For the vast majority of women, motherhood requires us to take time away from our jobs. Unlike fathers, who can go right back to work immediately, mothers need to spend some time healing after the birth and looking after their new baby. Where fathers can have baby and career, mothers inevitably have to choose their baby over their career – at least for the first couple of weeks.
Though some career-driven women may see this as a huge disadvantage, and it does seem that women are unfairly penalised for starting families where men remain unaffected, it is possible to see this time as an opportunity as well. If you are going to take some time away, then why not use some of that time to think about what you really want? Could you find a way to have baby AND career?
With a new baby in the family, this may not feel like the right time to take a risk, but it is certainly the best time to reevaluate your current lifestyle and what you want for the future. For example, do you really want to go back to a boring 9-5 job or do you want to try something new?
While you certainly shouldn’t rush into any hasty decisions, here are a couple of things to think about.
Could You Start Your Own Business?
Starting a business with a new baby might sound crazy but if you work on your finances and make sure to keep everything separate it is doable. This is usually a good option for mums who have the mindset of an entrepreneur, but if you have a better idea than the job you had, this might be more fun to do.
You can sign up for a business management distance learning course to learn the basics and then it’s just a case of getting your business plan in order. Remember, though, that the more passionate you are about a business, the harder it can be to see clearly, so try to be realistic with your plans and optimistic with your hopes and dreams.
Would Freelancing be better for your career?
If setting up a whole new business is too much right now, could freelancing be a better option for you? 1 in 7 freelancers is a mum of young children and many are using freelancing to create a real work/life balance.
One of the biggest benefits of freelancing is that you can work as much or as little as you like and can fit your hours into nap times too. Plus, since you are your own boss and don’t need to follow anyone else’s rules, there’s no reason that you can’t work and take care of your baby at the same time.
For many women, the thought of having babies is thrilling and yet slightly marred by the worry about a sudden halt in career prospects. Unfortunately, the established business world has not yet caught up with the idea that men might like to take more maternity or that women are still capable after their babies but until that point, you can take matters into your own hands and create something for yourself.
Did you go back to your old career after having a baby or did you take a step back? Maybe you started your own business to have a better work/life balance. Tell me about your experience in the comments below!