Many people believe that it is not possible to balance career progression with being the best parent possible. However, this is not the case, and your career should not be put on the backburner or stagnate just because you have started a family. So, if you are struggling to juggle the two, here are some top tips to help you to be there for your child while also ensuring that your work life is as fulfilled and exciting as it can be.
Take an Online Qualification
Although you might think that you have to put your career on hold when you have a child, maternity leave simply means that you do not have to head into the office, and you can even use motherhood to rejuvenate your career. It does not mean that you cannot take steps toward your dream job while also being pregnant. One of the best ways that you can give your career a boost on maternity leave is by taking an online qualification. You might not be able to head into a campus university or college so easily, but an online qualification means that you can study for a degree from anywhere and around the demands of your child. For instance, courses like a Doctor of Nursing Practice qualification can help you boost a career that you already excel in and ensure that you return to work finding that new doors and opportunities are now open to you.
When you have a baby, you might not be able to -or want to- return to work straight away, and that is more than okay. However, you might start to get frustrated being cooped up at home all the time, and you may be itching to get back to some form of work. Rather than leaping straight back into the office and falling into your normal 9-5 routine, you should consider volunteering. Volunteering can be a great decision for mums as it can allow you to feel fulfilled while also ensuring that you can get all of the time off that you need. When you are a volunteer, it is you that decides when you work and for how long, which means that you can always work around your childcare responsibilities as well as any lasting health issues that you have after the birth of your child. Volunteering does not mean that your skills will go unused, though. Instead, it is an excellent strategy to boost your skillset and experience as it allows you to make your way into the industry of your choice without securing a job position first.
Take a Part-Time Job
In the same vein, rather than taking on a full-time job where you will have to spend what seems like every waking hour working, you should consider opting for a part-time position. Part-time jobs can help you to fill the hours between school drop-off and pick-up and make some extra money without having to commit every moment of your time. You might even be able to return to your original job part-time at first, and you should speak to your manager about the possibilities of this.
Networking can be particularly hard when you have kids, as most networking events take place in the evening and do not allow children to attend. However, you do not have to go to in-person events to meet other professionals. Instead, you should consider networking online. This can give you all of the advantages of networking without all of the stress of trying to arrange childcare for the evening. Instead, you will simply be able to attend virtual meetings, talks, and workshops from within your own home.
Speak to Your Manager
However, if you want to progress in your career as soon as you return to work, you need to speak to your manager. As well as reminding them that you are suitable for open positions after a long absence, speaking to your manager can ensure that you make your goals known. You might also be able to get a compromise in terms of your working hours and days to ensure that you can work alongside your new role as a parent. This works the same for potential employers. Rather than dismissing great job opportunities just because you believe that the hours are not right for you, you should always speak to an employer directly first to see whether they are flexible and whether they will be able to consider you regardless of any limitations that you have now that you are a parent.
It can be easy to slip out of the loop when you have a child while you are on maternity leave. However, missing out on vital updates and innovations can mean that you feel left behind when you return to work or do not have the knowledge or skills you need to progress. So, instead of focusing wholly on your new family life, you should make sure that you stay on top of all of the developments in your industry. You can do this by reading industry journals and news websites. It is just as important to keep up-to-date with what is happening in your workplace, though, so you should make sure that you contact your colleagues and your manager, or even visit the office once or twice so that you know what is happening.
Make Time for Your Kids
Whatever you do in terms of your career, you should make sure that you can make time for your kids and enjoy the new experiences that being a parent brings. Although it can be challenging to find enough time for your kids in the middle of the battle to move your career on, it is important that you do so. For instance, you should try to set days off where you completely put work to one side and focus on your children. You should also try to turn phones and gadgets off at night and in the evenings so that your family time is not distracted by work emails. Not only this, but you should try to take all of your holiday days and avoid doing overtime regularly.
Take Your Kids to Work
Some people struggle to progress their careers when they have kids because they are unable to find childcare. Then, you should plan to take your kids to work with you if you’re able to do so. Many workplaces now offer creches and childcare for their staff, particularly educational institutions, which can help you to work without distractions while knowing that your child is entertained and safe. If this is not possible, you should also consider working from home. Although getting the balance between work and your children can be hard when you are working in the same building as them, it is possible, especially if you have a comfortable home office that you can return to-and which children are barred from.
Sort Out Childcare
To progress in your career and make sure that your children are cared for and happy, you need to sort out great childcare arrangements and ensure that your kids feel comfortable with them. These could be a friend or family member, an after-school club, or a babysitter. If you have a partner, you should also discuss your schedules and try to split childcare between you to ensure that you can both succeed in your careers while also ensuring that your children are looked after until you return home from work. By ensuring that these arrangements are reliable, you will be taking a lot of future stress off your shoulders and can ensure that you can focus completely on your career and the next upcoming promotion.
Consider a Career Change
Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to be a parent and progress in certain careers, especially if you work in an industry that demands a lot from you and which does not offer you a good work/life balance. If this is the case, or you are finding that your career is beginning to plateau since you have become a parent, you should consider changing your career. Many parents decide to follow this path, and you can change your career at any age. To change your career, you should look at the skills and experience that you have and how they might be applied to a different role or industry. You should also look at the types of roles that might be suitable for parents, such as teaching and nursing, which can give you the flexibility you need. If you are struggling to find a suitable option, you could speak to a careers advisor who might be able to inform you of some of the best careers for you and who will be able to help you improve your resume. Once you have done this, you can start to look at the qualifications that you will need, the best ways to network, and the best methods that you can use to search for an available position.