we have a job offer or we start in a new career with, in the old area of profession and we realize this isn’t actually who we are anymore, this isn’t what I really want. So doing the hard work of learning ourselves again and understanding what we want out of our career in our life at this point, then we can do a better job of deciding what skills we need, deciding what type of employment we want.

And I like to compare, we often pick our careers, our initial careers when we’re 23 years old, right? We go to college, we have an idea, we get our first jobs and we make a plan of how our life is going to go from there. Don’t let 23 year old you ,sabotage the excellence that you can be today. We don’t need to think about what that career could have been because the reality is, I’m much more confident that 42 year old me can do a good job of making decisions about the rest of my life, than 23 year old me. So that’s, that’s the first thing. And the second is then you pick the skills that you want to invest in. Technology skills are always a good idea, right? Because I think first of all, again, that’s an area that we lack confidence in if we’ve been disengaged for a period of time and second of all, it’s just a necessary skill in today’s world.

So identifying which skills you want to invest in, and then you can figure out what are the best ways to get those skills. There are so many ways that you can do it on a career break for free or very inexpensively. Like if you do need the technology skills, the computer science skills, you can go to places like Coursera, where you can earn certifications for low cost or there are boot camps and things like that that are more expensive, but are less expensive than going to school in a traditional program.

If you are looking to get right back into the workforce, returnship programs. Which are basically internships for experienced professionals who have taken time out of the workforce can be a great way to, first of all, kind of test the waters and get yourself exposed back to the workforce as well as learn skills that are needed in today’s world. And then also for skills, we want to identify the ones that we’ve been using during our break because those are going to be the ones that help tell the story to our prospective employer in the future. While we may not have been working in the traditional workforce, we’ve been doing something and often we underestimate and kind of undervalue the activities that we’ve been doing and the ways that we’ve been using those skills that we built up in our careers before, while we’re on a career break.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So we weren’t just breastfeeding and changing diapers, we were still engaged socially, somehow or cognitively somehow.

Janice Scholl:

Yes, yes. And I mean, I’m sure that there’s a lot of moms out there who can relate to the fact that if somebody were to ask me today, “What’s the most challenging thing you’ve managed to work through?” Or ‘Where’s the scenario that you’ve had to work through where you didn’t have all of the information?” I have some work stories, they’re pretty unexciting because they’re pretty plain vanilla, right? But the challenges that I have faced as a mother with my children, I mean, I’ve moved my kids’ cultures, I’ve dealt with medical issues, we’ve dealt with academic challenges. Those have been so much more powerful for me to become kind of a more agile, adaptive person, which is what’s needed in the workforce today. So it’s painting the story of yes, no, I didn’t just stay home and breastfeed, I actually moved mountains over the past five years or however long and here’s how I did it. And during your career break, recognizing in the moment like, “I’m doing an awesome job problem solving right now,” that’s way better than looking back five years ago and trying to say, “What did I do?”

And so if you are able to just kind of make yourself a mental note or write it, I’m a forgetter, so write it down and keep a file on your computer of, “These are the handful of things I’m proud of this year,” whether they’re personal or professional or anything, just have that list to go back to you because it’s going to be a confidence boost and it’s going to give you something to talk about in the future with a prospective employer.

Dr. Amy Moore:

I love that idea.

Sandra Zamalis:

Love those skills, yeah. That’s a great, do you have ideas for the networking aspect of how to get back out and meet people and get involved so that you can find those jobs that might be a good fit?

Janice Scholl:

Yes. so there’s a few ways. And first of all, I think the pandemic has placed a challenge and an opportunity on us because for many moms, the challenge is, “Well, I know how to network but I don’t know how to network without time,” right? so first of all, if you don’t have a LinkedIn, have a LinkedIn, you need to have a really great profile that people can connect with you in and you want to start to get active. Networking is great when you have, when you are demonstrating yourself as a go-to person for something. So what that means is if you’re on LinkedIn, connecting with people is great, sharing your ideas and thoughts is better because then people get a sense for who you are and what your thing is.

