From SAHM to Working Mum (intro)

The news hit me like a punch: In 4 months, we are out of the country.

Adios Filipino island life, back to Europe.

But WHAT will we do and WHERE? I have been so into this “living the moment” state of mind, drishti hardly a few feet in front of me … With my eyes now wide open, I realize that my little Attilas will soon go to school full day, so the time has come: BACK TO WORK!


I have been out of the workplace for 3 years. I studied quite a lot (thanks Coursera and Edx), did a tiny bit of consulting, and had the chance to become a yoga teacher. How would that fit a resume?

3 years is quite a gap.. How will I compete with the other Communication specialists who have been working around the clock when I was chasing my kids on the beach? What if a recruiter browses my blog and sees how much fun I had while he was working extra hours in his rainy and cold Londonian office? Plus my Linkedin Profile does not say much about any specific skills related to “Corporate Social Responsibility”, the sector I deeply want to work in.

Option 1: forget it. Marcel will find a job at some stage. After being crowned the Cookies Queen/Bread Queen/Vegan food Queen, I can still improve my baking skills I guess? Or totally turn into a desperate housewife/soccer Mum ?

Fasten your seatbelt, we are on the road again !

Option 2: find a way. To be really honest, I need to work! I have been missing the intellectual stimulation so much, and I want to promote social change and sustainable development beyond my beautiful circle of family and friends. The US elections woke me up more than they depressed me. It’s time for action, for engagement, to stand actively for the values we believe in (I am an ENFJ, can’t deny it!)

Ready? Steady?

Over the last months, I went from the bottom of the stairs to the fourth step .. Way to go, but at least I eventually moved!


Where to start ?

Getting to appreciate my skills and my interests: Before I start sending any application, I need a vision. Where do I want to go? what for? with which skills?

Volunteering to be hands on

I have reached out to the NGO Rank a Brand to volunteer in their team of rankers. It’s not paid, but I’m getting a lot of valuable technical knowledge in the field of CSR reporting. I recently graduated from an European university in “Communicating CSR” and this experience is a great way to put all I have learnt into practice.

Networking to feel inspired

I feel I need to understand the sector needs better before I can adapt my resume accordingly.

So I am back on Linkedin again, commenting at least 5 posts a week on CSR (a way to start my networking too). I used to hate this platform, with all those professional pictures and fake keywords. But once you start reading interesting posts, engaging in discussions, you start believeing that there is some potential here to make great connections.

I am currently brainstorming a list of 10 people I’d like to connect with : mostly people who work at companies I’m interested in potentially working at. I am also including people who have a job title I am interested in learning more about (“CSR Head of strategy”, “CSR management consultant” “CSR specialist” ..). I’ll use this list read about them, check on their experience and get inspired to tailor my resume to the needs of the industry. Then I ll reach out to them. Once I know exactly what I want to ask them. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

As I never sent any networking letter, I will take the exercise as an interview. Finding out who is behind the title, what they’ve done and which qualities they are looking for when recruiting/working with a communication specialist.

And this is where I need you: your comments, your advices, and a bit of encouragement won’t hurt 🙂

This is the first post of a series I want to write to keep it up with my goals. I am planning to spend an average of 2 weeks per step, and come back to you with the summary of the journey and what’s next.

Yoga to focus, relax and recharge 

In the meanwhile, I’ll stop teaching yoga for a little while and only take classes to develop my technical skills. I need to focus on myself, practice sequences that will develop my strenght and flexibility, alternating with more restorative ones to recharge my batteries.

Fine tuning my skills in all fields before I can proudly share them with the rest of the world 😉 Wish me luck and please share  your experiences with me.





36 thoughts on “From SAHM to Working Mum (intro)

  1. Estelea I am sharing this blog post with my hubby Ben, because he is a strategist and uniquely adept at helping people transition from one stage of life to an alternative professional trajectory:

    There are many alternative paths open to you as I see it. (si tu veux, en francais et par courriel –…

    The field of CSR is as you know in large part about a) selecting the sectors of impact where you can feel satisfied with your role in a positive outcome, b) identifying sources of funding to make it possible to have impact, c) weaving the partners that are required to execute the program and d) telling the story so that impact begets more support and therefore more impact.

