Motherhood and Career: Tips for Making Your Next Move

Posts, Building Your Product Career

By: Jessica Dominiczak, Chief Product Officer at The Mom Project

Career paths are seldom linear, and where you imagined you’d be when you started out is rarely where you end up. This can be especially true for moms, who must often navigate various twists and turns along the way. Life events — marriage, moving, babies — can upend plans and cause you to toss out your map. Or perhaps you’ve grown and evolved as you’ve gotten older, leading you to pursue a new passion that allows you to become the person you were always meant to be.

No matter why you’re seeking a change, strategically planning for your next move can help ensure you land in a role that fulfills you and brings you joy. As the Chief Product Officer at The Mom Project, I prioritize connecting women with opportunities that allow them to advance in their careers and lives. After more than a decade of working in tech, I’ve seen the challenges in representation and advancement for women.

Becoming a parent or caretaker can often feel like an additional barrier to overcome. That’s why I am passionate about supporting the advancement of women in technology. From my experience, I’ve carved out a few tips I’d like to share to help anyone considering making a move: discovering your “why,” connecting through helpful resources, brushing up on your skills, and maximizing your job search process, no matter the economic circumstances.

Before we get into how to approach your next career move best, it’s important to understand where women in the workplace currently stand — and where we’re headed.

The State of Mom

The upheaval of the pandemic sparked a workforce transformation, especially for women. In 2020, millions of women left jobs, forced out by layoffs or caregiving duties. This “Shecession” receded in 2021, but many women did not return to traditional office roles. 

Why the change? Research shows women’s work experiences suffered disproportionately during COVID-19, causing record levels of burnout and disengagement. The rapid shift to remote work and lack of childcare support also exposed gaps in flexibility, inclusion, and support for parents.  

Now, women are re-entering the workforce in record numbers, with new priorities shaped by the pandemic’s impacts. Whether they’re returning due to a career break or the pandemic, the expectations for moms remain the same. Work-life balance and flexibility rank high, along with inclusive culture and robust family benefits. With work-from-home no longer a perk but a need, women are seeking employers who embrace the possibilities of hybrid models.

The pandemic opened eyes to the need for flexibility and balance, values long championed by women in the workforce. With their voice and buying power, women can drive more human-centered, empathetic work practices. The future of work that engages and retains diverse talent is within reach.

Start With Your Why

We all have a passion that motivates us. In my case, my “why” starts with my grandma, a single mom of five who struggled to provide for her family. She would always put on a brave face, but at night my mom would hear her on the porch in her rocking chair, just crying, feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in front of her. Those moments shaped my mother, showing her that opportunity was the way out.

My mom fought hard to build a phenomenal career. With her as a serial CEO of startups, we often had to move to many different places. As a child, I saw the challenging dynamic of being a mom and having a career. At times it felt binary to me, as if we had to choose one or the other. As I started to progress in my own career, and especially as I held leadership roles, the challenge became personal. I was often the only woman in the room or the only one with kids.

When I was pregnant with my second and thinking about coming back to work after leave, I knew I would have to make a trade-off I didn’t want to make if I didn’t find a different path. A LinkedIn post from The Mom Project founder Allison Robinson came across my feed, in which she was talking about the challenges moms face and companies that were trying to do it differently. And I remember that moment so vividly because it was the first moment I felt seen. As a mom passionate about her career, I always felt I had something to hide rather than embrace — yet here was a company that built something for me, with employers who were looking for me.

From that moment, I was hooked, and I had found my own “why.” 

Finding your own “why” will require looking inward and being honest with yourself about what you truly want out of life. A return or pivot offers the perfect opportunity to reset and build a career that works for you.

Gather Your Resources

Before you begin making your next move, it’s important to make sure you’re adequately prepared for your return or transition. Educating yourself and ensuring you understand your industry, especially if you’ve been away for several years, is a critical first step. One of the best ways to do this is by connecting with peers. Women in Product offers several programs to build and strengthen your networks, meeting the needs of women by offering resources for those at varying career levels, from peer coaching circles to leadership programs.

At The Mom Project, we offer several key resources designed to revitalize your return to work. We host regular online events that cater to moms’ specific needs and interests, such as our Master Class series, The ReCharge, and so much more. Not only do these events break down the latest information you need to know, but they also provide the chance to connect with fellow moms who understand better than anyone what you’re going through.

Finally, mentorship and networking events can help you meet others and maybe even find your next opportunity. Having a community that understands your perspective can serve as a backbone of support, bolstering your confidence. When I started my job search, I reached out to several peers I had previously worked with for informal coffee chats to learn more about what they liked and found challenging in their roles. This again helped me discover my why, as I learned what did and did not resonate with me.