On a personal basis, we usually don’t really address our personal network. And again, you don’t know who’s in your personal network, if you’re not having an active conversation about what your plans are. And for some reason, women on career breaks are the quietest people about their dreams and aspirations, professionally. We keep real quiet but again, if you want to be thought of as somebody for a position, people have to know that you’re thinking of a position. You have to be someone that becomes top of mind.

So think about your personal network and how you can be top of mind if something comes up. So I had an opportunity that came up here in Tennessee, where I live, that was through a former colleague and now friends that we’ve kind of been disconnected for years, but we still remain in contact. And she knew I was in a new place and my experience in the past and knew that I loved the work that I was doing and so it was just natural for her to reach out. If she didn’t know that I still wanted to get back into banking at some point, she would have never reached out to me for this position.

So being top of mind is important. And then to actually meet people, there’s a couple of things that you can do. First strategic volunteering is a really, really great way to encompass all of this stuff you’re trying to do when you’re getting back into the workforce. And by strategic volunteering, I mean volunteer in a way that demonstrates and develops the skills that you want to use in your next career. And it gives you an opportunity to develop a more broad network in a volunteering capacity because you’ll kind of bump into all kinds of different people, but now not only are you going to get to meet people, but you’re going to get to meet people who are then going to have some idea of what you’re about.

So you’re not just going to be a name, you’re going to be, “Hey, I know Sandra, this is what she’s about, I have an idea that might work for her.” So strategic volunteering is awesome. The other is, I love creating masterminds and they don’t have to be under the umbrella of somebody else. There’s lots of masterminds out there that can help you do anything you want, create a business, help your social media, do all of these things. But for women who are just dabbling and trying to figure out how to get back into the workforce, you can join something organized but you can also literally just talk to your friends about who’s interested in getting back to work at some point. I find it to take about two to five minutes to get any woman to open up about her professional path and plans. And that’s from working women to stay-at-home moms and everywhere in between. We all have a reason we’ve chosen the path that we’ve chosen and so it’s not that hard to talk about.

So if you have a group of women who don’t have to be from the same industry, they don’t have to be on the same timeline but all of them are grappling with these problems, it takes a village. And so create your village, meet monthly and talk about each point that each person’s at, you’ll identify networking opportunities amongst the group and amongst people that you know, “Okay, I know this person you should talk to.” And also we get out of our own head and we start to hear the ideas and the ways other peoples are addressing the challenges that we’re facing as well.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Those are fantastic tips.

Janice Scholl:

Thank you.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So you talk a little bit about how the fears that women have about going back into the workforce after taking a career break might not actually match what they should be fearing?

Janice Scholl:

Yes, I think, and the fears are the fears are valid, your fears are valid and they are real. I just don’t think that we’re weighting them properly. Because if you were to ask many women who are out of the workforce, they’re not thinking about their network, except their network is the key but they’re thinking about that deskilling. And deskilling is real and it is a challenge, but in today’s world, in our virtual world, deskilling is often the easiest one to solve, it is completely in our control. And so it is a reality and it is something to fear, but we have to take a step back and say, “Hey, wait a minute, is this solvable by me? What can I do to take this fear off of my plate?”

Dr. Amy Moore:

So good.

Sandra Zamalis:

You know what’s really weird is that, I’m an empty-nester, both my kids just graduated from college. But I feel like this discussion is so applicable to them too because when you come out of college, you feel like you know nothing, you don’t know where to start and then I felt the same way coming back in from my sabbatical. I just love saying that. So I just, I love the tips that you’ve given because they’re just also practical.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah and achievable.

