Working mums are good for kids

Research says that working mothers are actually good for their kids. Here are six things you need to know if you want to have a career with a flexible working schedule.

Working mothers are in the spotlight this year -- and in a good way. New research from Harvard suggests that working mothers who work raise daughters who are, among other things, likely to be more successful in their professional lives. They learn early, too, how to manage a work-life balance. On the other hand, the study suggests sons of working mothers are more likely to help around the house in adulthood, and "lean in" to support their partner’s careers.

If you’ve spent the last few years or months bringing your beautiful little baby into this world and you’re thinking about getting back to work – there could not have been a better time. Companies and employers are increasingly open to flexible work arrangements, and proactive about working with talented professional women who choose to work flexibly in order to raise their children.

At Flexing It.com, over half of the 17,000 independent consultants using our platform to connect with organizations are women. And contrary of the stereotype that giving up a career to become a mother is a professional step down, many women say that they actually feel their skills are better utilized by working flexibly compared to a full time job.

working mothers

While these changing attitudes in the workplace are great for women, being a working mom is undeniably challenging. The better prepared and equipped you are, the faster you will be able to make it work for you. Here are some things for working mothers to keep in mind:

1. Get ready for mixed emotions; focus on your motivation rather than your guilt

You could be thinking of getting back to the professional world for your own personal growth, intellectual stimulation, interactions or the financial freedom it brings. At the same time, you may be worried about your baby not being just an arm’s distance away. You’re concerned about having to give your child divided attention and coping with the additional demands of both work and home. These are perfectly normal concerns!

Most working mothers deal with them every day. Let go of your mommy guilt and the worries of leaving your baby. Instead, focus on the bright side – the reason you decided to get back to work.

What's the first step when you start your job search? Find out on the next page...

2. The 1st step to your job search is to ‘self’ search

The world is changing fast – and the way companies work could be very different even if you’ve only been away for a short time. Get googling and research your industry has changed, new technologies or qualifications that have come into play when making yourself employable.

Then take a crucial step back, if you have not done it already…. And do a bit of a ‘self’ search. A kind of soul search in a professional context. Turn the spotlight on yourself. What would you really like to do? What skills do you have that could get you there, and what do you have to learn?

working mothers

Websites like LinkedIn and GlassDoor will help you get a better idea of today’s workplace. Social networks like Facebook can be used to discuss and find out more from within your trusted circle of family and friends.

You can search on-demand roles on Flexing It.com, and use their tool FeeBee to help you see what others with your skills are earning and what you should charge. These online resources are great to get started. They are available at the click of a button and can also help you build your network and make new connections.

3. Managing your new roles – own your mommy-multitasking expertise!

Your new roles will require a fair bit of adjustment. Old routines would change and new ones would need time to fall into place. The more planned and organised you are, the more quickly you and your baby will adjust to the changes.

When you’re looking for paid work, remember to keep your mommy skills at hand. As a mom you have developed the much needed professional skills of multi-tasking, problem solving, being resourceful and more. These abilities are great strengths you can count on.

To make sure you don’t get stressed, plan a routine for this crucial time of the day. Schedule your morning, afternoon and evening activities so that you are as efficient as possible. Less time will be spent on thinking and getting confused and more on getting things done.

Once you’ve got a routine that works, stick to it and maintain it consistently. This will also help your baby adjust to the changes and settle into the new routine. Family members too, will know what to expect and when.

4. Be good to yourself

This is a tough one, because you’ll often be racing against time and feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

Nevertheless, getting good rest and food is as important for you, as it is for your baby. Don’t fall prey to one of the most common complaints of working moms - exhaustion.

Your rest should take priority over cleaning up or doing one more load of laundry. It’s only when you’re well rested, that you will be your most efficient and will automatically get more done. So, eat well and get to bed early.

A trip to the salon or catching up with a friend over coffee may seem unnecessary and very hard to squeeze into your chock-a-block schedule, but this time for yourself works wonders. Few things work as well in rejuvenating your body and mind and get you back on your feet with a spring in your step. Go on, give it a try. There’s nothing like it.

Two more important tips on the next page!

5. ASK for help

Despite all your bravado and planning, sometimes it may seem like you’re falling to pieces or weighed down by all that is being asked of you.

At such a time, reach out for help. There’s no stigma attached to this – every single working mother or parent feels it.

When you can’t manage on your own, ask family and friends to chip in. They could help with household chores or even look after the baby for a while. Or if need be, get hired help. Delegate, when you need to, so that the tasks that need your attention most, get it.

6. Keep your mommy friends close

Venting: a necessary evil! As a full time mom, you need a support network to discuss pains, and struggles, frustrations without feeling judged, to people who experience the same things.

working mothers

You would’ve become good friends with other moms. Make sure you stay good friends, because they are your emotional lifeline. No one will understand you like they do. This could be you and your baby’s private little circle of friends - one that will do good to both of you. So, stay in touch to stay strong.

Once you’ve started overcoming the challenges of your new roles, you’ll quickly find yourself on a roll and take great delight in the benefits of working from home.

Here’s wishing you all the best in your endeavours as one of the working mothers!