I also recently joined SideBar to grow my personal board of directors as a CPO, and I can’t say enough about how the camaraderie has opened my eyes to new ideas. The Women In Product Facebook groups can also provide tactical support, from mock interviews to negotiating tips and guidance from those in similar positions. If getting out and meeting people is your thing, look up local group chapters in your area.

Sharpen Your Skills

Whether you’re returning after a break or starting in a new field, chances are there have been new developments in your targeted industry. Even for those continuously in the workforce, brushing up on skills is a great idea, especially in fast-paced industries such as tech. 

Reforge courses offer the chance to hear how experienced leaders tackle opportunities across the product lifecycle. Education doesn’t always have to be formal. One of my go-to resources is Lenny’s Newsletter, the number one business newsletter on Substack that provides invaluable advice on building products, driving growth, and accelerating your career. Lenny also offers a podcast, with each episode ending with a favorite interview question to help candidates think through thoughtful questions in advance.

If you’re feeling nervous or uncertain about your time away, easing your way back into the workforce can be a great way to build back experience on your own time. One of the most recent and exciting developments at The Mom Project is our SelfMade platform, which helps freelance workers build their business profiles to share with clients, manage contracts and projects with employers, and identify new business opportunities through our network of part-time employers.

Another option is a Returnship or a Maternityship®, dedicated programs with our employer partners to help moms re-enter the workforce at a pace that works for them. Returnships are specifically designed for returners, offering a short-term opportunity to learn on the job, with most providing training and coaching along the way, whereas our Maternityship® program provides backfill coverage for employees who take parental leave, ensuring continuity of coverage through employees’ time away with family while allowing other moms and dads to keep their skills current 

Job Searching Tips…in Any Economy

Now that you’ve done all you can to prepare, it’s time for the main event: searching for your perfect fit. While the job searching process can feel daunting even in great economic times, it can feel especially difficult during periods of economic downturn. I recommend prioritizing fields within product that are growing. Doing so has a few advantages — you will find more jobs available, expand your pool, and you will be making a smart choice for the future by choosing a field with longevity.

Next, create your action plan. We outline specific steps in this blog, but it really boils down to ensuring you stay focused so you don’t feel discouraged during the process. Decide how you will target your search and how many jobs you will apply to each week. Give your cover letter and resume an overhaul, tailoring them to fit the positions you’re looking for. Don’t forget to utilize the power of your network. You never know who could help connect you with your next great opportunity. With that in mind, don’t be shy about reaching out to new connections, especially if you’re pivoting industries or reentering the workforce after a long period away.

If you’re finding it difficult to secure a full-time position, consider exploring contract or contingent positions. These typically shorter-term positions with a set number of hours per week are a great way to get your foot in the door at larger, more competitive companies, and they can often grow into more. Here are a few interview tips when interviewing for short-term work.

Define What Really Matters

When it comes down to it, the most important consideration when searching for your next job is what you want out of it — and what you ultimately want out of your career and your experience as a mother. Recognize that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and there are companies out there that offer benefits to suit your needs for the long haul. You just need to be on the lookout for them.

Define your top priorities before you make your next move, and don’t settle for something you know isn’t the right fit. Consider what flexibility means to you and what your non-negotiables are. You may not know right away, and that’s okay! Understand that your non-negotiables may shift over time; mine certainly did. 

When I started to feel like it was time to try something new in my career journey, I did a few tangible things, like having virtual coffee chats with peers I’d worked with previously to learn more about their jobs and what they liked and didn’t like, which helped me build a list of what really mattered in my career search. I also reached out to my network for companies or positions I was interested in, which led to a conversation with The Mom Project. While the right opportunity didn’t present itself right away, as needs evolved, they became a fit. Now, I am doing the job I love with a company aligned with my values. 

Your perfect position is out there, waiting for you. It’s your time to reach out and make your next big move.


Jessica Dominiczak, Headshot

Jessica Dominiczak

Jessica Dominiczak is the Chief Product Officer at The Mom Project, which delivers solutions to create more economic opportunities for the one million plus moms and allies on its platform by connecting them to jobs in companies such as Meta, Etsy, and Accenture.


Jessica Dominiczak, Headshot

Jessica Dominiczak

Jessica Dominiczak is the Chief Product Officer at The Mom Project, which delivers solutions to create more economic opportunities for the one million plus moms and allies on its platform by connecting them to jobs in companies such as Meta, Etsy, and Accenture.