Fifty years ago, mums were expected to quit their jobs when they had a child, and spend the next few years raising them while the fathers were out at work. However, in the last five decades, things have changed a lot, including society’s perceptions of parenthood and how thing should be done. Child rearing is no longer thought to be the mother’s job; it is now believed that both men and women should play equal parts in a child upbringing. While this is a fantastic approach to take, the main issue that comes with it is working around having a family.

Did you know that more parents than ever before are part of the workforce and that four in ten homes have a working mother as well as a working father? While being able to work while raising your children is a good thing for your finances, it can lead to feelings of guilt due to not being able to spend as much time with your children as you would like to. The tip to success when raising kids and working around them is balance – of course, finding that perfect balance is not always an easy task.

When you have a family, working it around your work and career isn’t always an easy or straightforward task. The fact is that most parents need to earn while caring for their children, which is why understanding the best ways to work around family life is so important. Of course, that being said, knowing how to do that isn’t always simple either. The truth is that there’s no part of parenthood that is simple – child raising is hard work.

Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to the best ways to work around family life. The guide below has been split into various sections, highlighting what the best steps to take are during each of these time periods.

Before the baby arrives

Before baby arrives

Before your little one arrives is the ideal time to get everything in order for their arrival and your future. The fact is that once your baby arrives in the world, your life as you know it will change forever. That’s why taking the time to get things organised now is so important, as that way you can ensure that once your new addition joins your family, you are ready to start leading your life as a parent and can focus purely on them and not on anything else.

So, how can you get your work life sorted out before the arrival of your new addition? The most important step is to discuss maternity and paternity leave with your partner, to determine who will be taking what leave. Today, you have various options, these include you taking maternity leave for a period of 39 weeks and your partner taking paternity leave for a period of two weeks, or you could swap things around. You see, parental leave is now interchangeable – either the mother or the father can take the longer period of time off.

Before you decide who will take what leave after the baby is born, bear in mind that as the mother you will require at least two to four weeks to recover after giving birth. So you will need to take at least this amount of time off, before choosing to return to work. Remember, whatever combination of leave you and your partner choose to take, it is vital that you make time to read the maternity and paternity leave guide, and get to grips with the ins and outs of the process of taking parental leave. For instance, it is your job to inform your employer of your pregnancy within a set period of time. Otherwise, you could forfeit your right to maternity leave and pay.

Once the baby is here

Once baby arrives

Those first few weeks of parenthood are sure to be difficult ones. While the first few months after your little one is born are the most magical time of their life, they are also the hardest and most stressful, especially when you are a first-time parent. So the chances of work even being a factor on your mind are low. However, as time passes and your little one grows, you will begin to have more time to think about your career.

A large percentage of parents, more specifically mums, choose not to return to work after they have a child. Obviously, this isn’t affordable for everyone, but the fact is that if it is a viable option, many parents choose to take this route. However, the good news is that just because you choose not to return to your previous role, that doesn’t have to mean that you can’t return to work at all. A lot of parents consider going down less traditional working routes, such as working virtually from home, running their own small business or freelancing.

If you like the concept of being able to stay at home with your little one and work around your family time, then this could be the ideal option for you. Of course, regardless of where you work from, you still have the task of finding a work-life balance. However, when you work from home, this is something that tends to be much easier to do. The key to success is making sure that you have a work schedule as well as setting aside time for your family so that you are able to spend as much time as possible with your little one while they are still young. The same applies for your partner – wherever they work from, be it at home or from an office, getting that work-life balance right is crucial.

As your little one grows

Oscar in the cupboard

As your little one begins to grow up, it’s important to ensure that you continue to find smart ways to work your career around family life. Whether you’ve decided to return to work or work from home, it’s important to ensure that you still manage to have a good family life and work balance. Just because your child is growing up, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need you as much, because that isn’t the case – far from it in fact. If anything, the older your little one gets, the more they will need you, and the more they will expect you to be there.

One of the best ways to work your career around family life is to work while your child is at preschool or school so that you aren’t missing out on any time with them. That way you can still have a career but without having to compromise on family time – it’s a win-win situation. Of course, it isn’t always easy to find this kind of job, as there is a lot of call for job during school hours, as a high percentage of parents want the same thing – to work while their kids are at school and be off once they finish for the day.

Of course, should you choose to start a home business or work virtually as a freelancer, then this won’t be an issue for you. As you can choose what hours you work and set your hours to fit perfectly around the times when your child is at school so that you aren’t missing out on any quality time with them. Love this idea but stuck for what industry to startup in? Don’t panic, just take your time thinking about what skills you have and what they could be useful for.

Are you a skilled writer? If so, perhaps working as a freelance journalist could be the answer. Do you have a passion for photography? If the answer is yes, a career as a freelance photographer could be the ideal option for you. Or, if you are a keen baker, perhaps starting a small baking business could be an idea worth considering. Don’t be afraid to get creative – if you want to find the ideal option for you; you need to take your skills into account and find a solution that will perfectly fit them. The key to successfully working from home is knowing the best way to earn while using the skills that you have. There are plenty of virtual roles available, from virtual assistant positions to roles in online customer service, it’s just a case of finding the option that is the best fit for your needs.

There you have it, a useful guide to working around family life. Admittedly, working around family life isn’t an easy task – or at least, for the most part, it isn’t. However, just because it isn’t always easy to do, that doesn’t mean that it’s not doable. By taking note of the tips and advice above and implementing them in how you choose to work around your family, you can make life that little bit easier and less stressful for yourself. The fact is that parenthood won’t ever be easy, but by taking the right steps, you can make it easier for yourself to earn a livable income while raising your children.

*this is a collaborative post*

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