Career Advice

Going Back to Work? Decide Whether Part-Time or Full-Time Is Right For You

You’ve already made one tough decision: You’re going back to work after becoming a mom. But will a part-time or full-time job be best for you and your family?

Take the stress out of this decision by checking out the benefits that each option can offer.

Part-Time Perks

The obvious benefit to part-time work? You spend fewer hours working and more time doing everything else. You can take your little ones to the library, sneak in a quick trip to the bank or set aside time for yourself instead of cramming it all into your nights and weekends. Having more time to get little chores done and being around to play with your kids is very appealing to many moms and can be a big factor to consider when going back to work.

According to Kelly Stickel, president and chief networking officer of the business consultancy company Remodista, working reduced hours is also a good way for moms to “stay active in the workforce so that they hold their value in their career.” You can keep your foot in the door, ensure your work skills stay current and avoid a lengthy gap in your professional experience — while still having generous time outside the office.

Part-timers may also get something many full-time workers lack: “me” time. Working in this middle ground is a great way to garner the best of both worlds. You get the experience of being a stay-at-home parent, but you’re still able to have intellectual conversations and get out of the house for part of the week. Your children get familiar with being cared for by someone other than you, and you’re able to gain a sense of independence that comes with earning a paycheck.

Full-Time Benefits

For moms who are considering going back to work full-time, Stickel says that the biggest benefit is a “larger, more reliable salary, health care, and benefits.” Of course, more hours worked typically means a higher paycheck, but full-time jobs also often come with insurance, retirement and commuting benefits. Factor these in when deciding what your family needs to function best.

Krista Carothers, senior research editor at the Working Mother Research Institute, says that “reliable child care on-site at your office and a healthy paycheck might make your life work well, or working from home a couple of days a week might help you more.” As she emphasizes, many companies are willing to accommodate working parents by providing perks such as day care and flexible work schedules for full-time employees. This can be helpful if you need to manage school drop-offs or schedule doctor appointments.

Find the Right Fit

Stickel suggests that moms who are returning to work meet with a recruiter to boost their search. “When you are going back into the workforce, a recruiter can help you tell your story,” she says. A recruiter can help you build a resume and advise you on how to set up an account on a professional networking site such as LinkedIn, which will get you back into the mix.

“Working moms who are happy in their jobs like earning money, being productive and having influence, just like all other happily employed people do,” Carothers says. If you take into account your own personal and professional goals as well as your family’s needs, you’ll make a decision that’s best for all of you — no matter what your hours are.

Think you might be interested in part-time work? Check out these 21 jobs ideas!

Christine O’Brien writes about parenting, women’s issues, and the occasional celebrity. She works from home, but has been both a part-time and full-time working mom. This article was originally published by Reprinted with permission.


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