Career Break, Post Partum Brain Fog, and Interviewing: How to succeed?

I wanted to start a discussion here for the many of us who have gone through a career break and/or actively interviewing while in the post partum period. I hope to use this space for us to share ideas of how to make this work!

When I became pregnant, I took a year off of full-time work after being burned out from working in HR during the pandemic and to manage a medical condition that could have been exacerbated by pregnancy. I continued working very part-time as an independent consultant and career coach and completed my master's degree. Some 'professional break', I know.

Now at five months post partum, I am actively interviewing to get back into the full-time workforce but am running into a few issues. For one, while I worked part-time, my unintentionally short stint at my previous role (6 months) potentially looks a bit suspect to hiring teams and I have a year then as an independent consultant that together may make me look like a job hopper.

Not only that, while I am still working part-time, I am finding I am struggly with post partum brain fog. I have multiple times set up calendar appointments at the wrong time due to time zone confusion, joining meetings a the wrong time (thankfully almost always an hour early), have found more typos in my emails, and have been doing the usual 'mommy brain' things in my personal life. For example, I put my phone directly in the sink as I was actively washing dishes this morning. This is driving me crazy as I have always been a super organized and strong communicator, and here I am having a hard time with simple tasks.

So my question for discussion is two-fold:

1) How does make yourself a stronger candidate after a short professional break from full-time work?

2) How can one best manage the brain fog that comes with early parenthood to make yourself a more reliable, on-top-of-it person?

Would love any anecdotes or perspectives from this community!

Hi Tori, I also took a career break and consulted/studied over the past two years, although I didn't also have a baby! It sounds like you have plenty of things to be proud of achieving and you're being a little hard on yourself.I, too, have been interviewing recently as I feel ready and excited for full-time work again. I haven't found people to be too concerned with my career break - I have my spiel I use that focuses on what positives I gained from the time and it doesn't seem to arouse suspicions. In fact, I think a lot of people are in a similar boat after covid and can relate. If you feel and can talk positively about it, it seems to rub off on others you're talking to as well.Going back into interviewing mode is tough though, and for more senior level roles, takes time and a lot of effort. Steel yourself, you'll get there, and if you need some moral support and cheerleading, DM me, happy to help if I can!
HI @KatePresc - It took me a bit to reply but just wanted to let you know I read your comment and really appreciated your perspective and positive words. I definitely took them to heart. What ended up really helping was moving my daughter into her own room and sleep training. A few days of a full night of sleep really made a difference! Feeling much improved now. Thanks again for your comment!