Work / Family Balance

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Work / Family Balance

    Before having children I worked full time.  I spent a year at home with the first, then worked part time until the second was born.  I've been home with the second for a year and I'm trying to figure out what to do next.

    We planned financially so we can get by on one salary, still, it's tight and we have to be careful to balance our spending.  I like being home with the baby and I'm glad to have the opportunity to really focus on the family in this important time.

    On the other hand, I think a little work outside of the home might be good for my mind and momentum, and we could certainly use the money (though it would likely go primarily to child care).

    I think my dream scenario would be to work part time, though I am concerned about balancing work and family (what to do if kids get sick etc).  We don't have any family in the area for back up support and it can be hard to find last minute childcare for sick kids (not to mention that I'd hate to leave them).

    I just have really mixed feelings about the options and I want to make a choice that works for everyone.  My family is my priority, but it's also important to be a good employee.

    Just wondering if anyone else is struggling with this, or if anyone has found potential solutions.  I've even considered just finding a job with the best benefits (would Whole Foods give an employee discount that could cut our grocery bill?).

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    I think every mom - and hopefully every dad - struggles with these questions. 

    I work full time, and plan to continue to work full time, as does my husband.  In the past two years, we've each dealt with a lay-off and I think it scared both of us to think of what that time would have been like had the other not been working.  That said, I am fortunate that I work in a place that is supportive and understanding of when family and work collide...if DD has been sick, I've been able to work from home, even just being accessible by phone and email "counts"...if she or I have a doctor's appointment, I don't have to use time off to take care of it.  In my job, there are a fair number of evening meetings (work with volunteers, events, etc), so the theory here is that everything washes out. 

    I think my ideal work situation would be to be in a position to work part time by the time my kids are in school...ideally working while they're in school, so I can be accessible and part of their after school activities, etc.  Again, I'm in a field that has a lot of part-time options...might mean working at a smaller non-profit for a smaller salary, but wouldn't necessarily mean a hit on my resume or long term career.  And I do love what I do for a living, so work for me is important. 

    I think that an important part of looking for work as a parent is knowing what the culture of the place you work is.  Not sure what you did before having kids, or if that's something you'd want to go back to.  A job somewhere like WHole Foods or in a restaurant might sound good on the one hand, but shift work can actually be harder to call in sick to (need to find coverage, not actually having "sick" or "vacation" time) than an office job that provides least that way you're using your time.  How about looking at private schools in the area? Some will have 10 month positions, others will have "school hours" positions...then you'd also potentially have the same vacations as kids moving forward, and many home daycares cater to families in education? 

    Also, what is your husband's schedule like and flexibility.  We're lucky that in my DH current job, he works 9:30 to 6, and I usually work 8:30 to 5.  He does drop off at daycare, and I do pick up.  He also works somwhere that he can shift his hours if he needs to because I have late meetings or travel, which helps enormously.  Hopefully if you're working, the balance at home between you and your husband would shift as well, so that you could find a balance.

    It is hard.  There are times I wish I could stay home.  But I love my job and I love that "adult" part of my life.  I also don't want to give up those parts of me in order to be a parent.  Sorry this is so long.  I don't think it can ever be an easy black and white thing for anyone.  I will say, though, I'm grateful that in this era, we can make these choices with our partners, rather than be locked into anything. 

    Good luck to you!!
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    I was thinking something that Luv alluded to.  If you are working part time and not have any (or limited) PTO benefits, perhaps that is when your husband can use his PTO benefits if/when kids get sick, since he probably has more official time off he can use.
    I'm guessing since you are asking, you already know that part-time work in your field is available?  That is important to know.  You mention Whole Foods, not sure if that was serious, but you have to weigh all pros and cons.  Would that get you that "adult" contact you are looking for, extra $, job satisfaction, etc. enough to change your life now.  My current field may have part time work, but I may need to hang a shingle so to speak to do it.  In other words, I may need to consult on my own.  Which may be a possibility, but I'm not sure how "part-time" working for yourself ever really is.  But, I've already downgraded when I got married and started my family.  My prior field was 24/7... which was not where I wanted to be.  So it is possible certainly to make these types of changes.

    My plan is very similar to Luvs also.  DH and I work full time now and are trying to squirrel away enough in the next 3-4 years so that I may be able to drop to part time once DS is in kindergarden/school age.  I really want to be available for after school sports and homework, and "why does doug's older brother smoke" kinda stuff.  

