Nowadays there are many more options available to working mothers than the traditional 9-5 job. As technology evolves we are presented with a growing number of alternatives that give you more control over your work-life balance. It’s important to stress that there are alternatives rather than opt-outs – we must all still work to live […]
Hosting an au pair can be a daunting experience for some families. If you are a family that values your privacy, having another person that is essentially a complete stranger living in your home as a part of your family may sound less than ideal. But the benefits of having an au pair often outweigh this aspect of the au pair hosting experience. So how do you set effective boundaries when hosting an au pair and ensure that everyone knows where they stand?
Explain Your Routines
One of the easiest ways to help your au pair settle into your family, and for you to settle into your life with a new person in your home, is to clearly set out what your family routines and expectations are. The sooner your au pair knows what is expected of them, as well as what they can expect from you, the sooner they will be able to get to grips with and follow your routines.
Explain any important rules you have in your family as soon as you can. For example if the children are only allowed a set amount of screen time at a particular time of day, make this clear and ensure they know it is non-negotiable. Children need to be able to follow the same routines and rules with their au pair as they do with you, otherwise it can become confusing as to who lets them do what.
If you are planning on limiting the use of technology in your home, explain this right from the outset. Most families wouldn’t want their au pair on the phone or computer all day, instead of looking after the children or completing other duties. Make sure the au pair is able to keep in touch with their friends and family within reason but without it impacting on their life with your family.
Encourage New Friendships
A happy au pair is a good au pair, so make sure they are happy! Encourage them to make new friends and get out and about during their ‘off duty’ hours. There are usually supportive groups in most areas for au pairs to meet each other and form new friendships, and having friends is a great way to help your au pair feel comfortable in their new home town.
Smart Au Pairs are a well-known au pair agency who can help you find your perfect au pair and ensure they settle into life with your family with ease. Get in touch with them today to start your search
Author: Amanda, Smart Au Pairs UK
With all of the inherent demands of being a mother thinking about returning to work after a career gap can seem daunting. It can be difficult to even know where to start. There are several tips that can make the transition a little bit easier.
One of the first things that you will need in order to apply for jobs is a newly refreshed resume. In order to be the best fit for the job, you must sell yourself to a potential employer. Even if you are looking to be self-employed there are strong benefits to having a high quality resume that details how your unique knowledge, skills, and abilities make you the best person for the job.
Every mother that has stayed at home knows that doing laundry and cooking supper are only minor details that make up your day. There are other relevant things that you most likely have spent your time doing that are transferable job skills, even if they weren’t paid job tasks. Here are just a few things that can be listed on a resume, in order to show leadership skills, organizational skills, and the motivation to follow up on ensuring the plan is achieved.
- If you took charge of a Girls Scout or Campfire group, you can list it as having participated in a leadership role.
- Consider using any volunteer work that you might have participated in as a means to show your team building skills such as, Meals on Wheels food delivery, Boys & Girls Club reading books, or work with a religious organization.
- Also think about any consulting times when you were utilized for your expertise in any given field. Again, just because they did not write you a cheque doesn’t mean that it wasn’t valuable experience gained. Having provided qualified consulting would be an advantageous ticked box on a resume.
Whether you will be self-employed or dipping your toes into the pool of the workforce, tackling the interview can be nauseating to say the least. You might be concerned about how to answer questions about the gap in employment history while you stayed at home with the kids. But take comfort in knowing the real question that potential employers want answered, is whether you can do the job and whether your job skills have withered in the absence of work.
It might be even scarier if you are seeking to change the field of work that you have worked in before. Fortunately, preparing for it can make a huge difference. Make sure you find a recent list of ‘Most Asked Interview Questions’ on-line (easy to Google), write your answer for each one down and practice with a friend or fellow job seeker.
Getting along with Co-workers
Now that you have landed the job, all your prayers may appear answered, right? Wrong. You might just find your working environment quite unbearable and wish you went back to your former situation. The workplace contains the most horrible people from conniving colleagues to authoritarian bosses.