Janice Scholl:

One of the things I talk about just about being a working mother and that mom guilt thing that many of us experience at work and at home, we are socialized at work to talk about our strengths, we are not socialized to talk about our weaknesses. So when we have these fears and these concerns that were not up to par, we don’t talk about them enough. And yet all of the moms that I have worked with and that I have talked to outside of work, it’s so common that we are harder on ourselves, we are kind of creating more of a barrier than we’re actually facing, because we don’t recognize that, “Hey, if everybody’s talking about their strengths,” there is a counterbalance on the weakness side, we all have areas of strength and weakness, no one is perfect. But we know this in our minds, but we don’t feel it in our hearts until we’re having conversations with other people and I think that happens at every stage of career, right?

Sandra Zamalis:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right. And I think social media does such an injustice to that because we just want to put the highlights out there, right? We don’t want to be vulnerable and talk about, “Hey, I’m really struggling with this.” And so you kind of do feel like you’re alone then if you are struggling, because everyone on social media is the smashing success, right?

Janice Scholl:

It’s so true, it’s so true. And I think it is really hard because for some moms who are in the thick of it and just really struggling because they’re busy and it’s hard to be connected in person, social media is the way that they’re connecting. It’s a really important tool for moms but it’s not reality. And so it can be really dangerous to think that that paints the whole picture.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, absolutely. Hey, so we need to take a quick break and read a word from our sponsor. And then when we come back we want to hear a little bit more about your show and your services.

Sandra Zamalis:
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Dr. Amy Moore:

And we’re back talking to Janice Scholl from Money, Career, and Motherhood. We have been hearing about the challenges of taking a career break after having a child, but also hearing some amazing advice and tips for how to manage that when you do make that decision. So we’d love to hear more about your podcast.

Janice Scholl:

Yap. So I launched the Money Career and Motherhood Podcast this past year, we just had our one year anniversary.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yay!

Janice Scholl:

Made it a whole year, I committed myself that I would make it a whole year and I absolutely love it. And so really the approach I take with Money Career and Motherhood is that women are amazing and empowered and capable in managing their personal financial future for themselves and their family but many don’t want to necessarily be actively involved in thinking about money every single day. And the financial services world often has a real linear approach to money, it’s money is a goal, this is how you have to do it, rate of return, balances, all of that. My approach is really that as a mother, my family and our well being is the focal point and so it’s bringing money into the conversations we’re already having.

When we’re talking about how our kids are going to excel in school, there’s an impact to our career and there’s an impact to our family’s finances and figuring out how to create the best environment for our kids. There’s no money as a goal on its own when you’re a mom. So that’s really why I created Money Career and Motherhood, because to me it’s not Superman laser vision, eyes on the prize, It is a tornado of thoughts when moms are thinking about money, career and motherhood and they’re often all wrapped up together.

Sandra Zamalis:

That’s so true.

Janice Scholl:

It’s the way we think and I want to work with the way we actually want money. Money is a tool for our families to be successful, it is not the goal and so understanding that difference is exactly what I want to bring mothers. Is that often we are really highly engaged and we are thinking about money, it’s the opportunity costs in the trade-offs that we make on a daily basis for our family, with both our time and our money. So this first season, we kind of talked about all of those things.

This next season, we are going to talk specifically about career breaks, should you take one? What to do during one? How to get out of one? What companies are doing a great job with those who are taking career breaks, those types of things because as we get out of pandemic life, hopefully, things feel next school year for kids a little bit more stable. And those women who do want to start planning to get back into the workforce or want to understand what the new world of work is going to be like, are able to get the resources that they need. So that’s really going to be our focus next season, when we launch back in the fall.

Sandra Zamalis:

I’m excited, you just won a listener.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, exactly. I think you just got two new listeners.

Sandra Zamalis:

Yeah, it’s going to start putting into my normal cycle of podcasts. So you also have a coaching program for women, correct? In entrepreneurship as well as financial literacy. Can you share more about that with the Brainy Mom community? What does that entail?

