Non-traditional Career Paths for Moms
Moms must balance raising a family with growing a career, and that can feel like a daunting task. Often, moms assume they have to choose between being a stay-at-home mom or being a full-fledged career person, but that isn't actually the case. The most successful moms in terms of work-life balance and finances are those who embrace non-traditional career paths.
A traditional career path is thought of as earning an education, entering the workforce straightaway, and climbing the corporate ladder. Although this linear path makes sense for many people, it rarely makes sense for moms. Non-traditional career paths, on the other hand, offer the flexibility that moms need to accommodate the different phases of their lives and their children's lives.
Flexibility can come in many forms, and one of the most coveted forms is part-time work. This non-traditional career move is ideal for moms because it allows you to stay in the workforce while balancing the demands of motherhood.
Of course, there are some downsides to part-time work, which can include doing far more work than you are actually getting paid to do or not being eligible for benefits. This isn't always the case, but it can happen. Even so, it's still wiser for your finances over the long-term to maintain a part-time job rather than leave the workforce for a period of time. It can be quite challenging to re-enter the workforce, and you may re-enter at a lower salary than if you had netted those extra years of experience at part-time.
Not all companies consider part-time workers. However, you can make a case for it if you offer a solution such as a job share, in which you share a full-time job between two part-time people. Finding another mom to pitch a job share to your boss is a great way to bargain.
Working from home
Another non-traditional career path involves working from home. This is becoming more mainstream now that the pandemic has paved the way. Working from home, even one or two days a week, can help reduce the cost of childcare. It can also save you sick time or unpaid leave when you have a child that needs to stay home from school or daycare.
Other costs are reduced as well, including travel-related costs, work attire, and eating out. Working from home is simpler, and you just don't spend as much as when you are always on the go. There is also a time-savings parameter when you don't have to factor in getting ready in the morning, or a commute. Frankly, time is invaluable, and moms often feel they don't have enough to go around.
Changing jobs or careers
Depending on your phase of motherhood, you may want to consider switching jobs or even switching careers to better accommodate your life. Again, this can help you stay in the workforce longer, thereby making more money over your lifetime. If your current job doesn't offer paid maternity leave or part-time work or flexibility, it's a better option to look for a different job than to leave the workforce altogether.
Changing jobs can also mean leaving a full-time career to pursue freelancing or gigs instead. The flexibility is far better, and you still receive an income and maintain a professional network. This will make it much easier to return to a full-time career when you are ready in the future.
Some careers are inherently better suited to motherhood, such as teaching. Teachers have the same schedule as their children, with summers off. Substitute teaching is an even more flexible option. However, you don't have to leave your career to balance raising a family, especially if you love your career. Instead, broach the subject with your boss and see what they can accommodate. Many companies would rather make compromises than lose an experienced and hardworking employee. Don't be afraid to be a trailblazer.
Stepping down or taking a pay cut
Another non-traditional career move is stepping down or taking a pay cut to prioritize flexibility and work-life balance. You don't always have to go in a straight line, with an upward trajectory. Rather, knowing when to back off a bit is key to having a longer and better career.
Only take a promotion if your life is ready for it. Otherwise, you and your family will feel the strain. Some things are more valuable than an ever-increasing salary: time, flexibility, and stability are some good examples.
Overall, moms shouldn't feel like they have to stick to a specific career path. A successful career is one that accommodates your life and needs.