Alternatives to Returning to Traditional Work After Having A Baby

by WorkFromHome on April 17, 2012

Maternity leave is sometimes just not enough time to spend with your new baby before returning to work. Many women decide to stay home with their babies after holding him in their arms for a few weeks. It is possible to balance needing to work to pay the bills with wanting to stay home with your child. You may want to start a business or have a part-time or full-time job working from home. Figuring out the best path for you will take some time, as will finding customers for a new venture or a job that fits the lifestyle you want to have.

What to Consider

Mothers returning to work have several factors to consider before they settle on a work-from-home option. Here are a few of them:

  • Do you want to work full-time or part-time?
  • What industry do you want to work in?
  • How much money do you need/want to make?
  • Can you work while your baby is at home, or do you need to make some child care arrangements?
  • Can you work any time of day (i.e. when your baby sleeps), or do you need to stick with a regular schedule?
  • What are your talents/interests?
  • Do you have the capital and the ability not to have to earn a pay check for several months, perhaps years while you start a business?
  • Will you need any extra certifications or degrees to do the job/start the business you want?
  • Do you know what types of work-from-home jobs are available?

Types of Jobs

The last question on the list is one of the most important. Companies hire administrative assistants who work from home, salespersons, medical transcriptionists, translators, customer service (call center) agents, online tutors (English as a second language, standardized test prep, college classes, math/science, for example), independent distributors, writers, editors and many other professionals who work from home. Knowing what you want cuts down on the time it takes to find a good work-from-home job.

Why Hire At-Home Workers?

One reason they hire people who work from home is that they save money on office expenses. Many work-at-home jobs are freelance/contract-based, which means that companies do not have to pay for health insurance, paid vacation or other types of benefits. That is not to say that there are no jobs where you can work from home and have regular benefits, however. These jobs are just harder to come by.

Going Back

You also may have the option of negotiating a work-from-home agreement with your former employer. For example, if you worked as a clerk, you might be able to work from home a couple of days each week and in the office for the other days. This gives you some added schedule flexibility, but you can keep your old job.

Starting a Business

The Internet has made it very easy for people to start their own businesses. If you have a solid, well-thought-out business plan, you can use the Internet to your advantage in a new business. You can market, blog, advertise, network, send email newsletters with coupons, backlink with other businesses and a host of other activities that will help your small business grow. You can also work when it suits you, but you will have to work hard to get your business off the ground.

Before you start your business, take the time to think it through very carefully. Since you are not going to work and bringing home a regular paycheck, you must plan each aspect of your business as carefully as possible. Talk with other mothers who have started their own businesses in your playgroup, or talk with a small business counselor who can help you create a good business plan.

Personal Considerations

Working and having a baby will likely some days seem like more than you can handle. It is a delicate balancing act. You will usually want to be home with your baby, but you also want to feel fulfilled professionally and socially. Carefully evaluate your personal values and priorities before you accept a job or start your business. Sometimes working from home takes several adjustments in particular jobs and schedules before you find something that works for you and your baby. You may only want to work certain hours or days of the week to maximize your time with your child, for example.

Working and being a parent also takes its toll on you physically and emotionally. The stress of trying to meet the needs of professional clients and your child can feel overwhelming. Take time out from your day for yourself. With a supportive network of family and friends willing to help you with child care and housework, you can find the time to rejuvenate yourself when needed. You cannot give your all to everyone all the time. It is okay to ask for help when you need it.

Finding Advice

The best place to find advice on working from home as a parent is to talk to other parents who have done it or who are doing it right now. They can tell you what worked for them, and they can help you avoid pitfalls of working from home. For example, they can help you avoid work-at-home, get-rich-quick scams that are a waste of your time and money. While their stories will not be yours, they can provide helpful advice that will enable you to succeed as you work from home.

Forums and blogs dedicated to working from home are the best places to find advice online. Join an active conversation, and get connected with other at-home parents who work. These individuals, though virtual, can help you work through difficult times as an at-home parent. Other parents who work from home may be found in local community groups or clubs, your place of worship or in your circle of friends. Use the lessons they learned to help you succeed. Working from home is not always easy, but it provides a very satisfying challenge.

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