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Let’s face it. Being a mum is already more than a full-time job. Which makes finding a satisfying career for mums even more important.
Many of us want to return to work after maternity. You might be the main breadwinner, you might want to keep your career goals alive and well or you might want to take the opportunity to try something new. Whatever your reason, the ‘best jobs for mums’ agenda has grown and grown. It’s not just mothers who want flexible work that fits around their parenting commitments, increasing numbers of dads do too. New technology and new roles make it easier than ever to find interesting work that fits around family commitments.
The choices are tough, though… and chances are that arranging (and paying for) childcare is really only appealing if you’re doing something truly worthwhile with your time.
As our lifestyle aspirations change towards a better quality of life and a more flexible way of working, parents want the chance to do great work, using their skills and experience, in ways that flex around their family commitments.
Don’t put your dreams on hold. Enrolments for the Your Career Plan Digital programme are now open. Our unique methodology will help you find a career you love that fits your lifestyle. Watch this video course teaser below so you can get a taste of the action and click here to learn more.
If you are thinking about a switch or about returning to the workplace after your maternity or adoption leave, it can feel daunting and complex. Your life has changed, and that alters your priorities and criteria for work.
Perhaps you experienced an unpleasant workplace situation before having kids that you don’t want to repeat. One thing’s for sure, once you’ve made the decision to return to work, you need a role that helps you transition happily and find the right balance with your family life.
So, we’ve done the research for you. Here are the eight best jobs for mums and dads who want work that lets them enjoy a balanced family life. You’ll also find websites, book recommendations and other helpful resources to help you on your way.
Hold on to your hats and let’s explore some careers for flexible-working mums and dads.
1. Interior Design
If you have an eye for beautiful homes and an interest in people, interior design can be a hugely rewarding career. From helping families reinvent a living room that’s not working for them to running complete renovation projects and partnering with architects and builders, an interior design business can take all manner of forms and be as flexible as you need it to be; making it an ideal career switch for artistically minded mums.
2. Web Design and Coding
Everyone, everywhere, needs code and websites. This work is very flexible because you can take your office with you wherever you go and the work doesn’t have to be completed in a 9-5 routine. What’s more, the increasing number of flex-working mums and dads out there means you have a ready-to-go potential audience who work on the same terms as you.
3. Nutrition and Wellbeing/ Alternative Practitioners
Retraining in a wellness field such as massage, homeopathy, reflexology, or beauty can offer a good deal of flexibility. You can choose your hours and your location – work from home or visit your clients or even hire a space on an ‘as needed’ basis. The same rules apply to coaching, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy or counselling.
These roles also let you choose a working environment that suits your preferences. Do you enjoy working alone or prefer being part of a team? Teaching classes in yoga, pilates, aerobics, mindfulness or offering nutritional advice can extend to bespoke 121 classes or being part of a team at a spa or leisure centre.
4. Blogging, Marketing and Social Media
If you’re a natural connector and love to share ideas and meet others, marketing and social media skills can offer a great way to work from home or in hours that suit you. Short courses such as that offered by the Digital Marketing Institute build on a natural skill for written communication and idea generation. Digital Mums is another fantastic set-up where you can retrain and find employment upon graduation. Blogging, marketing and social media roles are famously flexible and available both in-house and freelance.
You can start your own blog as a trial. It gives you an opportunity to express yourself creatively and professionally. You’ll also be following the steps of these amazing ladies, most of whom have also some great career change stories to share…
Rainy Day Mum: Cerys had already one major change of career from a marine biologist to a teacher, 3 miscarriages and one hard pregnancy before starting her fun, useful blog.
Not ANOTHER Mummy: Alison is a freelance magazine and online editor that started her blog in 2011, while on maternity leave.
Slummy Single Mummy: Jo Middleton created her blog in 2009 to promote her freelance copywriting service…
Check more of these here: wengenninwonderland.com
5. Freelance Designer or Copywriter
Creative at heart? Working as a freelance designer or copywriter lets you use your creative skills for financial gain. Even better, you can do most of the work at a time that suits you best – when your little people are at school, nursery or asleep – perfect for mums who want a more flexible career. Website such as upwork.com and guru.com let experts pitch their work to those in need of good quality copy, editing or design work.
6. Accountancy and Bookkeeping
If you have a head for figures, offering your expertise as a bookkeeper or accountant can be a great way to add value and bring home the bacon. Accounting software means you can keep on top of the latest moves in your client business without leaving your house.
Emily Inman built her specialist accountancy business from the ground-up, working around her young family. “The good thing about a career in accountancy is that there is a lot of flexibility.” She says “There are many different types of accountant and it spans across all industries. I took what I had learnt working for others and used it to start and grow my own accountancy firm.” It’s not a short fix though, remember you’ll either need to already have your qualifications in place or be prepared to put in the hours to get them.
7. Customer Service
Given that many of us love a good natter and that mums are natural problem solvers, flexible homeworking in the field of customer service could be right up your street!
