Balancing Caring for Child and Career

I have been a stay at home mom for 3 years and truly enjoy being actively involved in my childs life. I feel like one of the best gifts I can give my child is time, attention, and exposure to different things. While I've been fortunate to be home with my daughter this long, I'm feeling the financial pressure and need to secure income to help support my family. I'm also looking to learn about and be exposed to new career options. Ideally looking to find a remote job where I can earn decent money while still being home with my daughter. I'm educated and have a master's in social work, so I feel like I have a lot to offer but also looking to learn about remote jobs that are more "outside of the box". Primarily looking for things I can do in the evening's since my days are spent caring for my daughter. I'm really trying to create a lifestyle for myself where I can get back into the career world but still be able to primarily focus on the growth of my daughter and exposing her to new and fun things! Does that balance exist?
I would really like to hear about ways other stay at home parents have been able to find that balance without having to work a traditional job. I would truly appreciate any resources, tips, connections, and suggestions about remote jobs that pay well. I've done some searching, but I'm sure there's more out there and many opportunities I haven't come across. Ideally I'd like to find something making at least $20/hr that I can do from home. Thanks to those who are able to share whatever insight or knowledge you have :)

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It's totally possible to balance career and kid - especially just one kid. But I don't think working at home remotely and taking care of your kid at the same time is going to work for you or your daughter. You simply can't do both at once and will feel that you're doing both badly. I think you should look at preschool options and think about getting a job that pays better than $20/hour, which is not that much more than minimum wage at this point. Remote jobs exist, but quite often are there for people who've already worked at the company for a while or who have specific in-demand skills.

Remote work is incredibly flexible and gives me the ability to juggle family, home and work. But almost any job will necessitate you are available during *work hours for at least some meetings with your co-collaborators, manager, etc.  Even contractors who have had super-flexible + independent jobs on my teams - like grant writing - needed to be available for 3-4 hours a week - at the business' demand - for check-in meetings, team meetings, etc. Personally, I sometimes work a shorter day from home (Ex: 9-3.30 or 4.00) and then "wrap up" from 8-10/10.30pm after bedtime, but I'm still available primarily during business hours. I will flag that working evenings puts a strain on marriage though - as by working in the evening, you are not connecting with your spouse, so it's not advisable to do this every night, or at least save 60-90 min with your spouse each evening. 

Since your daughter is 3 - would you consider preschool at least 2 days per week?  9-3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays?  If so, you're going to be far more attractive as a remote, freelance employee, as you have consistent times you can be invited to a meeting, or go back-and-forth same-day on edits.  Some great preschools in Berkeley - ex: Cornerstone Childcare Center - have 2 day schedules like this.

As a former social-worker, what skills translate into a fairly independent, individual contributor role? I see social work as primarily a coaching + relational job with other people, which you wouldn't be able to do in the evenings. Do you have experience doing writing work? Web design/coding? Graphic design? Consider what are the truly "independent' skills you can offer, and re-tool your resume to emphasize those. I'd also advise you to do some pro-bono (you don't get paid) gigs with Taproot or Catchafire. You do remote, volunteer skill work for nonprofits that need help but can't pay. This will freshen up your resume, and prove to your employers that you have recent chops + references. It will also test-out if you have the energy to do work in the evenings, how many evenings per week, and how skilled you are at different types of work.

If the primary driver is financial - have you considered looking at the last 6 mo of expenses and actually breaking them into more nuanced categories than your credit card or Mint might do automatically? My maternity leave was going to be unpaid, so we looked more closely at our budget in this way. We identified that by not planning meals we made a lot of small trips to the grocery throughout the week. By planning meals in advance and refusing to head to the store mid-week, we saved 25% on our grocery bill. We also limited carry-out to 1x per week. Both those things saved a few hundred bucks a month! We also cut back to 1 family vacation per year (everything else is staycation/day trips). You're looking to make ($20/hr * 3 hrs/night * 4 days/week * 4.2 weeks/mo) $1K/mo - which is $700 after taxes. If you can make other trade-offs you might find the $700 without the strain of having to work!  Just an idea!

I know this may not be what you want to hear, but when my daughter turned 3, I could tell she really needed more contact with other kids her age, and most of those started disappearing from the playground, because they all went to preschool. So I enrolled her in preschool 9-1 while I worked and it was a great decision for me. 

I had an Etsy shop when I was home with my child for the first year. It’s flexible and depending on how much effort you want to put into promoting your shop (I did a lot on Instagram), you can do pretty well, though I’m not sure $20/hr well—depends on the craft I suppose! My kiddo is 3.5 now and I’m not actively running my shop but still have old customers that will request custom orders, so it’s an option to consider!

Hi, I recently signed up for an account on TheMomProject.com. Its a job site that connects Moms to companies that understand work/life balance and are flexible with hours. Some of the jobs are remote and some are temporary while others are more of your standard office job. I haven't actually pursued any of the jobs they send me because I'm pretty happy in my current situation but a lot of the opportunities seem really cool. I basically sent them my resume and answered their questions online and they email me about jobs whenever I get matched. High paying jobs too!

Good luck!

Danielle

This is a complicated question and the variables such as your partner's emotional/financial support, and your actual interest in reigniting your career, play a big role in the answers. There's a difference between having a part-time job and getting back onto a career track. A 3 year old probably is ready for some sort of preschool, maybe mornings a few days a week, which gives you some time for your own pursuits. With a master's in social work, you would be in demand in your field and presumably if you wanted to do weekend work (like counseling or group home support) you'd get it. But is that what you want? Remember in about 2 years, your daughter goes to school. Then what? (For your life) I know lots of SAHMs who have started substitute teaching, then gotten their credential, then gotten a job at their child's school to share a schedule. For myself, I quit working totally after baby #2, didn't work for pay at all for 4 years, did very part time consulting in the same field for three years, then got a fulltime job that ultimately has been a fantastic fit and opened up a lot of opportunities. BUT, my partner became the SAH parent when I went full time. Don't let yourself start working part time, and still be expected to do all the housework AND the bulk of the hands-on parenting. Talk to your partner about his/her expectations and if they mesh with yours. Maybe it's ok to forgo more income for another year or two.