Yep. So, my background is commercial banking. I have a real analytical mind and when you’re a banker, you focus on risk. So I have a different approach. I find that, we all need coaching in one way or another, but often when we’re trying to figure out these areas of life, where there is no easy answer and there is so much impact that can come out of the decisions that we make to our families, that it can feel really paralyzing. And so I use the risk and kind of frameworks that I’ve developed in my professional life and apply it to personal life. And it helps kind of bridge the two gaps. Again, bringing money and career into the conversations that we’re already having and the lifestyles that we want for our families. So first is Strategic Sabbaticals and helping women actually navigate what to do during a career break because while we think about, “Should we take a career break for a real long time?” We often then take a career break and we stop focusing on what happens next and so I want women to be engaged on what happens next through the whole path.

So Strategic Sabbaticals is a six weeks program that can really help women get from, “I am going to take a career break, I have no idea what’s going to happen after this. It’s just in a best.” So we paint the picture and give the vision of where you’re going and where you want to be. And it really, really is empowering for women. But I also offer the coaching on, “Should you take a career break?” There’s a lot that goes into deciding of whether or not you should take a career break. And what’s really important is that many women, like I said, nearly half of women take career breaks, but so many more want to but are not financially able to do so. So understanding your personal finances is absolutely part of that motherhood and career analysis that women have to do because if you’re not financially stable and able to take the career break, then you don’t feel empowered. You don’t feel like your career is really supporting you personally and as a goal, it’s just that necessary hamster wheel that you stay on for the money part.

So that’s kind of the other piece is really helping women decide if they should take a career break and then the financial decisions that come with, how do we build a strong financial foundation for families so that when circumstances do change with a kid, you can take a career break? Or if it’s just not what you’re doing is not working, how do you make those changes? Because you already have this financial foundation built. And then I find that many women who take career breaks don’t want to get back into the traditional workforce, they end up as podcast hosts, they end up as coaches, they end up as business owners. And so it’s like, “No, I want to use all of my gifts, I want to use all of my skills,” but the lack of that many of us feel in Corporate America is not-

Sandra Zamalis:

And the flexibility was key for me.

Janice Scholl:

Yeah and the needs of flexibility for each person vary. There’s a time in my life where I needed structure, I needed work to end at a certain time, there’s another time in my life where I needed complete flexibility and the ability to design my day because we had to manage doctor appointments and things that would come up that we didn’t know about. Each mom has to build her own lifestyle and if you go out to the internet and you try to say, “Okay, what type of job should I do?” Or “What type of business should I start?” There’s a whole bunch of information on how to do it and what you should do but it doesn’t take into account your personal circumstances.

And again, your family’s financial foundation and what you can afford and how much risk you can afford to take is very important to decide what type of business you’re going to start. The type of lifestyle and the type of flexibility and how much time you have to dedicate to a business equally is important. And so addressing it again with the family, a mother at the center, rather than, “I just want to start a business and it to make money,” is the way I approach everything that I do with my clients.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So when is the most ideal time to get coaching with you on taking a Strategic Sabbatical? When you’re pregnant? When you’re thinking about getting pregnant? What does that look like?

Janice Scholl:

So I do coach and I do offer webinars for prepping for your career on maternity leave but I don’t think that’s the best time because, unless you already know that you’re thinking about taking a career break. I think it’s when you start thinking, “What I’m doing might not be sustainable.” For some women, they have that idea prior to maternity leave, but most it’s not until sometime after. For some, its… I have a great episode with Raquel Kelly on the podcast, talking about how she literally just realized on maternity leave, “I can never go back to doing what I was doing before,” she had it all figured out and then it all blew up. So that does happen. For others of us, we go back to work, we think we’ve got it all together and then I find that for some it’s around this 18 months mark, where we’ve been parenting for a while, we’re out of the sleepless nights, hopefully, but parenting is still really intensive.

And we realize, “Oh no, this is going to be like this for a long time and I was running on adrenaline for 18 months, but I can’t do it anymore.” So whenever a woman realizes, “Hey, what I’m doing is not sustainable and I’m thinking about making a change.” That’s when I think it can really be beneficial to meet and just have that, “Should you take a career break,” discussion. And I have no interest in having choose to stay employed or to take a career break. I want them to figure out what’s best for their personal circumstances because a lot, there are a lot of people out there who do have an interest in the outcome and are focused on that one path, but each family and each woman needs to be able to weigh all of the pros and cons that go into that decision.

