It’s little wonder that flexible part-time jobs are in high demand for working mothers. A day in a working mother’s life is often a tumultuous affair, trying to hold together a fragile balance, or at least the appearance of such, between work and family life. It’s a lot of effort to keep it from spinning out of control. With all the floating moving parts, it feels like gravity has deserted and left you hung upside down. Working a job and running a household can be that frantic.
Any argument there? It can run in hypnotic cycles, like a pendulum swinging from side to side, hinged on factors essentially outside of our control.
Here’s what the science guys say
Between 1997 and 2007, research showed that working full time outside the home was losing its appeal with mothers of young children. That included moms who worked in the home and those that didn’t.
In clear terms , when asked, “What would the ideal situation for you be-working full time, part time, or not at all outside the home” (in 2007) only 21% of mothers thought working outside the home would be ideal, while 60% favored part-time employment.
Family schedule counts
While this might strike you as stating the obvious, it appears that a mother’s view about how much they would like to work has since turned in the opposite direction in the following decade from 2007 to the present.
A closer look reveals that the common factor causing the pendulum shifts back and forth is not simply a mother’s desire to be with the kids, it’s a more complex balancing act between feelings and emotions regarding household finances, the welfare of the children, and her own needs.
In the prior decade, economies in developed countries were relatively strong, which translated to a more relaxed household.
In the US at least, after a decade of poor economic conditions, we are now experiencing unprecedented growth and prosperity across the board.
Pew Research surveys in recent years have found a strong correlation between financial well- being and firmly held views about the ideal work situation. The more comfortable you are, the more part-time work is appealing and vice versa. Simple as that?
It’s compelling information but I’m not 100% sold. In simmering all of this down, in my opinion, living comfortably, working part time, and being there for my family is where I want to be. End of story.
To back this up, Pew’s research left no doubt when it found that a plurality of mothers (45%) and even a 41% of fathers said the best thing for a young child is to have a mother work part time.
So, what to do?
Since we cannot control much outside of ourselves, let alone the economy, how can we achieve a balance between the welfare of our children, financial prosperity, and our personal needs?
Further compounding the issues is what is called “barriers to choice”, meaning that even if the choice is made to pursue part-time work, it is often hard to see any prospect of finding a job that works around the kid’s school, holiday schedule, outside activities, and so on.
Can i ask you a question?
If you’re in a frantic day job, is earning an income with flexible hours so you can free up time to spend with the kids the most important thing in your mind?
If you’re a stay at home mom, would you be grateful to bring in extra household income and also give yourself a blissful break from changing diapers and chasing after the kids? Being a working mom in today’s world isn’t easy and often an eye-popping experience.
The pay is usually lower, there is outside childcare to think about, then you come dragging home in the evening to your main job…running the household, feeding and bathing the kids, reading a story with one eye shut and getting them off to bed. Do you really have the money and, as a busy mom, the time to work a job?
Build your own business instead?
So, how about creating your own small business and work from home or space nearby? Sounds easy, but is it really?
With all the online promises of easy money and little or no effort creating a business (and we know that can’t be true) where do you start? Who do you trust? What if you fail?
When I started dreaming behind the scenes about opening a business, I too was running around after 3 small kids who on any given morning were repainting the walls with sidewalk chalk or riding the darn dog like a cartoon character they thought was so funny on the tube. It was fun, but I was exhausted and starting to forget how adults really acted in the real world.
By the way, when this phase ended, I was looking at returning to a corporate job and handing the kids off to childcare until school started.
The expense was frightening enough let alone how unsettling it can be with someone else raising your kid during the day.
So, I prayed hard for the same thing you dream of right now. A flexible way to make extra money that would let me stay a mom and also have some adult time too.
I had no guarantee of success and no road map to follow, but I did the work, made the mistakes, found the route to success. And, many years later with my kids grown up, it‘s the love of my life.
In this day and age of the female entrepreneur, anything is possible and the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor.
Go for it. And when you need help, it’s out there and available to you.