Some of these people will think of you as an unnecessary addition to the workforce and you will often hear them whispering behind your back that you would have been better off as a stay-at-home mother as opposed to your professional ones. Take heart and know that their hostility towards you will soon die down. Being a mother is a hugely valuable job, no matter what anyone else thinks about that and it does bring many skills. You may want to click here and learn more on how to deal with such elements.
Getting ready for returning to work after a career gap can be scary. It can be nerve racking to think of what questions you might be asked or whether they will see you as being the best person for the job. However, with the information listed above, it can make things go a little bit smoother for a mother returning to work.
Author: Sharaz Zaman from GM professional accountants
Nowadays there are many more options available to working mothers than the traditional 9-5 job. As technology evolves we are presented with a growing number of alternatives that give you more control over your work-life balance. It’s important to stress that there are alternatives rather than opt-outs – we must all still work to live – but there is an increasing number of ways to ‘get on’ in this world without working a traditional job. What it takes is initiative, determination and lots of resilience to keep going and make it work.
Depending on the kind of change you are looking for, here is a list of 9-5 alternatives that could make the difference for you.
Seek out freelance opportunities
Freelancers work for themselves and have to source their own work. Sourcing freelance work is much easier now than it used to be, thanks to various dedicated websites such as People Per Hour and Freelancer. The beauty of freelancing is that you get to set your own schedule and work from wherever you want – provided there is an internet connection. There is a market for all kinds of freelance skills, including writing, design, web development, SEO, admin, translation, transcription, photography and legal services.
Start your own business
Entrepreneurship is a pretty big task, and shouldn’t be approached without a lot of forward planning. It’s all about finding something flexible that you enjoy, and turning that into a career or home grown business for yourself. Enjoyment is important, as it’s not uncommon to spend more than 40 hours a week while you to try to get your new business off the ground. The difference here is that the time is spent on something you’re passionate about and that you can call your own.
- If you’re ready to take on entrepreneurship, there are now lots more lending options available thanks to crowd funding sites and social media
- New trends are arriving constantly as technology develops, meaning there has never been a better time to start a business and capitalise on the evolving market
- Some lucrative options to consider might be: consulting, subscription boxes, health services, apps for kids, software development, and mobile massage or beauty services
Make money on-line
Not by signing up to one of those awful ‘get rich quick’ schemes, but by utilising one or many of the several methods that successful on-line entrepreneurs use to generate income. They require some careful planning and time to build up, so don’t quit your job right away and expect success to come overnight. Do some research into one of the following and think about whether it could work for you:
- Sell products on-line via an e-marketplace such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy. Get increased exposure for your wares by benefiting from the scale of their on-line audience – whether it’s for products that are handmade, second hand or bought wholesale
- Start an on-line store and make sales under your own brand, whether it’s jewellery, art, crafts, food, merchandise or services. It’s easier than ever to create an on line store using an e-commerce platform, and this way you retain control over the whole look and feel of your store front
- Become a blogger. Start by creating engaging content, and once you’ve built up your readership, look into methods of monetisation such as advertising, affiliate marketing, selling products, writing guest posts and promoting businesses
There are thousands of people out there who manage to make a healthy living on-line and reap the rewards of a virtual workplace or marketplace.
Find a non-desk job
There is no hard and fast rule that you must work an office job. There are a lot of jobs out there with varying hours and environments that could help you to become a happier and healthier person. Try pursuing a career that is interactive, outdoor or on-the-move, such as nursing, teaching, carpentry, construction work, landscaping, grounds keeping or massage therapy.
Try consulting or advising in one of your skills or areas of expertise
If you’ve been working in the same industry for a long time and built up a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills, then you could be the perfect candidate for consulting or advising. Help others to improve their own performance through consultancy, whether it’s business consulting, career coaching, financial advice or productivity seminars. If you know it, you can teach it – and if you can teach it, you can monetize it. Use on-line tools to help you spread the word and host on-line webinars and Q&A’s to help market your expertise.
