Tips For Juggling Work And Motherhood
Are you tired of hearing people tell you that it’s unrealistic to try to have it all? Men expect to be able to have children without giving up their career, so why shouldn’t women? If you’re a single mother, juggling the two may be your only alternative to going on food stamps, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for trying to support yourself and give your child a decent future. If you have a partner who earns, it can still be important to work for your own self-esteem, to give yourself better options in later life, and to set an example to your kids. These days, it’s increasingly accepted, and there are a number of ways that you can approach striking a balance between work and caring for your kids.
Working from home
One of the most popular options for mothers is working from home, especially when children are pre-school age. It makes it possible to generate an income while being there for the kids all the time, and depending on your skill set, it can be quite lucrative. You could be doing anything from stuffing envelopes or selling garden produce to building websites or providing telephone consultancy services in your specialist field.
What you will need is a way of entertaining your kids while you get work done. Skiphop.com has a good range of activity toys for infants, and you can also pick up a baby play mat there to help you create a safe play space. Once they reach the age of three, most children can be occupied with creative projects or educational puzzle games for significant periods of time. While you may hesitate to just leave them in front of the TV, it’s worth considering educational videos and children’s programming designed to help them learn the basics of a foreign language while entertaining them at the same time.
Part-time and flexible working
If you’re keen to get out of the house to work, you may be able to fit it around childcare commitments by working part-time. This can be a practical approach if, for instance, you have family members who can look after the children for part of the day, or if your partner is also working part-time and is able to look after them for a different portion of the day. It can also work well when children are going to school and are looked after there for several hours a day. Part-time work can still bring in a decent amount of money, and some employers can offer flexible arrangements whereby you work part-time at their premises but also do some hours at home, enabling you to bring in a full-time wage. You may be able to put in your extra hours while older children are doing their homework.
If you’re keen to get back to a full-time job, you should look at the options for daycare. There are all sorts of facilities to choose from these days. Prices can be steep, but some large companies offer free crèche facilities for their employees. Making use of your employer’s facilities or choosing a daycare company close to your work is ideal because it means that you can spend time with your children during your breaks and lunch hour, and can be summoned quickly if they have any problems. Some workplaces even allow well-behaved children to spend time in the workplace itself – for instance, diners often allow children to sit and do their homework there while their mothers finish their shift. This can have the additional benefit of teaching the children something about how work is conducted, preparing them for adult life.
Making your own rules
The challenges of raising children while working has inspired some mothers to start their own company with rules that make it much easier to balance the two. This can be a more practical way forward than it might sound; there are a lot of other mothers out there who are highly skilled but are prepared to take a pay cut in order to have the chance to keep working without being separated from their kids, so even a new business with limited starting capital can find itself with an impressive talent pool to draw on. When mothers get together to develop an approach that works better for everyone, they can not only help themselves but also help to change the wider workplace culture.
Seeing you go to work sends a great message to your kids about the importance of self-sufficiency. It’s also good for your kids to see you happy doing something that you love, and as long as you get the balance right, they will also be happy.