    As I see it, there are three obvious tracks right off the bat worth exploring:

    1) Applying your CSR communication skills to the myriad mid size NGOs that positively suck at telling the story. From your blog it is obvious that you have the ability to tell a story well , in a compelling way that makes it appealing to the reader. Before trying to monetize that skill, I would urge you to focus not on the large NGOs that have communication departments, but on a basket of smaller focused NGOs that would benefit from the content you could generate (stories, photos etc) to help them tell their story. Way too often NGOs stay at the level of statistics, big problems and fail to bring it down to one child, one mother, one village…. etc. Build up a portfolio of NGO success stories and get those published. This could be a strong calling card.

    2) Grant writing: There is plenty of money for impact activities but NGOs, especially the medium and small ones, are so overwhelmed with executing current programs that they have little resources and attention to set the stage for follow on funding sources. As a way of defining the perimeter, of where you want to have impact, you could choose to “follow the money”… search for sources of grants (there are literally thousands) find a dozen small, medium, large grants in the areas you wish to have impact in, and proceed backwards to weave a network of NGOs that you can identify as being capable of executing the grant. If they do not have the resources, that does not mean you cannot convince them to give you just enough information that allows you to write and submit grants on their behalf at no cost to them. Your success will result in the same NGOs recognizing your value and bringing you on board to continue doing the same.

    3) Brexit. While you mention the US election as a wake up call, closer to home (–Europe) is a tidal wave moment of disentanglement of British actors in European programs. There are many sources of European funding that only apply to European members and since Brits are defacto no longer Europeans, there is a gigantic vacuum that needs to be filled. It would take a sustained campaign to review British contributors – recipients of multi year European funding but it is not that difficult. Find the European programs in areas that interest you intellectually, walk it backwards to find the British contributors and voila you have your target list. Your job, after you identify the weak British link is to identify equivalent European entities and to start figuring out a strategy to replace the soon to depart British contributors.

    Hopefully this is useful to you, fellow blogger. Love your Filipino stories and happy to throw in my 2 cents. If you want to discuss further, feel free to contact me.

    Bonne Chance,

    1. des millions de mercis pour ce message! I’ll definitely get back to you on your private email soon, thanks again for the offer to discuss it further. I like the idea of targeting the NGOs, that’s great! I ll may even start with my kids school actually .. I’ll get back to you next week, thanks so much again for the brilliant ideas.
      A tres bientot!
      Belle journee XXX

  2. Now what can I possibly add to Ben’s thorough comments and advice?! I do know that whatever you set your mind to do, you will do. You are a powerhouse, and I have no doubt that once you have landed in your new location, you will make things happen. If my husband and I can think of any connections for you, we will pass them along! He was active in the food banking world in recent years and interacted with many people in the domains in which you are interested. We will put our thinking caps on!

    1. Thanks so very much ! In my years BC (before children) I never understood those women complaining about the difficulty to find a balance between work and family .. Now I kinda get them 😉 But this is a great challenge to be able to have fun in both worlds .. Looking forward to chatting with you here or there 🙂

  3. All the best Estelea!! You will amaze just by sheer determination. I’m in a similar situation except I’m still in the phase where I’m on a career hiatus and intent on becoming a yoga teacher. I know I’ll have to return to the rat race soon and I look to draw inspiration from your experience. Keep sharing them!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂 Yoga teacher, that’s great! You ll love it. Teaching what we love is so beautiful and gratifying .. You learn as much as your students, by reviewing and detailing the asana and sharing the beauty of yoga. Have you taken a YTT yet? All the very best and looking forward to sharing our experiences 🙂

      1. Yet to do my YTT still researching and looking into the whole thing! There are so many different types and I want to make sure it will b recognised in Australia as well. Perhaps you can shed some light, I’ve been pondering this for over a year now! I also hope your job search is going well and you’ve had quite a bit of development since this last update xx

      2. The one I did is “Yoga Alliance Certified”, so basically recognized everywhere – they even have a Linkedin group. I think this is what you need to check, to which group/alliance is your teacher affiliated, and is it a well known/respected one. If you are not sure, let me know and I ll ask my teacher, no pb 🙂
        From browsing your blog and reading about your opinions, I know you ll just love your teacher training.
        This was indeed the best investiment I ve made in .. hmmm.. ever actually 🙂 For my work out and my work in!

        Job search is moving slowly but surely. I am starting the networking, and allowed me another 2 months of volunteering in CSR ranking before applying. Making my case stronger. My life nowadays is super compartmented: early morning Yoga/Job search right after till 3/ kids time after school till 8 and a bit of reading before going to bed ..