8. Business Development
Do you like this image? It’s Erica and her son Barney…working 🙂 We are looking to include more real photos of real mums working. If you want to feature and are working in one of these industries please send us your picture at a good resolution [long edge 1440px] at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you love to win, to build relationships and be out and about, business development roles give you the opportunity to escape the cubicle and respond to your clients wherever you find yourself.
There are so many career possibilities open to you, and each one depends on your unique set of skills. You can retrain, start your own business, find flexible jobs or negotiate better hours in your current role. Or you can take a break from the world of work and focus on your little one. But first, you need a plan!
Career advice and support for working mums and dads
1. Talk about your career choices with a career coach
Before you jump into anything and commit the family money, it’s a good idea to get professional advice and talk to a career coach. The Life Coach Directory lists reputable coaches ready to help you find your path. Erica, Zoe and the rest of the Career Matters team are here! Any respectable coach will want to get to know you and explore the match before coaching begins. That means it won’t cost you a penny to give it a try and see how it works for you.
Book a call with The Career Matters Team to hear how we work.
A word of caution… There are many online programmes out there that promise the moon and the stars but don’t deliver. Read here to find out how to spot a virtual course that isn’t all it promises to be.
2. Get authoritative and honest support
There’s a lot of great advice and support out there, you simply need to know where to look. Enter two excellent sites: Mother Pukka and Talented Ladies Club.
Anna Whitehouse created Mother Pukka as a portal for news, events, reviews and honest comments for people who happen to be parents. She’s since collaborated with major names in British industry to make strides in flexible working awareness.
Talented Ladies Club was founded by two friends who also happened to be freelancers and mothers; Hannah Martin and Kary Fisher. They wanted to create a resource that would help mums unlock their potential. It’s full of support, articles and regular training; well worth a visit.
3. Read, read (and read some more)
There’s little you cannot learn from a good book. Here are three we recommend:
Your Life Plan – Erica Sosna. Erica’s first book is full of practical careers advice. It combines her unique coaching method with practical project skills and personal development tools to help you find direction and take charge of your life.
Refuse to Choose – Barbara Sher. If you’re the kind of person who’s interested in everything, this is the book for you. Barbara helps you find a way to do all the things you love for a more fulfilling career.
Company of One – Paul Jarvis. If you’ve pondered upon the fact that less (work, stress, money) might be better than more, then Company of One is worth a read. Paul challenges the assumption that bigger is better and helps his readers consider a potentially more rewarding existence.
4. Learn for free
There’s an amazing amount of free education advice available online. In exchange for an email newsletter sign up, you get access to e-books, webinars and online courses you can use to switch up your skills and confidence.
Career Support – The Career Matters team run regular free masterclasses that cover a range of topics. You can also view past webinars if one catches your eye.
Sales & Marketing – Feeling out of touch? The Hubspot Academy runs a range of free courses that are incredibly detailed and well supported.
Tech Skills – The General Assembly runs its most popular workshops for free on select Fridays. Learn about subjects ranging from agile project management to UX design and more.
5. Find a new job
Capability Jane Recruitment: This specialist recruitment business focuses on sourcing talented executives on a part-time or flexible basis.
Work for Mums: A recruitment website to help mums and dads find flexible work options.
Workingmums: The number one job and community site for professional working mothers. As well as job listings, it’s full of no-nonsense advice and support to help you on your way.
Upwork: There are lots of freelancing marketplaces out there, Upwork is one of the best-known. Use carefully and they’ll help you find work and establish a portfolio, ready to take on clients independently.
6. Build a mum-friendly professional network
There’s no getting away from it. Your professional network can be one of your greatest assets if you’re looking for a job, project or mentoring. Building up your profile and engagement on social media is essential – don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to be present on all of them, focus on just one or two that are central to your area of focus.
Networking meetings may feel daunting if you’re new to them, but they provide much-needed face-to-face support and a business boost. Athena is a women-only networking group that focuses on developing and supporting their members, while LinkedIn Local meet-ups are a no-pressure way of building up local connections and increasing your confidence in the networking game.
7. Support networks
Parenting is tough and there are times when you need a sounding board to check things out. Big websites such as Netmums and Mumsnet are two excellent destinations full of lifestyle and parenting support. Used wisely, their forums can also be a great source of parent-to-parent support.
When I met you I was a frustrated mum who knew her potential just wasn’t being realised. You made me see that I should not give up on chasing my dream role.Kavita Parkyn
What role do employers have in careers for mums?
The evidence is clear. Workplaces with more gender-diverse teams are more financially successful. Not only that, but workplaces that support flexible working have better retention, productivity and employee satisfaction. Flexible working can take time for organisations to implement, but there’s a wealth of information and support available. Here are two to get started with:
Catalyst: This global non-profit works with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces that work for women.
CIPD: As you’d expect, the CIPD is chock-a-block full of practical and clear advice about the case for flexible working. It’s also a solid resource for anyone implementing a flexible working scheme.
Career not what you hoped it would be? Life’s too short to be trapped in a job you don’t enjoy. Our Your Career Plan Digital programme is now open for enrolments. Sign up and we’ll coach you through your next career move and help you find a job you love that suits your lifestyle.