Professional speaking and writing
Public speaking is certainly not for everyone, but it is a very sought-after skill which, if you have it, can be a very fulfilling and lucrative way to earn money. Whether you’re an author, teacher or motivator, if you can successfully capture people’s imaginations through your words or writing then you’re onto a winner. There are plenty of people who successfully make money this way who aren’t huge names in publishing or oratory – all you need is a lot of passion and knowledge about your subject, and the flair to ignite that same sense of excitement in others. You can start by running motivational and creative courses at your local community centre (or on-line) to see how you fare.
While some counties are very work-focused and keen to maximise working hours, there are others that have a much healthier and more flexible approach to work-life balance and that are also more affordable for young families. You could have an adventure abroad together as a family, discovering new things about yourselves.
It’s a bold move to completely uproot and move to another country, so it won’t be the best option for everyone, but if you want to start afresh and you have no ties keeping you and your family in one place right now when the kids are young, then it might be worth considering. Countries with a progressive work ethic are mostly European and include Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands, among others. When you are abroad you could make a living by teaching English or tutoring, or getting involved as a local tourist guide or a host family for foreign students.
Find more ideas and inspiration on:
Author: Kayleigh Alexandra, Microstartups.org. Microstartup.org is a site that posts stories of one person start ups, to help generate publicity.
Is being a career mum even possible? Today I read that 6 in 10 women feel having kids is bad for your career. Really!!!????
In these days of “anything is possible”, so many career mums juggle work with looking after a young family. Perhaps you are lucky enough to work from home. Perhaps you are flying about in private jets and have an army of nannies and chefs catering to your child’s every requirement. Or perhaps you are like most of us working mums who do everything yourself and spend much of your life in a state of mania and panic that you have forgotten something vitally important.
A Career Mum’s Maternity Leave
As a Career Mum, I went on maternity leave a few days before my little one was due and returned to the office full time 11 weeks after he was born. I think this is fairly usual in the USA but not so much in the UK. Friends and colleagues often gasp in horror to hear of my very short maternity leave but I am the main wage earner in our little family and if the mortgage is to be paid and holidays are to be booked, I need to get to work. And the truth is I wanted to get back to work and felt little remorse about leaving my child with family and latterly, a private nursery which I paid through the nose for. Men are not criticized for not taking career breaks, so why are women often sneered at for wanting to have it all?
A Career Mum’s Guilt
As my son has grown older and my working life has become even busier; I have felt the gut wrenching pangs of guilt associated with not being at home. I have had embarrassing situations where my child was at nursery for 4 years and his teachers did not know who I was at graduation because I was rarely the one who had time to drop him or collect him; I have had parents at school assume my husband is a single parent; I have occasionally missed parents’ evenings, nativity plays and sports days due to travelling and/or work deadlines.
On the other side, I regularly sprint in to the office 10 minutes late as scraped knees have needed to be bandaged or breakfast spills cleaned up. I often run out of the office early to ensure prompt collection from after school club. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to sign a document and rummaged through my handbag for a pen only to pull out plastic dinosaurs, snotty tissues and occasionally special pictures that my son sneaks in to my bag to cheer me up at the office (those days are the best days).
Working Mums – our children attend breakfast clubs, after school care, summer holiday clubs and occasionally even come to work with us. It is stressful; it is exhausting; it is enough to make you want the odd G&T on a Friday night.
Do I regret it? Would I change it? NO!!
A Career Mum’s Reward
I look at my 9 year old son with a mixture of pride and awe. This well-adjusted, confident, intelligent, hilarious little man is the way he is perhaps in spite of, but certainly because of our home set up. In a busy household where both parents work, he understands he needs to help out. He earns pocket money by performing well at school, undertaking the few household chores that he is set, and will save his pocket money for that Xbox One if he really wants it before Christmas. He understands the importance of working for things. He has a centred moral compass and demonstrates compassion for others. He is kind and helpful; running down the front steps when I have been shopping to help carry bags. Would he be all these things if I had stayed at home with him? Probably. Is he still all of these things even though I work full time? Absolutely.
Could you be a Career Mum and have it all?
No matter whether you are a working mum or a busy mum at home all day (and let’s be honest – that is the toughest job of all), we all try to teach our children the skills and values to grow up as responsible members of society.
