Last September I wrote somewhat of a “now what?” post when my son entered kindergarten. I didn’t have my life during his school days figured out at that point. I was home without my son for about 1 1/2 months after he started kindergarten. I didn’t find it fulfilling. I wasted plenty of time. I didn’t like it. I wasn’t cut out to be an at home mom of a kid in school all day. Something had to change.
These cubicle walls are now my view during part of my week.
After nearly 4 1/2 years of being an at-home mom (yes, I did work a bit via my Usborne Books business), I went back to work. I am not working in a field I have a degree in, but that’s ok. I am working in a job for which (at least at present) there is little stress. I do not have any work that needs to be taken home. I work part-time. That means I am still able take my son to school and pick him up when it is over.
I work 4 out of 5 business days each week. That means I have one day off each work week. I do enjoy that day, but it is also a day during which I run errands, schedule appointments, and do housework.
I think the fact that I work part of the week has made me (a bit, but not totally) more organized. I value my time at home more. I try (not always successfully, of course!) to be more efficient with my time at home since I have less of it. I feel that I waste less time at home now. While it may come as a surprise to some, I can waste time at home–especially when I’m at home alone for 7 hours a day– like a pro!
If you are considering transitioning from being an at home mom to a working (or part-time working) mom, here are somethings you may wish to ask yourself (and your family):
- What are my goals for working? My goals weren’t necessarily focused on finding work in my field. I was looking for a job that had flexibility, low stress, and decent financial reward for the type of work it was. I also wanted to be able to pick my son up from school. That meant I was looking for part-time work. Set your goals. Decide what you can compromise on and what is non-negotiable.
- Will working add to or take from the family finances? If you are currently at home and your child is not school-aged and you are considering working, day care costs need to be factored in. Transportation and parking costs need to be factored in. Attire suitable for work needs to be factored in. Every once in a while, I need to factor in paid after school care for my son. Weighing the costs of working vs. your potential wage/salary is important. Don’t undervalue your contribution to your family–both as a mother and as a person who could add to the family finances.
- What type of support will I need from my family if I am working? I started at my new place of employment during the busy season with my Usborne business. So, I told my husband and son that I needed more of their help at home as my working at my new job while also navigating the pre-Christmas selling season for Usborne would present challenges.
- What will change in my and my family’s daily routines if I am working? My new job usually only impacts my morning routine. Before working, I didn’t have to be fully ready for the day when taking my son to school as I could return home and finish getting ready after drop off. However, now I need to get myself ready for work and make sure that my son is still getting ready for school and actually eating his breakfast.
- Who will be responsible for my child if s/he is sick and I am expected to work? This has only become an issue once at this point in my family, but it is very important to discuss in advance of any actual sickness. The one day on which it was an issue, my husband was able to work from home for part of the day until I was done working. This may not always be an option, but on that day it was.
- What other aspects of my life and my family’s lives will a job impact? Summer and school breaks are the two big things my job impacts. I do have some flexibility in my job, but my son will be attending some summer camps this summer while I am working. He attended a spring break camp during the days I was working. Planning ahead (or at least thinking about what you might have to plan) helps tremendously.
- Who are my go to people to help out with my kid if I or my spouse/partner are not immediately available and a situation arises with my child? My job is flexible enough that I could usually take care of an emergent situation with my son. However, my in-laws are very willing to help and I have a couple of other friends who are near enough to my son’s school who could help, too, if needed.
To working mom readers and at home mom readers, here’s to being moms who figure out how to do what is best for our families. Good luck with your decisions regarding work. Only you can figure out what is best for you and your family!