The kids have been back in school for quite a few weeks now. The quiet that’s in your home, which was once welcoming, is now deafening. You want to work while your kids are in their classes, but you don’t want to have a work schedule that is overwhelming and takes you away from being with your kids and taking them to their activities.
That’s where a flexible job will fit nicely into your life. After all, not everyone wants hold down a full-time job. Here are some flexible work options for moms who want to work, but not full-time.
Much like its name connotes, a flexible schedule job is just that—a job that has flexibility as to when you work. This can be ideal for people who want to have almost complete control over their schedule and be better able to balance their professional needs with their personal ones. And for work-at-home moms, this can mean starting work early but then stopping during the day if you have to pick up a sick kid from school or even if you just want to take a mid-afternoon run. Sure, you will probably still have deadlines to meet (and your flex job might be full-time or part-time), but how you work, when you work, and where you work will most likely be up to you, which means you can work uninterrupted at 11:00 p.m. if you’re a night owl or early in the morning if you wish.
The pitfalls of a flexible schedule job aren’t many, but are important to note. First off, if you’ve never had a flexible schedule job before (or worked remotely), you might find it challenging at first to get your work done. Telecommuting requires some soft skills, such as being able to self-manage (i.e., not spend your mornings binge-watching HGTV) and also being able to communicate well—and often—with your boss and coworkers. So even though, in theory, you can work whenever you want to, you might find it comforting, at least at first, to try to stick to some kind of schedule in order to get your work done for the day.
A part-time job is any position that requires its employees to work 35 hours a week or less. That might seem almost like a full-time, 40-hour-a-week job, but technically it’s considered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be part-time if it’s under 35 hours. Part-time jobs might list the number of hours an employer would like you to work in its job descriptions, which is helpful if you know ahead of time that you can only work, say, 10-15 hours a week. Typically, though, it’s kind of inferred that if a job is part-time, it’s probably about 20 hours a week or less.
A part-time job can be one that is done in a traditional office or you can also find part-time jobs that can be performed at home. Part-time jobs can be found in practically every industry, and for various education and skill levels. This means that from entry-level to executive, there are part-time jobs for everyone!
If you know that you only want to work a certain number of hours, a part-time job could be great for you. But if you find that, over time, you want to increase your hours, you may find that a part-time position won’t be able to grow along with your professional or financial needs and you may have to start a new job search to find a position that offers more hours, or even find a second part-time or freelance job. Which brings us to…
For the ultimate in work-life balance, you can’t beat a freelance job. When you’re a freelancer, you have absolute control over your work schedule. After all, you get to choose which companies you work for, when you want to work, and for how long, based on the length of the project. Freelance jobs are becoming increasingly more common in today’s workforce, and it’s estimated that by the year 2020, half of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers!
Freelancing is attractive for a variety of reasons. First, it gives you the chance to work for various companies, gaining valuable new connections and also providing you with rich work experiences that will look great on your resume. And if you know that you only want to work for a couple of months (and then take a couple of months off), you can find a freelance job that fits in with your schedule and life, not the other way around.
That said, there are disadvantages to the freelance life. The biggest one is the fact that you might find yourself job searching more frequently than someone who is employed in a part-time or flexible schedule job if your freelance gig is not a permanent, ongoing position. If you don’t like always having to be on the lookout for new gigs or having to network, freelancing might not be a fit for you.
The good news is that if you’re a work-at-home mom (or want to be), there are plenty of jobs to choose from in order to be able to earn an income and still be the super mom that you already are. Decide how much time you have to devote to a job, and then structure your job search to find a job that is either part-time, freelance, or has a flexible schedule. You can do it!