Remarkable ladies do the “working mum thing” every day – they are surgeons, waitresses, lawyers, shopkeepers etc. We have relied upon and are eternally grateful to the individuals and institutions that have assisted us in retaining our sense of self, making us happier women than we would be if we were just “Mum”.
For many years, I have been lucky enough to be associated with Ably Resources Ltd. Our organization proudly champions gender equality in the workplace and has no glass ceiling for career minded ladies with children.
If you are a woman chasing that board level appointment and thinking that children will prevent that; my experience has been that you can have it all – if you’re willing to work for it!!
Author: Ami Wright. Ami is the director of Ably Resources. Ably is a leading specialist recruitment group. They specialise in finding (flexible) work for women in Engineering, Oil & Gas and Drilling, Marine & Subsea and Architectural and Structural Engineering. They cover UK, Middle East and South East Asia – mainly relocating expats to these locations.
Are you working flexibly? Or are you looking to return to the workplace and considering working flexibly? If you are you most likely will feel anxious about your children’s future whilst feeling self-reproachful for spending time away from them. Here’s some encouraging news.
Working Flexibly? – The benefits for your child
Women whose mothers were employed outside the home are more likely to hold jobs themselves, to have managerial responsibilities at work and earn higher wages than women whose mums stayed at home full-time during their childhood, according to a Harvard Business School study.
Similarly, men brought up by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household duties and spend more time caring for family members.
The findings also revealed that it didn’t matter whether mothers work flexibly in temporary roles a few months one year, or fifty hours per week through the whole childhood.
Rather, differences occurred when children had a role model who demonstrated that women are more than able to balance working both inside and outside the home. So, even returning to work a few hours a week could increase the chances of your child becoming successful once they reach adulthood, enter the labour force and possibly become parents themselves.
Another study carried out on children in Denmark, found that children, with mothers who returned to work for only 10 to 19 hours a week (similar to holding a temporary position or part-time job) during the first four years of their child’s life, had grades that were 2.6% higher, relative to children whose mothers stayed at home. And, in the long term, the children with working mothers grew up to do better. Having a hard-working, female role model to look up to far outweighed the fact that mothers had to spend a little bit less time with their children when they were young.
Working Flexibly – Job offers are growing
Increasingly, employers are catering to the trend of more mothers wanting to remain in or re-join the workforce. This coincides with a societal shift in opinion that mother should be able to choose to work flexibly whilst raising their children instead of being resigned to look after their children full-time, at home. The Internet is increasingly filled with specialised recruitment agencies, job boards, websites and even a platform such as Flexy, with accommodating, temporary and part-time positions that could be attractive to many mothers wanting to work flexibly outside the home whilst their children are growing up.
Working Flexibly – The benefits for you
Although society, as a whole, has come a lot closer to achieving gender equality, there still exists a great amount of pressure and parental guilt over both parents working outside the home. However, much academic research has proven that his should not be the case, as there a range of benefits to being or having a working mother. For example, Harvard Business School’s research provided evidence that not only do working mothers help their families economically, they also help themselves emotionally and professionally as well as setting an example for their children by showing that contributions at work and at home are of equal value, for both fathers and mothers. These are just a handful of powerful reasons for working mothers to feel accomplished and proud of the fact they are able to return to the workforce, rather than guilty for being employed whilst raising their children.
Author: Charlotte Woodhams. Charlotte works at , a recruitment app, matching workers and employers for short-term contracts and shift work. Jobs include: office, admin and reception, catering and events, retail and merchandising, research and testing, sales and customer service, street marketing and promotions, warehouse pickers and packers, cleaning and maintenance. Jobs are London-focused.
Being a free lance mother means you can easily squeeze in moments like picking up the kids from school or changing nappies, as long as you make sure you have met your deadlines at the end of the month. It might take a bit of discipline, but in general, a freelancer’s job satisfaction is very high. So, working freelance seems like the ideal option for mothers that want to have flexibility around their family.