    I second the education field suggestion (higher ed, private)... very good benefits usually, tons of time off and that is where I've seen a lot of part-time or short term options.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostongrl. Show bostongrl's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    Right now I'm working 30 hrs/wk... five 6hr days.  It is working very well while DD is an infant and is working well for my work team.  Being there every day and essentially coming in with the later shift at 8am and leaving with the early shift at 2:30 makes it seem like I'm "there" compared to people who work a MWF schedule since teammates feel like they have to be careful to schedule around a "part time" schedule.  Is your old field an option for part time work?  Would you be looking for part time work in a new field?  Are you looking for a career step or just something to make a few $s?  I would say if you are just doing hourly work part time, it is probably not worth it (ie check out clerk).  You won't be making much money after child care expenses, those types of jobs don't have the best benefits, and they generally aren't "resume worthy" if you were working in a skilled position prior to being a SAHM.  Future employers will see it for what it is... a filler.  If you are worried about future resume potential and not so much about money, what about volunteering?  That is almost always part time, can be resume worthy depending on what you are doing, and can be personally fullfilling. ... Just some suggestions.
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    Thanks everone, it helps just to know that other people are thinking about it.

    You make good points about the pay and inflexible shift work maybe not being an ideal solution.

    It sounds like the important thing is to find a company with a family friendly culture.  I feel like I need to just come right out and say "I'll need flexibility, but if I can have it, I'll deliver great results" in the interview, which isn't very PC.  But it does seem like it'd be best to just address the issue head on, instead of tip toeing around it.

    My skills are relatively transferrable, so there may be potential options.  School centered jobs would be smart for now and down the line. 

    It seems so silly that businesses haven't made the shift to accommodate parents (especialy moms).  Well, off to browse the want ads...Thanks!
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    What about contract work? Most professional fields offer temp positions for various projects. You may have to work 8 or 10 hour days, but it is for a set period of time and then  the job ends.  The benefits aren't great [virtually non-existent unless you get FTcontract work, meaning one contract after another] but the pay usually is higher than what you'd get if you were a FT employee at the company [b/c they don't have to pay benes].  It's a great way to keep your skills sharp and make some serious money in a short period of time.  If you are going to pay for day care while you do part time work, you may as well bite the buttet and work long hours during 'stinky months' so you can be completely free and flush w/ cash during nice months to spend time w/ your family. 

    You need to go through a separate company to get these kinds of gigs [the well paying ones anyway] not through the company where you will actually do the work.  It's easy to do and most get back to you right away. This was a life saver for me when I moved to a different state for DH's job and got me back in the game fast.   
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    Micro - another thing to think about is how happy you would be at a part time job.  I genuinely like my job and I think that will help my transition back to work after my maternity leave is up (our first LO is due in 6 weeks). I've been with my current company a year and a half but before that I was at a large accounting firm and was very unhappy for the last year of my employment.  It made going to work each day awful.  I wonder if you took a part time job just to get out of the house and it wasn't in a field you cared about if you would end up dreading going to work.

    That's not to say that there isn't some great part time options out there, for instance, I'm one of the few people that really loved waitressing, and if I'm ever in your position I know it's a job I could go do and be happy about it.  Retail on the other hand was the worst torture for me, you couldn't pay me enough to go back to work at a clothing store.  Just something to think about before you take any part time job that has the right hours for your schedule. Good luck!

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    I have a friend who was able to work 7:00am to 3:00pm once her kids were school age. So she was full time - but got out in time to pick them up from kindergarten. Of course her DH had to get them to school every morning - but it worked for them.
    Another friend had a 9-5 job, but her DH switched to a night job so one of them was always home with the kids.
    There are part time jobs out there too.
    I think if you look hard enough you can find what you are looking for.
    Good luck!
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Dani273. Show Dani273's posts

    Re: Work / Family Balance

    Although my children are in their teens now, I wanted to let you know of my situation when they were babies and I decided to go back to work......
    I was very fortunate to have a cosmetics backround in retail. Because of this, I was able to work as a freelance makeup artist and work only 3 to 5 days a month. I really wanted to be at home with my kids, but at the same time, I felt a little depressed being home so much and missed the socialization that a workplace can give. So, I decided to freelance and do promotional work. (16 years ago, I made $13 an hour, now I make close to $25. Not bad for a part time job! )The beauty of that job was that I was able to pick the dates I could work, I got my schedule 3 to 6 months in advance and my hourly pay was much more than any regular full or part time job in the retail would have paid me.  Even if you do not have any experience in cosmetics to do what I do, you can still work as a freelancer in a promotions agency.  The schedule is flexable and it pays well, and usually you get a schedule months ahead so it gives you time to make child care arrangements.  These jobs will sometimes be at grocery stores handing out coupons or food samples, store grand openings and special events promoting new businesses or services. It's alot of fun, it's always different and you get out and mix with the general public. Plus, you still get lots of time to be a mom.  It's just an idea for you to mull over, but it worked out great for me and brought a little cash into the household, as well as a chance to have the best of both worlds as a working mom and a stay at home mom. Good luck to you.