As a working mom I am always looking for great tips on how to balance family and life, so when I was offered the opportunity to delve into the topic, I said yes! This conversation on moms working part-time was sponsored by author Beth Brykman. Beth also provided me with a copy of her book, “The Best of Both Worlds: How Mothers Can Find Full-time Satisfaction in Part-time Work.” If you are a mom who wants to work but doesn’t know how to get started, I can relate!
My Working Mom Journey
14 years ago, I became a mom. I remember looking forward to the blissful days I would spend with my little one. Then reality hit. My husband was working and commuting 60-70 hours a week and I was in a new area without a driver’s license. By the time Amelia was 2 months old, I had my biggest new mom problem: BOREDOM. Surely there was some way I could be doing more, and maybe even make money?
I simply had to start working again, for my own sanity. When Amelia was 3 months old, I hired a part-time sitter and jumped back into my fledgling web design business. It wasn’t easy, in fact, the words “every mistake in the book” come to mind.
By 2007, I decided to wind down that project and take a work-from-home full-time job. That was really difficult! By 2012, I quit my job and left my business, and went full time into blogging and writing, which is what I do now.
Now that my kids are older (even though they still have needs), I feel like I’m just now getting to the right pace balancing part-time work and motherhood. It took me all those years to figure out how to put all the pieces together in a way that worked for me.
What You’ll Learn About Moms Working Part Time
I clearly could have used the advice that “The Best of Both Worlds” provides. This guidebook can help moms who want to work part-time and still have enough time for their family’s needs. In fact, I learned some tricks that I’m putting in my own toolbox, such as the tips on cold calling and local networking.
So what sort of details will moms – or future moms – learn in this book? Pretty much everything you need to know to get started on the right foot. New and prospective moms will learn how to find (or create) a part-time opportunity that fits your goals, needs, and life. In fact, this book is a useful book even if you’ve already jumped back into working and things are not working for you.
Author Beth Brykman takes a unique perspective in this instructive book. Rather than just laying out bullet points with what to do and when, she interviews a group of moms who give their firsthand perspectives. These women share stories from the frontlines of balancing part-time work with a new baby or demanding toddlers. Let’s get a look at what’s between the covers.
Inside “The Best of Both Worlds”
In the introduction, Brykman explores why this is the perfect time – from a corporate perspective – to engage with the various ways of working part-time. The next chapters explore why these women chose to work part-time rather than returning to a full job or staying home full time. This part of the book is filled with research, statistics and personal stories as well. It sets up a kind of template for the rest of the book.
The rest of the book deals with exactly what kinds of issues moms working part-time deal with as they make the change from full-time worker – or full-time mom – to part-time earner. That’s what so great about “The Best of Both Worlds”: Brykman has explored in great detail exactly what you need to plan out. Each of these chapters also has a set of questions to ask yourself before taking the next steps.
Chapters 2 through 4 cover the practical things you need to consider before making the choice to work part-time while raising kids. They deal with setting up goals, analyzing your skills, scaling back from a full-time job, networking, and more. One of the most useful chapters – even for me – is “No Networks? No Professional Contacts? Am I Hopeless?” It gives readers concrete tips on how to cultivate networks and contacts even if you have none.
Chapters 5 and 6 deal with starting a business, if that’s your choice, and working your passion. By the time you reach the end of chapter 6, you have a very comprehensive view of the many ways you can do part-time work, whether it be for yourself, for your former employer, or for a new employer. Brykman covers everything you could think of: direct sales, job sharing, volunteering. She even provides a list of startup ideas, if you’re looking to become an entrepreneur.
Moms Working Part Time: The Reality
Working from home part time sounds awesome but it can involve some real struggles, I can tell you! That’s where Chapters 7, 8 and 9 help out. They are honest about the struggles of working from home, the difficulties of part-time daycare and the downsides of work part-time work. Because this book is full of real-life stories, you get the good and the bad views. Not everything is rosy!
One of the biggest challenges for moms working part-time is finding appropriate daycare. In fact, this topic that gets a whole chapter to itself. Let’s face it, if you can’t make daycare work, you can’t take this journey. I remember doing the math on whether child care would leave me in the black. It’s a tough conversation but you’ll find many answers to this topic in the book.
If you are on the fence about working part-time, Brykman’s book has your answers. It uncovers all the in’s and out’s you might not have considered. Brykman has even included stories of women who gave up working or went back to full-time jobs. Working around a family always require trade-offs and, sometimes, that trade can be more than you bargained for.
Real Life Stories
Finally, Chapter 10 shares four separate stories of moms working part-time whose careers evolved over time. This chapter alone covers a total of 13 jobs/careers that these 4 women had. Each of them had to go through a lot of twists and turns before making it work.
This is one of the best chapters in the book. It takes an honest look at how direction can change. New opportunities can crop up. Work satisfaction wanes. Compromises need to be made. Still, a satisfying outcome is possible.
Is Working Part-Time For You?
The book ends on a positive note, encouraging readers to “go for it!” Once you decide, you need to act. Working part-time isn’t for everyone and there’s always the danger that it can unintentionally become full-time work. (And yes, that’s covered in the book.) If you feel like this is an option for you, I highly recommend reading “The Best of Both Worlds” to learn everything you need to know to successfully jump into part-time work while doing the work of your life – raising your beloved kiddos!
Want to learn more? Join the discussion with author Beth Brykman on her Facebook page. And feel free to share with us what your biggest question is about working part-time as a mom.