Being a mom can be rewarding. But if you find yourself daydreaming of being back at work, it might be time to consider new challenges. Having something separate from life at home can be good for your mental well-being. If you can find something that will give you a sense of fulfilment or accomplishment, you will be more content in general. After all, the happier you are, the better mom you will be.
But what can you do when working feels like something you did in a previous life? Here are a few options to consider:
Flexibility is a huge issue for parents, and working part-time can be a very attractive solution. According to Spiegel Online, there are over 15 million people who have part-time jobs in Germany, up from a little over 8 million twenty years ago. Employers are offering more and more part-time positions, which can mean good news for parents looking for work-life balance. One word of caution: make sure it is clear from the outset that the job offered fits your schedule. Applying for a full-time job and then asking for reduced hours is a waste of everyone’s time. It is worth looking into job portal sites in Germany that feature part-time positions geared just for parents, such as Jobsfuermama.de and Mutterschafft.de.
Job sharing is a variant of working part-time in which two people (or more) share a full-time position. They split the hours that they are on the job and when necessary, hand off assignments or tasks to each other. There are advantages and disadvantages to this model, but with the right job sharing team, it can be an excellent way to keep your schedule flexible.
Sometimes, the best way to achieve your ideal working conditions is by creating them for yourself. According to an article from Forbes.com, more and more women are starting businesses that “align with personal values and offer freedom and flexibility when it comes to things like scheduling.” And according to the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, it’s a good time to do so due to the strong economy.
If you have a business idea, start writing down the details and get yourself some business training or consulting. One good place to start is Mompreneurs.de. Get inspired by their stories and go to an event near you to start increasing your network. There you can also find support from other moms with small businesses who understand exactly where you are coming from.
If you do not have a specific business in mind, another option is joining a franchise system with a pre-established brand. For moms, this could provide the best of both worlds. You can still be your own boss, but without having to worry about the long setup process involved to get a business up and running.
When you have your own business, it is helpful to physically separate home and work life. Try to find a way to get out of the house at least part of the time. This can be achieved with a co-working space or your own separate business location. This has the added advantage of appearing more professional to clients.
Retraining or expanding your skills is an all-around good idea, no matter who the job seeker is. For moms specifically, gaining new skills or brushing up on old ones can only work in their advantage. For example, if your field has anything to do with technology, you might feel like you’ve been on another planet if you haven’t kept up to date with all the changes in the last few years. In a Ted Talk by Carol Fisher Cohen, CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch, she emphasizes that if you are not up to speed, it is your responsibility to get there. Pinpoint the areas in which you need improvement and then find a way to work on them. Take classes locally or even online. Some companies also offer internships or special training programs that will allow you to gain some practical experience and specific skills. Volunteering is also a great way to gain contacts, learn something new and add current activities to your resume.
One last bit of advice is stay positive and open-minded. Don’t think of your parental pause as a hindrance to your career. Think of this as an opportunity to start something new, perhaps something you’ve always wanted to try. Or even something you haven’t even thought of doing yet!