Finding My Balance: Part-Time Working Mom with Four Young Kids
I currently work part-time as a marketing consultant. I work remotely, from home, which affords me the ability to dedicate any hours apart from the kids to billable hours. (As a consultant with four kids in some form of childcare, this is super important.)
It's taken me a while to construct this exact scenario. I made an intentional decision not to pursue demanding, full-time, onsite jobs because I felt it would be too much on me and our family at this stage of our lives. Instead, I focused my search on flexible opportunities. Thanks to technology and the current and ongoing conversation about women in the workforce, there are some incredible job-hunting resources out there that work with employers to offer flexible work for women.
I found the most interesting opportunities from The Second Shift, The Mom Project, and Werk. My current consulting job came through The Mom Project, and they have been fantastic to work with. This chapter of my career continues to evolve, and I am not sure where it will go next, but I appreciate the opportunity this has afforded me to stair-step my way back into the workforce. Here's how I am currently trying to find a balance.
Returning to Work
I spent several months searching for a job, so the return to work felt slow, and then it happened very fast, when my current project wanted me to start within a few days of our conversation. Mentally, I was really struggling with a full-time return to work, but I knew that I wanted to continue my career. I wasn't sure I could find part-time work that was rewarding. Ultimately, I found something that was relevant and offered me flexibility. It was too good to pass up. I rushed to find childcare for the kids.
Jack is in first grade and is in school most days. When he's not, I try to find an interesting day camp for him. The twins will be turning three soon, and they were eager to start preschool. I found a charming school that, by some kind of magic, was able to find space for the girls outside of typical enrollment times. Sadie was my challenge. She is 17 months (going on three...). She is too young for preschool, and I was also a little weary of three drop-offs/pick-ups. I found a wonderful babysitter who watches her at home. The hope is that Sadie will join her sisters in preschool after she turns two.
My days still start early. I get up before the kids and enjoy a bit of quiet, personal time before they wake, usually around 6 am. By 7:45, we are all five out the door (Zach is well into his workday at this point.) First, we drop Jack off at school, then we take the twins to preschool. By 8:30, Sadie and I are on our way home to spend a little 1:1 time together (or clean up) before the babysitter arrives just before 9. My workday is from 9 am to 2 pm, five days per week. When I'm done, I pick up the kids, and we have our afternoons together. Zach's East Coast work schedule allows him to be home early in the day, so we are often all together in the late afternoon and into the evening. I am already day-dreaming about long summer afternoons at the pool or beach.
One of my favorite times of the day is the early morning before the kids wake, when I sip coffee, get ready for the day, and listen to a podcast. If I do this right, I find that I am a better, more patient mom, and ready for whatever the day throws at me. Running remains my best, consistent escape.
This is an evolution. Writing this out, it sounds like this is very dreamy. I am really grateful for this flexibility and I don't want to take that for granted, but I do recognize that this is not the same as having ownership in a more committed role. I don't know where this is headed and what the next chapter in "Finding My Balance" will look like, but in the mean time, I smile big and enjoy being at drop-offs/pick-ups and at home in the afternoons. Could this be balance? Hmm.
P.S. - I would love to continue this series. Are you interested in how other people are finding their balance? Are there any types of arrangements you would like to hear about (self-employed? professionals? others?)? Let me know in the comments, and thank you for following along.