Once you have made the decision to start a family, you will know that once your baby is born, it is going to change your life considerably. Not only will your daily routine at home change beyond comparison to previously, your work life balance will also often be affected. This could be through your own choice – perhaps you are a mum or a dad who wants to stay at home and enjoy time with your younger children so that you don’t miss out on these important years. For other parents, it could be the case that you simply can’t find a way to work around working in your previous full time job or career and arranging childcare for your children whilst you do this.
Of course there are lots of other factors that can affect how mums decide to divide their time between work and family but one of the main routes many mums tend to go down is taking on part time jobs. In this article, we will look at some of the issues facing mums and employment and we will also look at some advantages of part time jobs for mums, along with some tips and ideas for getting part time jobs if you are a mum.
What Are The Issues Facing Mums And Part Time Jobs?
There are many issues facing mums and employment opportunities throughout the United Kingdom. Whilst some mums with young children will see part time jobs as a godsend, other mums can feel frustrated either that they feel forced to work at all, or that they can’t address the balance between home and work by working full time.
Many mums want the opportunity to work in quality part time jobs
If you were working in a full time career before you decided to start a family, once your maternity leave has ended, depending on your family situation, you may find it is simply not feasible for you to go back to work on a full time basis. This could be due to childcare costs or the impossibility of fitting work around school patterns for example.
Many mums express concern that they are not given the opportunity to work more flexible part time hours by their current employers. As we have stressed in previous articles, part time jobs should not have to mean a step down from your career. If you were pursuing a career previously, there shouldn’t be any reason why you cannot do this as a mum with young children, on a part time basis. Mums with young children do not want to feel forced to take on unfulfilling, inappropriate or lower paid part time jobs.
Part time jobs for mums can be low in number and low paid
This is a concern for many mums in the UK. Although they want to work part time, mums can find there are fewer part time jobs out there than full time jobs in certain fields and the part time jobs that are available can be lower paid. They would like employers to employers to embrace more flexibility in the workplace and, indeed, many studies have shown that implementing a system where more flexible hours can be worked means staff morale and company productivity are increased.
Many mums who want to work part time and continue their career would like to see two part time jobs advertised rather than one full time position. Another option employers could consider for mums who want to work part time is introducing job shares where two part time workers work in the same position on different shifts. This type of work lends itself well to teaching roles, for example.
Part time jobs for mums could be done remotely
These days, with internet, software and applications, it is more and more possible for mums who want to work part time to work from home on some days rather than commuting to a place of work on a daily basis. More employers are starting to introduce this and it means there is more flexibility for mums to work from home if children are sick or if babysitters can’t work on certain days, for example.
What Are The Advantages Of Part Time Jobs For Mums?
So, now we have looked at some of the issues facing mums with young children when it comes to part time jobs, let’s move away from that and take a look at some of the advantages of part time work for mums. There are many positives to working part time when mums have babies and young children to look after.
Working part time means mums can spend valuable time with children
Having a family is all about enjoying time with your children so many mums choose to work part time to make sure they don’t miss out on those younger years of their child’s life. They want family time to take precedence over full time work and perhaps do not want to have to enrol their children in breakfast clubs or after school clubs. Some mums might plan to work longer hours once their children are a bit older, whilst others might have a plan to work part time for as long as possible – finances permitting.
When mums work part time it means expensive childcare isn’t a factor
Affordable childcare is a well known problem in the United Kingdom; a fact you are no doubt aware of if you have a family and have looked into childcare costs in the past. For many parents, part time work is a better option because it means they can fit the hours around other family commitments without having to also bear the costs of childcare. For many mums, it just isn’t worth the financial cost to work full time hours but then use most of the salary to pay for childcare.
Mums who work part time have more choice over jobs
Many mums prefer to work part time over full time because it means they are not limited to only being able to take on work with a higher salary. Yes, some mums with young children want to continue developing their career in some way by working reduced hours but other mums might want to work part time for a bit of extra income and to get them out of the house whilst also keeping a foot in the door of the world of work.
Mums who work part time can have more job opportunities open to them because they can afford to take on lower paid jobs as a result of not having to factor in those expensive childcare costs.
Part Time Jobs For Mums Can Mean More Flexible Working Hours
If mums are finding it difficult to work flexible hours in full time roles, then part time jobs can be a better option. The school day, term times and the school holidays are almost impossible to fit around full time work hours and part time can offer this flexibility.
Flexible part time jobs for mums can mean they get to spend time with their children in the school holidays. The working day could also allow for taking children to and from school and flexible days mean mums can also pick their children up from school if the child is ill or injured, for example. Many parents want to be able to do this for themselves rather than have a child minder or someone else do this and part time jobs can give this flexibility.
