Valuing Our First Act to Lead to a Better Second Act

Woman in professional clothes kneeling down to embrace a toddler

Lately, I seem to be surrounded by women who are ready for their second act of life. Their children are grown and mostly independent. Many of these women either didn’t work outside of the house or chose to slow down their careers to focus on family. Of course, these are privileged women who had the financial option to do so and now have the opportunity to take on a new challenge in life.

So far, so good, right? Well, apparently not. Many of the women that I work with and talk to tell me that after years of raising children and running a home, they are sure they are not qualified for much of a career. They say, “I don’t really have any skills or experience.” “I’m too nervous to go out there and get a job.” “What if I fail? What if I’m not smart enough to do this work?” Most of them are terrified to put themselves out into the world and take on the challenges that come with reinventing yourself.

This is completely understandable in that going out on a limb, taking risks, possibly looking foolish, and failing are all difficult positions to be in and extremely humbling. Yet the belief that women who have raised children and run busy households are not qualified for anything else is ridiculous nonsense. If we believe that about our work within our families, what are we telling the world about how to treat us?

How is it that leading small humans into highly functional adults isn’t an in-demand #leadership skill? #motherhood Click To Tweet

How is it that leading small humans into highly functional adults isn’t an in-demand leadership skill? How about organization skills? Listening skills? Communication skills? Dealing with conflict and with varying personalities? All of these are skills that are in demand and highly needed in any work environment. Does society treat mothers (or parents of any gender) with a lot of respect? No, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow suit.

What if mothers didn’t answer the question of, “What do you do?” with the words, “Oh, I’m just a mom.” But rather, we hold our heads high and speak words with confidence saying, “I’ve run a highly successful household and raised my children to become successful, contributing members of society. Because of my work experience, I would be a competent, qualified, asset to your organization.” What if we owned our skills and talents and let others know these attributes as well?

Life doesn’t end when our children leave the nest. In fact, that’s the perfect time to get motivated on a second act of life. Maybe that’s a career or maybe that’s a fabulous hobby or new interest. Whatever it may be, it’s a woman’s chance to work on her own personal development and confidence.  Yet that confidence starts from a belief that our contributions thus far have made a big difference in the world.

So start by making a list of all that you’ve accomplished so far. Don’t be shy or humble when you write that list. Any of life’s experiences are skills that are useful for your second act. If you don’t value those skills, who will? As women it is our job to realize and speak of the skills and value of all we do to make this world a better place. We need to take those skills and live out our second act to our own standing ovation.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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A Very Bad Week? Assertiveness Gone Missing
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Comments to “Valuing Our First Act to Lead to a Better Second Act”

  1. Sadly, I’ve found that employers don’t value us either (although I suspect my own problem might be that I was meant to be an entrepreneur). It’s a shame that employers don’t value the important work stay-at-home moms do and what they have to offer. But making that list is a great step – if we go in to these interviews with a fierce confidence, it will make a difference.


    • YEs, that is sad. We can at least control how we present ourselves and that must be with pride and confidence. Employers are missing out on some great employees.