Now that I have a baby, my original intention of returning to my former position no longer feels right. This is causing me a great deal of anxiety and confusion because I spent my entire life, up to this point, preparing for my career. I want to be more in control of my professional activities, but still have time to be with my child. I don’t think my previous work demands will fit into my new life. My values have shifted; yet I’m not prepared to completely abandon working.
Does this scenario sound familiar? There is nothing new about the conflicts and pressures parents feel. Since parenthood is one of life’s milestones, it makes us question our careers and try to find the appropriate balance between professional and personal needs. Is it really possible to pursue a professional life while raising a family?
The answer is yes, of course it is. For those who want to spend more time with their families; yet, need to work and for those who can afford to be stay-at-home parents; yet need the intellectual stimulation that work provides, part-time could be the perfect option.
Parents aren’t the only ones who need greater flexibility to take care of family members. Let’s not forget that more and more people fact the prospect of caring for aging parents. Longer life spans may be a blessing of modern technology and improved nutrition, but greater longevity also means a greater possibility of chronic disease. Still others need to take care of ailing siblings or other loved ones.
How to Make Part-Time Work for you as a Parent
The stress of working forty hours a week or more is well documented. With a part-time schedule, you’ll have more time to savor moments with your family; to take care of yourself physically and emotionally; and to schedule doctor, dentist and school appointments.
It’s a chance to get the best of both worlds—the stimulation and self-esteem associated with external accomplishments and the peace-of-mind and self-esteem associated with having a more manageable personal life.
You may find that you or your partner only want to work reduced hours in the early childhood years, then go back to work full-time when your children are school age. An increasing number of parents, however, are finding that they need to be home after school during the teenage years.
Whenever you choose to do it, the first thing you need to do is work out a budget . For example, how much are you paying in day care? In commuting costs? On wardrobe and dry cleaning? On lunches and take-out? Unless you are in a very high-paying career, the likelihood is that you’re probably not making that much in net profit. With some ingenuity, you could make the same “net profit” in part-time work, especially if you work at home or during school hours.
I recommend mothers who want to start working again after having their children find family friendly companies to work for.
You might want to explore family friendly companies that offer on site child care or other options. Talking to people about their companies is an excellent way to determine if they are family friendly.
If you are on an interview notice how people relate to one another. Subtle signs include pictures of family on desks and children's art projects on the walks. I recommend that you set up an interview very early in the morning or late in the evening to see how many people are in the office at that time- a telling sign.
You may be able to speak to other current employees regarding the company's support of working mothers. It is most important to have one!s supervisor's support for work- life balance issues.
To identify family friendly companies a few magazines including working mothers magazine has a listing of 100 best companies for working mothers.