One of the only things though, that will take extra (unwanted) time is managing your own finances. As a freelance mother, you are solely responsible for sending invoices, giving yourself a salary and doing tax returns. This might seem a bit daunting at first, but with the following tips, you should be ready to take the plunge!
Separate your bank accounts
Open a separate business account so you won’t mix up your personal money with your business expenses. It allows you to get a clear overview of your company’s cash flow, which will come in handy when you’re doing your tax return, but it also protects your personal assets from liability. As a freelancer, you are liable for legal issues and debts of the business. Creditors might go after your personal money in the rare case that your business fails. It’s therefore highly recommended to have a clear business structure in place with a separate business bank account and a company check book to prevent financial disasters.
Create an emergency fund
Freelancing can be a great option for stay-at-home mums to keep the cash flowing in. However, be prepared for the tough times. As a freelancer, you constantly need to be on the lookout for new projects and clients, which means you don’t always have a steady income. Some clients tend to pay you only after you’ve finished a project, which can take months. This means that there will be times where you barely get paid at all, and there’ll be months where you’ll get paid loads at once. It’s crucial to save up for the times that are tough and set up an emergency savings account that you can rely on when clients are slow at paying you or when your child suddenly needs a new pair of glasses. Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to cover your expenses for at least 6 months.
Plan for maternity pay for free lance mothers
In the UK, conventional employees are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). Self-employed women, however, don’t self-evidently qualify for maternity pay. You decide yourself when you start working again after pregnancy and how much. You might be able to claim SMP under particular circumstances, e.g. if you’re a director of a limited company and you’ve been working there for at least 26 weeks preceding the 15th week before your due date. If not, you might qualify for Maternity Allowance (MA), but this is usually a bit less and requires more planning. You can claim MA if you have worked for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before your due date, and you have earned over £30 per week on average for at least 13 weeks. You can add up your earnings from both employed and self-employed work.
Invest in accounting software
To set up a strict budget and plan for your pension, taxes and maternity pay, it might be best to hire an accountant who can do the hard work for you. However, accountants tend to charge a high rate. A cheaper alternative is to invest in small business accounting software. It helps you understand your own finances, track invoices and it gives you free bookkeeping advice. Doing your tax return at the end of the year will be a piece of cake!
Find out more finance tips for free lance mothers here:
- The first things you need when starting a business
- Top tax tips for start ups
- Can you sustain your lifestyle when one income falls away
Author bio: Lisa van der Steen is a Dutch freelance writer based in the UK. Writing on behalf of Accountz, a developer of accounting software, she has an expert knowledge of money management for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
Lisa had a successful career change from account manager for a telecoms firm to founder of a baby gift company. She is also a wife, and a mum to two teenage boys, all of whom she uprooted as the business grew and they moved to South Gloucestershire where they now live alongside the business and the grandparents, together with their spaniel Ben. Read more on what it’s like to start your own business.
What motivated you to have a career change?
I studied Business and Finance at University and worked as an account manager for a telecoms firm. I have always enjoyed my working life and successfully worked through both my pregnancies. But, like many working mums, the arrival of a second child meant childcare costs prevented a return to my career. In addition I really wanted to find a job that would have the flexibility to enable me to work around my family and children and still engage my brain and allow me to express myself creatively – this was the motivation I needed to start out on my own.It had always been my dream to run my own business and to work for myself doing something that allows me to get creative and most importantly to enjoy what I do. So when I had my boys that gave me the last bit of motivation and confidence to ‘go it alone’.
Where did your business idea come from?
Drawing from my own experiences of motherhood, Babyblooms was forged in 2005 through my quest to create the perfect new baby gift for expectant friends. For me this had to be a delight to receive, with a real wow factor, encompassing my love of all things beautiful and practical. So I designed the baby clothes bouquet. Following on from the success of the bouquets we now have a range of gifts including hampers for mum and baby, skincare, jewellery, baby shower and Christening gifts and a range of gifts that can be personalised.
I find being creative a real joy and consider myself very lucky to head a business that allows me to indulge in this every single day.
100% conviction that my idea would work gave me the drive to make it happen.
