Being both a mother and a businesswoman is no easy task. The priorities of parenthood and getting ahead in a career constantly vie for attention. The following are some keys to success in your dual roles as a parent and a breadwinner:
Have a backup plan for childcare
Make a list of all the contingencies that might create a childcare emergency. Your list might include working late, business meetings and a child home sick from school. Then make a list of possible solutions such as help from grandparents, a spouse or a childcare service.
If you are interviewing for a position and your prospective employer already knows that you have small children, it often helps to communicate your emergency childcare plan in advance. For example, you might specify what arrangements you have for days when you must work late or go on a business trip. If, however, your interviewer doesn’t know that you are a working mom and the position fits around your parenting schedule, you may encounter less prejudice if you simply don’t mention it.
If you need to leave the workforce following the birth or adoption of a child, use part-time or contract work to avoid gaps in your resume.
Even if you only work a couple of hours a week from home while your child naps, it looks better on a resume than no employment at all. How can you find this part-time or contract work? First look to past employers. Since you already know their systems and customers, perhaps you could take on a single project, contract or client, depending on the nature of your work. Second, look for opportunities in your community or freelance work. You might even consider teaching a college course in your field. Even some volunteer work looks better on a resume than a gap.
You can be a good mother and still follow your dreams. You totally can if you desire.
Keep your skills current
In today’s service-based economy, employee skills are a prime asset in business. Rather than simply logging time at work, look for ways to increase your skills. If your employer offers certification courses relevant to your career goals, such as Six Sigma training or certification in a new programming language, take the course. Even if you need to pay a babysitter for a few weeks, the investment will pay off handsomely.
Don’t let organization slide
If you’re a full-time homemaker, it’s not too difficult to schedule an all-day organizational marathon to get your household back under control. Working moms usually don’t have the luxury of big chunks of time. Instead, do a little at a time. To see a model of this concept, watch a local fast-food restaurant in action. First, all necessary items are in their proper place and handy. No fast food worker has to climb a step-stool to reach the paper cup for your milkshake. Second, workers use bits of downtime to take quick wipes at the tabletops, keeping things spotless. Third, everyone helps. Working moms cannot do it all, so children and husbands must have tasks for which they are responsible. Fourth, there is a close-down procedure at the end of the evening. Your nightly close-down procedure might include making sure that lunch bags are packed, permission slips are signed, clothes are laid out, and the house is tidy.