Celebrating National Family Caregivers Month in a Year of #CaregivinginCrisis

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize everyone who devotes themselves to taking care of family members. This year’s theme is #CaregivingInCrisis, because the pandemic has complicated an already tough task, and we salute caregivers who are currently raising school-age children amidst confusing back-to-school schedules, assisting aging parents while staying socially distant, and/or caring for a sick family member in the middle of a public health crisis.

Here at Path Forward, so much of the work we do revolves around empowering caregivers to return to the workforce and finding fulfillment in both their careers and personal lives. It is our mission to help returning caregivers ramp back into the workforce via returnships and help organizations understand all of the incredible qualities caregivers possess that can enrich their company cultures. These include increased empathy, patience, ability to navigate complex issues and bureaucracies and make decisions with limited information, and time management, just to name a few. This month, we’d like to highlight some of the ways that Path Forward alumni have said the experience of caregiving has made them better professionals:

Increased Soft Skills
Having a child and having to manage the expectations of a toddler, as well as running a small business and managing the home, taught me a lot of soft skills that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. —Deepthi

People say with age comes maturity. I find it really gratifying to see that in a lot of situations where I would have previously been stressed out, I am able to handle those calmly. This makes work more exciting and easy. —Chandra

I would say what makes me a better employee after my break is my life experience in managing my household, raising two sons, and being an active civic volunteer. From those experiences I have learned valuable people skills, project management fundamentals, and I am a much wiser employee now than I was when I left the workforce. —Alicia

Relationship Building
My ability to talk to strangers has served me well. And from being a stay-at-home parent, you get the patience and understanding that comes with dealing with young children. Negotiation and hostage-like situations are things you encounter a lot, both at home and in the working world. And my experiences as a stay-at-home parent taught me not only to compromise, but to have flexibility. —Jason 

During my break I had to spend a lot of time creating a community, being comfortable reaching out to people I didn’t know very well, being open and vulnerable to learning and getting advice from others, and being resourceful and figuring out things I had never done before. All of those soft skills have helped me during my returnship in an industry and function I had never worked in before. —Neema

Time Management
During my career break, I learned a lot about how to manage my time, address competing priorities, and gain self-realization about my strengths and weaknesses. —Melissa

During the break, I feel being a mom taught me to be even more creative, manage my time well, and be patient with everyone. I can get a lot more done in less time because I know what to prioritize, and I’m less distracted. These are not just important work skills, but life skills. —Shruti

Everyone’s caregiving situations are different. But no matter what your time as a caregiver has entailed, it’s a guarantee that, like our returnship alumni, you’ve gained valuable life skills during this time. If you’re not yet ready to return to the workforce, there are online resources for helping kids better understand the pandemic and aiding them in distance learning, supporting aging or ill family members, and for guarding your own mental and physical well-being, in any form that takes. This National Family Caregivers Month, we honor the time you’re taking to care for your family under extraordinary circumstances. And once you’re ready to return to work, Path Forward will be there to lend a hand and help you land your post-break career.