As well as looking after children, of course, part time flexible hours for mums mean there is also more time to do food shopping and household chores. Full time working hours with all of this piled on top can become stressful for parents so part time work for mums can be ideal in these cases.
Part time jobs for mums means they can keep in touch with the world of work
Whether you are keeping in touch with your ongoing career or you just want to work a few hours a week for some extra income, part time work for mums mean they can keep themselves up to date with current developments in the workplace and also enjoy other adult company in the process. Not all mums want to stay at home everyday with no other adult company.
More and more employers are starting to embrace the idea of flexible working hours for mums, as well as remote working on occasions, and this is a win win situation for both mums and employers. Some women, whose employers are yet to see the value in allowing mums to work more flexible hours, eventually end up quitting their full time jobs altogether and not working at all. Part time jobs, either in the same field of work or in a completely different field, can mean mums can remain in the workplace.
Part time jobs for mums can provide the opportunity to retrain
Before starting a family, perhaps you were following a career path that you were beginning to realise really wasn’t for you. Lots of mums who work part time after starting a family are using this as an opportunity to try out something new. It could be taking on some entry level part time work whilst considering options or it could be applying for similar roles that match your field of expertise but which offer different opportunities along with flexible hours.
Tips For Mums Looking For Flexible And Part Time Jobs
Juggling parenthood and going back to work after a long maternity leave or parental break can seem like a daunting prospect for some but part time jobs for mums can help to make this a more accessible idea.
Part time voluntary work for mums
If you are terrified at the thought of getting yourself back into the world of work, doing some part time voluntary work for a few months might be a good way to get yourself back out there. Voluntary work comes in all shapes and sizes and it can be a great way to update some skills you might not have used for a long time as well as helping a good cause and meeting new people. Voluntary work also means, if and when you do come to apply for other jobs, you won’t have that gaping gap on your CV where you haven’t been in employment of any kind.
Part time voluntary work can also help you learn lots of new skills so that you could eventually retrain and apply for part time jobs that offer you the flexibility you are looking for.
Keep yourself up to date with any new developments in your profession
If it is part time jobs for mums within your previous career field you are hoping to get, then there are practical things you can be doing whilst you are taking time out to enjoy your family. Read journals, magazines and newspapers at home that are related to your industry. At least then, you will be on top of new developments and won’t feel so out of touch when you come to apply for part time jobs or go for an interview.
If there are associations or societies that you are a member of as a result of your profession, if this is the field you are hoping to stay in in the future, make sure all your memberships with these, and your subscriptions, are paid and up to date.
Also, where possible, try to keep in touch with former colleagues and network with other people in your field. Social media, especially Linkedin, can be ideal for this type of thing if you are struggling to make time for face to face get togethers.
Apply for a whole variety of part time jobs
Most part time jobs for mums need to come with a degree of flexibility, whatever fields those jobs are in. Parents need to be able to juggle a work life balance so it could be good to apply for a variety of jobs, especially if you are looking to retrain. SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can often be good place to apply for jobs because they are sometimes in a position to offer flexible part time jobs where you can swap shifts with fellow workers or even work from home.
Take a good look at your CV
What does your CV say about you? As we have said in a previous post, part time jobs need to be taken as seriously as full time job applications and employers will want to see that you have taken the time to complete a tailored CV for the job you are applying for. Find out more detail here about creating that killer CV that could land you the part time job with flexible hours you are looking for.
So, try not to have a one-CV-fits-all scenario. Each part time job you apply for will have different requirements that you need to meet. Look carefully at the job criteria and highlight the skills you feel you have for that post. It doesn’t necessarily need to be previous work experience in the exact field you are applying for a job in. Being a parent, along with any other previous jobs you have done, will develop transferable skills that you can apply to other roles.
Don’t tell lies on your CV. When it comes to that section where you are completing your work history and you all of a sudden find you have a huge gap where you took time out to be a parent for a while, don’t pretend this didn’t happen by adding make believe jobs. If you are applying for part time jobs because you are a mum and you need flexible hours, your potential future employer will more than likely be understanding as to why you have not been working. State in your CV that you have taken time out to be a parent to your children and also highlight the skills you have learnt as a result of this. This will look more impressive than others who might be applying for part time jobs who just haven’t worked in a while.
So, let’s say you’ve looked at various part time jobs for mums, you have applied for some of those jobs and now you have landed yourself an interview. Read our tips about how to really shine in your interview. And if that works and you get yourself a part time job with flexible hours, that’s great news. We can also give you some tips on surviving your first day in your part time job. Now, it’s down to you to enjoy and make the most of being a mum while holding down a part time job.