Working (Part-Time) for a Living
If you’re a mom who wishes you could find a part-time job, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of working mothers polled desire a part-time job—up from 48 percent ten years ago. Some experts say these numbers show that life is more stressful today than ten years ago. Others point out that some of us care for children, aging parents, and do the lion’s share of housework. I’m not sure if things are as dire as all that for today’s new young moms as so many men are now expected to at least help out. Changing diapers and helping with dinner is de rigueur for new dads today—not so for my father’s generation.
But regardless of the reasons, new moms are definitely yearning to go part-time.
“I am really happy about the opportunity to cut back on my work week because when I was working full-time, I was gone at least forty-five hours a week and I only got to spend a few hours each day with the baby,” says Erin Moriarity Wade, who just recently left her job as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta. She plans to work part-time and spend more quality time with her six month old son.
“I’d get up at 6:00 a.m. with the baby and spend some time playing with him and reading stories in the morning. Some nights, I wouldn’t get home until after 7 p.m. and it would break my heart to put him to bed at 8 p.m. having barely seen him all day,” Erin explains.
“I would not go back full time, I would rather deal with the financial repurcussions than work full time—that idea feels me with dread and makes me want to cry!” agreed Kali Hamerton-Stove, a public relations executive with Ketchum PR in London who now works part-time in order to spend more time with her one year old.
“It’s important to me to give more time to Harry than to work and by working three and a half days, I’m able to focus on him just enough. Sometimes I would like to work a bit less, maybe three days, but generally I’d say it’s the perfect balance of allowing me a certain adult freedom and ego while ensuring Harry is independent and receives enough of my time.” Kali says.
The other perk with part-time work, according to these moms, is balancing home and family demands.
“The best thing about working part-time is having a much better balance of work and family time. I feel like I am better at my job because I’m not burned out or exhausted from working forty-five hours a week, and at the same time, I feel like I have more energy as a mom when I work part-time because I’m not with the baby constantly. I don’t think I could ever be a full-time mom with no professional work because that would make me feel way too cut off from the rest of the world,” Erin explains.
While part-time work can eat into a family’s budget, Erin stresses that in the end, it can be good for a marriage.
“Working part-time is also much easier on my marriage. When I was working full-time, there was never any time to hang out or relax with my husband during the week because I was always so busy. I’d often have to work from home after the baby went to sleep and after I had finished filling the bottles, cleaning the breast pump, etc. Now, we actually have some time to spend together during the week so we are both happier.”
Part of why the part-time work is so appealing for Erin and Kali is that they are both working in their fields with challenging assignments. It’s hard for moms with college and master’s degrees, and after years in the field, to suddenly stop working. Years later, they may find it hard to jump back in. Going part-time or working as a consultant allows you to dip your toe in the professional waters—and keep your skills up-to-date—while spending more time with children than you would working full-time. Ten years ago, these sorts of jobs were hard to come by, but companies are certainly beginning to explore part-time professional jobs with their employees.
Mom Corps, a company that hooks up moms who want to work professionally, part-time, with employers, is a perfect example of this. Allison O’Kelly founded Mom Corps in order to help moms find stimulating part-time or contract work in their fields. The two-year-old company now has several hundred companies using its professional staffing services and more than ten-thousand workers (mostly moms) in its database. The company has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. and is expanding. Mom Corps places candidates in flexible and part-time opportunities on both a permanent and contract basis. Since many assignments are contract, some work can be done from anywhere.
Finally, if you are thinking of approaching your boss about part-time work, as Kali had to do, remember to stress the years of experience and any unique skills you have. For more help in preparing your pitch to your boss for a flexible position, check out WorkOptions.com. Pat Katepoo began this company to help professional moms successfully approach their employers about turning full-time jobs into part-time, job-share, or flex-week situations. Your company will have turn-over costs and training costs if you leave, and in the end, financially, may be better off with two part-time workers for a position. There is nothing to lose by inquiring.
See similar article: Finding Stimulating Part-time Work? Yes, It’s Possible!