You know you want to be a stay at home working mom, but what's the right job opportunity that will give you extra money, fulfillment, and flexibility for your family?
In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer and stay-at-home working mom Stephanie Taylor Christensen reveals key questions that can uncover the right stay-at-home job for you.
Finding and evaluating full-time job opportunities is fairly easy. There's a clear description of the role, salary, benefits and hours you're expected to work. The job search process for a work-at-home mom is a stark contrast, loaded with ambiguity, and complexity. Many advertised work-at-home mom jobs are scams, and consistent opportunities can be hard to unearth. Even the legitimate flexible roles aren't always what they seem. In my early work-at-home mom days, I tried working part-time, and remotely, for my then-employer. The money was decent, and I appreciated their willingness to work with my new life, but I quickly realized that though the pay was part-time, the job itself was a full-time responsibility (and then some). After much stress, I learned a hard lesson: Not all "flexible" jobs are as advertised, and not every work-at-home job is a good fit.
If you're in search of a job simply to make a little extra cash, create your own work-at-home job offering services that will cost you little to nothing to provide, don't require driving and are low-stress. (Walking neighborhood dogs or taking in another child to care for part-time are good options to explore for this objective.) If your desire is to continue your profession or build a business, focus on opportunities that boost your exposure, reputation, connections and provide a mental challenge. Once you establish why it is that you're working, you can narrow your focus to opportunities that deliver what you want.
Be realistic about how much work you really can, and want, to take on — in addition to the full-time task of raising children. When my son was younger, I had more time to work during naps. Now that he's more active and sleeping less, I've had to adjust my schedule and workload to reflect how many hours I can realistically devote to work. There is nothing wrong with saying "no" to projects, but if you bite off more than you can actually deliver, you'll burn bridges — and burn yourself out.
Maya Angelou famously said: "Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you." No matter what your objective, it's important to do a job you love when you're a stay-at-home working mom. The balancing act isn't easy, and no amount of money will keep your eyes open when you've been pulling all-nighters with a teething baby and have a job to complete within that afternoon nap. But passion is a powerful fuel. Find a job that is true to what you really enjoy and you'll find the key to blending work and family.
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.
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