I am a stay at home mama, have been for about 7 years with about 4 more to go before my youngest is in school. For all the parents who have found that career that they are really happy with how did you know? Where do you start? I had my first child when I was in college, I have an associates degree in business, but I don't know if that is where I want to continue. So much has changed in my life and in me since I became a mom. How do you start from here?
What do I want to be when I grow up?
I think what I might do if I were you, is go through the book What Color is Your Parachute, in the latest version. This book walks you through your aptitudes and what you are already good at, and helps you to just know by the end of the book what you want to do. It's done in a fun way, not a dry career counselor style. This book once transformed my life and helped me move toward my dream job.
Business is such a broad thing, and the career world keeps rapidly changing. It is really great that you have some time to think this through!
Another good book is "Do What You Are".
I think the key to finding the right job and career path is knowing who you are and who you aren't. I feel introversion vs extroversion plays a big role in careers. I haven't been home as long as you but I graduated college 6 months pregnant and worked for a year as an HR manager and it was draining on me emotionally.
I'm really trying to savor this time as a sahm but it's really hard because I don't fully identify with the role I am playing. I love my kids, but they are not my identity and purpose in life. I would never choose to have a career as a cook, house keeper, child care worker, tutor etc, yet that's a big portion of my job duties right now. What is it that you like about being a sahm? Maybe identifying those areas will help. Read some books and learn more about who you are and who you aren't.
I found it impossible to decide until I was 30 and it caused me so much frustration to 'not know'. I had lots of great ideas, but could always find a reason that x,y, or z wouldn't work out. I read about a technique (can't remember the book), but it said to list things you value. For me it was something like : flexibility, worthwhile mission, possible self-employment, or running my own business.. freedom.. enjoying my occupation and the environment I'm in...
Once I made my list I think the next step was to look at your passions and hobbies and see how these can blend, and/or what skill set you need that would help further a particular goal/vision you have set for yourself.
Of all things, I deduced it all to accounting. I never would've guessed in a million years that is what I would major in. But, it gives options, and a fall-back plan. And the business know-how to further non-profits and start-ups that I wish to be a part of and contribute to (and still be able to make a living somehow). I had/have ideas to help people (I think anyways), but I needed to understand how business works to be able to be effective in what I want to do.
So for me most books did not work at all to really get to something I feel is going to fit all of my criteria for my vision of where I want to be in 5-10 years and what I want for my family.
I hope that helps somebody; Its changed my life for the better (still in school, but finally feel settled in myself).
Interesting, I just started considering accounting for my Master's degree, and I never imagined that I would consider "math" as a degree and career. But having been in the 8-5 workforce, I hate everything about it. My goal is to wohm part time, and accounting seems like a field where that and/or telecommuting is possible. By the time I finish my degree, I'll have a few years experience running a non-profit program, including financials (small scale, but still, finances), so I think I'll be able to find a niche as I'll have both experience and education.