What kind of support do you have?
I work with a fantastic group of people, many of whom are mums like me and together we have created a flexible and supportive work environment and a highly successful business. Our success is due in no small part to the priority we give to accommodating family life, working to provide cover for each other when needed, ensuring business needs and deadlines are met alongside the demands of our families. My husband and family also have been very supportive.
For me it was important to always keep business separate from home and family time. If it is possible, having a physical door that you can shut on your business really helps. Make the most of the time when your children are sleeping. I conducted most of my planning and research in the evenings while my children slept. Needless to say, bedtimes were strictly adhered to!
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I have faced was moving home, family and business from Berkshire to Gloucestershire without experiencing a break in the Babyblooms service, or our next day delivery option.
When faced with a challenge I break it down to what I can change and what I can’t. I write a list detailing what actions I need to take and when. Then I go home to my family and shut the door on it until it is feasible to do something. I have learned that worrying in the meantime is futile.
Author: Bryony Bower, PR Executive of Lisa, founder and CEO of Babyblooms, a UK baby gift company.
As a mum, you may well have experienced private tutoring from the other side of things. Whether your child needed support for their Common Entrance, or you had a son or daughter that struggled with one of their GCSEs, private tutoring has helped a lot of families with their educational needs. At Regency Tuition, we can vouch for the fact there is an increasing demand for reliable and talented tutors in this growing industry, and you may well be the answer.
One of the main perks, from a mum’s perspective, is how flexible the work can be. Whilst many tutees will be at school from 9am until 4pm, there are plenty of adult learners, university students with flexible hours and school pupils on study leave to fill in the gap. It should also be noted that home-schooling is becoming more and more commonplace, with parents across the country needing support for the subjects they aren’t capable of teaching themselves. With most tuition happening on an hourly basis, you can book it around your own commitments to avoid any clashes between work and home life.
Wide range of subjects:
People need tuition in dozens of different fields, so you don’t necessarily have to have trained formally as a teacher (although that would definitely be a plus!). If you did a degree in an interesting field, if you can speak another language, or even if you have a particular hobby or talent, there will definitely be people out there who want to learn. Regency Tuition have had requests for tuition in tapestry weaving, chess and flower arranging, as well as music lessons, English and foreign language tuition, and support for children in their early years. There is a whole host of subjects for which people want tuition, so don’t think you’ll only get work if you’re a maths professor!
Experience with children:
Regardless of whether you’ve ever had personal experience with tutoring or not, it’s completely understandable that most parents want tutors with childcare experience. In our experience, tutors with experience as teachers or parents are always high in demand. Not only is it reassuring to parents to have someone they can trust around their child, it tends to bring the best out in the child too. Finding someone who’s patient and kind, and knows exactly how to communicate with their son or daughter, is so important to these parents.
Great hourly rates:
Unlike many other part-time, flexible jobs, tutoring privately will earn you more than the standard £10/hour. Depending on how niche and in demand your subject is, you can comfortably charge £25-£35/hour. There is also the option of holding tuition sessions over Skype, which opens up the possibility of tutoring students further afield, or even abroad! Just a couple of sessions a week can pay the same as a full day’s work at the office.
Whilst all this might sound ideal, it is worth bearing in mind that tutoring isn’t for everyone. For a start, no matter how much you love your own children, you might well find that you can’t cope as well with other people’s! We always recommend a couple of trial sessions to check that there’s good compatibility between the student and the tutor, because the relationship between the two is so essential. It’s also important to know you can commit for a decent length as time, as too many changes in tutors can be very disruptive for the student. There are plenty clients looking for intensive sessions however, especially when it comes to teaching crafts and hobbies, so it might be possible to consolidate your lessons into a few afternoon sessions.
With so many different ways of going about it, tutoring privately can be a very interesting and rewarding career path for mums with lots of other commitments.
Author: Jeannette Smith (email@example.com) is the Tuition Co-ordinator for Regency Tuition, a tutoring agency that offers bespoke private and corporate tuition in all subjects, for all ages. Go to http://www.regencytuition.com/ for more details.