Sandra Zamalis:

I just wished I had a sounding board like that. Yeah, five years ago, six years ago, even 20 years ago, that is such a wonderful service that you’re offering to women, it really is, it’s much needed.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely. I know that when I was pregnant with my first, I decided I was going to take a year off and about six weeks into being a mom, I said, “Oh no, this is not going to work for me.” So I could have planned to take a career break, but that would not have worked out for me, anyways.

Janice Scholl:

And that’s I think we were all really, really good parents and really smart and worldly before we had our babies, right? We knew a lot of things before and so that’s why it can go in both directions, right? Three month maternity leave can feel too long for some people. For others, that’s a minute and it’s not even remotely long enough and so whatever you feel is valid and is okay but once you start to question it, if you feel like the world is pressuring you into a path that doesn’t work for your family, that disconnect is something that you should really dig deep into and figure out.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, that’s the barometer, I like that.

Janice Scholl:

Yeah. Because again, fear can keep driving us. People stay in careers because they’re afraid of the career break. So that’s the other side of the equation is that, if you keep working in a soul-sucking career and spending time away from your family, when in fact you really do want to take a break and reset and find a new career path for you, that’s not going to help you or your family either. Figuring out the way to do it can be much more effective.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, absolutely. So hey, one question we like to ask all of our Brainy Moms guests who are moms, if you had it to do over again, if you had them all again, what would you go back and say to your younger self about motherhood?

Janice Scholl:

Huh. I thought about this question a lot because you hear it often when you’re a guest on a podcast and I would’ve told myself to not feel judged. When our daughter was first born, she had some medical challenges and it resulted in real severe feeding issues. And here I was, this accomplished professional woman going to a really good school and I couldn’t teach my daughter the basic necessities of life. She was really struggling with something that is a reflex for most kids. And I really, I felt so judged that it hindered my ability to push for my daughter at first and we are our children’s best advocates.

And so sometimes when you’re a parent and you’re facing something that’s different than what other families and other parents are facing, people can make light of some of the stuff that you’re experiencing. “Oh, he’ll grow out of it, she’ll grow out of it,” or “Oh, it’s no big deal.” And you feel like, “Well, then it must be me, I must be doing something wrong or I must just be over sensitive about this issue.” When in fact in our circumstances, I wasn’t being sensitive, I wasn’t overreacting, we really did have problems that we needed to address. And the only way my daughter was able to get the help she needed was because we kept pushing with the doctors. And so be strong enough to ignore the judgment is what I would have told my younger self because I feel so much more empowered and strong now because of that experience but man, it was really tough at the time.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right and we’re going to be our children’s biggest advocate, right? Nobody else is going to be able to do that for us.

Janice Scholl:

Absolutely.

Dr. Amy Moore:

For sure. So we are out of time and need to wrap up but this has been a fantastic conversation today, Janice. Thank you so much for being our guest on Brainy Moms.

Janice Scholl:

Thank you.

Dr. Amy Moore:

If you would like to connect with Janice or learn more about her podcast or coaching program, you can find her at moneycareermotherhood.com and we’ll put her social media handles and those links in the show notes. Along with a link to take advantage of a 25% discount that she is offering on her coaching program to Brainy Moms listeners.

So thanks so much for listening to us today, if you liked our show, we would love it if you would leave us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts. If you would rather watch us, we are on YouTube, so please subscribe to our Brainy Moms YouTube channel and follow us on social media. We are @TheBrainyMoms and @dr_amymoore.

So look, until next time we know you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms, so we are out!

Show Notes and Links:

Connect with Janice Scholl

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janice-pica-scholl/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneycareermotherhood/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moneycareermotherhood/
Find out more about Money, Career, & Motherhood and Strategic Sabbaticals


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