Date of Award

Spring 2-17-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Hadden

Third Advisor

Dr. Lee


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover and describe the lived experiences of educated women who opted back into the workforce after working as a stay at home mother. The study explored how stay at home mothers honed their soft and hard skills which subsequently led to an effective transition back into the workforce. This study considered the internal and external motivations that women experience as they move throughout their motherhood journey by way of interviews. The need to interview these working mothers to discover how they effectively returned to the workplace was not only necessary resource for future reentry women but critical for businesses who will benefit from their potential return. Educated working mothers were selected for this study as a reference to describe their journey from opting out of the workforce to working as a stay at home mother, and their ultimate return.

Methodology: The study was qualitative with a phenomenological approach to research.

Findings: Findings from this study revealed that women are motivated by a deeper intrinsic level to return to the workforce, the need to find personal fulfillment not only in their home, but in their careers.

Conclusions: Stay at home mothers developed a high degree of empathy and compassion at home and apply it in the workforce. Stay at home mothers develop advanced multitasking skills and increased efficiency at home and apply in the workforce. Stay at home mothers need to be assertive and have a plan that will work for their family and themselves when reentering the workforce. Stay at home mothers who reenter the workforce need to ask for help and surround themselves with a supportive work/life balance environment to prevent them from leaving the workforce again.

Recommendations: Further research should be expanded regarding the often penalized and stigmatized reentry of mothers who have a gap in their professional resume so that society as a whole embraces their reentry as a positive accomplishment.