        You know the Yogi saying “practice, and all is coming” . As in everything we do, It is all about intention, attention and attitude 😉

        Thanks again for passing by, have a grande Week end my dear XXX

      3. That will be really helpful Estelea! I’ve just moved to Australia from South east Asia, Malaysia to be precise and I left a wonderful yoga teacher back in my home country when I moved here after my wedding. So along with searching for the right YTT I’m also searching for a new yoga school to be a part of in Perth while finding my footing in a new country altogether. It is a very overwhelming yet exciting time and any help at all will be wonderful! I’ll have a look at the linked in group that you mentioned about as well in the mean time. Volunteering is always the best way to get a foot in the industry of your choice so hang in there and I’m sure everything will fall into place and make sense with time 🙂 I hope you’re excited about heading back to France. Don’t forget to take a break in the midst of the job search to really take in the last couple of months you have in the Phillipines as well! You have a wonderful weekend too. Sending love across xx

  4. oh no, are you leaving cebu for good?

    best of luck on your endeavours. i hope that the universe will guide you to where you ought to be.

    take care!

    1. Salamat gwapa! Yes we are living Cebu after 3 years (and hardly 4 words of Bisaya, what a shame ..). We need to go back to Bohol and Bantayan before and make time to visit Palawan …

      1. ticking off some really good destinations right there. hope you have a lovely time. =)

        lol on “salamat gwapa.” it’s been a while since i heard that phrase. now i’m curious as to what the other 3 bisaya words are…

  5. I wish you every success in your new venture whatever it may lead to Estelea. Knowing you through your writing in which the warmth of your humanity comes shining through I know you will succeed in whatever you do. Warmest wishes as always 🙂

    1. Thanks a billion dear Andrew, your lines are the little booster I needed to get started this morning! Off I am to Linkedin 🙂 Have a great one

  6. Good luck, dear! I am afraid I am not a good advisor on this issue! But I believe in you and know that you can do it!

    1. Tell you what my dear friend, this last sentence is making my day and fills me with motivation to start the day ❤ thanks a lot !!!

  7. Facing change, no matter whether planned or unexpected has its pitfalls. Yet, by coming to get to know you through your words, I feel I can say, “You’ll handle this just fine.” You are talented and have a great outlook on life. That goes far in this very topsy-turvy world. Sadly, my knowledge of your potential field of endeavor is not one of my areas. But, I do know a tiny bit about writing fro a reader’s point-of-view. You are an excellent blogger. You can always use what you’ve already built here, couple it with your new experiences to come, and then parlay that into one heck of a book. Something to consider…

    1. A very big thanks dear Pam for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it, and you are giving me a great idea! I could post more about some specific issues related to CSR that we can all relate too. I could actually use this little blog from times to times in a more professional (yet not boring) way. Thanks again 🙂 Have a lovely day/night XXX

      1. So glad my little idea inspired a bigger one! Woot! Woot! I look forward to reading more! Hugs and thanks for stopping by my little site, too. I value your “Like”.

  8. I wish you the best and will enjoy hearing about your “journey”,,,, as a fellow immigrant, I’ve learned to realize that there are always ups-and-downs, that the frustrations we will encounter will be miles apart from the people in our adopted home country.

    However this isn’t a journey of a few months or even years – it is a journey of a lifetime – I’ve seen too many failures but am also inspired with success of our fellow diaspora. The way you articulate your thoughts tells me that you will be alright – all the best!

    1. Thanks so much for this very encouraging message! You are totally to put it all into a larger perspective, we always tend to forget it. In our world where everything is so fast paced, instantaneous even, it feels good to read a message like yours!
      THanks for stopping by and for leading me to your blog as well. Love it, had to follow! Keep it up dear 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for this sweet comment 🙂 We came here for work, to rebuild houses and school in the aftermath of the super typhoon Yolanda. About 3 years ago .. and leaving in 9 weeks for new adventures (last post will tell you more ; )
      Good Luck with the Gym and the London life!

  9. I’ve got to read through your more recent posts to see how it turns out, but getting back into work after time off was super hard for me! It’s really challenging to paint that gap in a positive way. Even now that I’ve landed a job, I’m worried about managing my own emotions and family life when I actually start working in a few months…but loads of other people do it, so here I go! Good luck!

    1. I totally hear you! I havent posted anything since this one, as plans have changed (again). Hubby got a job before me, so off we move to .. Hanoi! Now I have to add “new place”, “new culture and other language” to the challenge … I’ll probably reconsider everything and find the kind of job I can do from any posting… So many things to consider, I decided to give my brain a break for now: first we pack and leave the Philippines, then holidays back home in Europe, settling down in Hanoi .. one thing at a time will save my sanity 😉
      Good luck with the new job ! Will it be full time?

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