Perhaps you have been out of the workforce for many years while you raise your family. Or maybe you are currently working but looking for a change into a more family friendly environment. Whatever the case, finding a job that suits you as a mum may not be as easy as scrolling through Seek to see what is available. Jobs for mums (or any parent!) who want to work flexibly, require a bit more investigation to find one that really meets your needs.

You might need to be able to leave early for school pick ups or work from home to save on travel time. Either way, there are employers who are more than open to these options. These tips will set you in the right direction to start your search.

Negotiate in your current role

If you love your current organisation and have a good relationship with your boss, it might pay to have a conversation with them about changing your working hours or work location. Before you go into any conversation prepare yourself with all the information and try to think of answers to any questions they might ask. Sometimes this might not just be negotiating flexibility but carving a whole new space for you in your organisation. If you notice a gap, propose a whole new job altogether! You never know where it will get you.

In the past (pre-kids) I successfully negotiated in two different jobs to work from home one day per week. I had thought out how it would work with technology, meetings etc and also proposed a three month trial to make it more appealing and give me a chance to prove my ability to still get my job done from home.

Also make sure you are across any policies your employer has regarding flexible working arrangements before going into the meeting.

Ask your network

In my local mums groups, I often see family friendly jobs being posted as well as mums asking for recommendations for family friendly employers. If someone has had a good experience they will likely share it with you. And likewise if they have had a bad experience.

Talk to any friends who might be working part-time or in another flexible arrangement and find out how they went about it and how supportive their organisation is. Often when it comes to job hunting, it isn’t what you know but who you know so put the feelers out and see what comes back.

Conduct a job search

These days there are many job websites that specialise in advertising jobs for mums. They take away the hard part of researching family friendly employers for you. Some of the best options to check out are:

Think outside the square

The reality is that the perfect job is unlikely to land in your lap, particulalry in today’s job market. That’s not to say it won’t happen but it will require quite a lot of hustle and dedication! The trick is to think outside the square. What skills have you developed over your career, including your mum life, that you could apply to a new job? Is there an option to upskill or change direction to a more family friendly career path by doing some training? Either within your organisation or externally? How else can you make what you want a reality?

Grab a pile of post it notes and pop an idea on each one, no matter how crazy the idea might seem. Lay them out and brainstorm how you could make each one work. It will give you a lot of clarity to not only see the options on paper but then to work through them individually. You never know what brilliant idea you might come up with!

Start a business

This option comes with a caveat. Starting a business may at times feel like it is the most family UNfriendly option available. But if you have a passion for something that you think could make you money, think about taking the leap into your own business. There are so many resources dedicated to entrepreneurs generally, and mums in business specifically, that can help you make the decision if this is the right move for you. What I love most about running my business is that I can be there for my daughter when she needs me. If she is sick, I am able to shuffle my commitments to look after her. I then work double time when she has gone to bed but it gives me the freedom to be there for her when I need to be.

Have you changed career since having kids? Or negotiated flexible arrangements? How did you go about it?

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