Making the Decision to Work Part-Time after Having Kids

A friend of mine had her son a few years ago, and she stayed at home to look after him while her husband kept his job to support the family. Now that her son is old enough to go to school, she’s been debating returning to work, because she’s found that her days are a bit emptier now that she spends half the day alone. Working full-time isn’t really an option for her, or for a lot of stay-at-home parents. Working part-time is often a great way to maintain their careers and their homes, but there are pros and cons to it just like anything else in life.

One thing to keep in mind when reducing hours at an existing career is that you may lose benefits. Depending on your benefits, you may be losing a substantial chunk of income or missing out on services that could otherwise help you. You may lose out on vacation pay, staff discounts, or even suffer a significantly lower salary as a result.

You also have to remember that working part-time does not allow for the same career progression as working full-time would. You may have to accept a job that isn’t quite what you wanted, or you may have to learn how to process the feelings you get when you see your friends advancing in heir careers while you take a bit more time to do the same. You’ll have to decide between keeping your career afloat or finding something that’s less related to your field than you’d like, and you’ll have to evaluate your choice based on a number of decisions—not just pay, but also benefits, ultimate career goals, and so on.

It’s not impossible to work full-time and maintain your family life, but for lots of stay-at-home parents, the juggling act can be emotionally and physically draining. But if staying an home isn’t an option for you anymore, whether it’s because of financial reasons or for your own mental health, part-time work can be one of the bet decisions you ever make. It’s easier to resume a career after working part-time than it is to resume a career after years of not working. Just make sure you put a lot of thought into your decisions before you make any, and remember that working part-time doesn’t make you any less of a parent, and you’re allowed to want to do more outside the house.

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