Work Life Balance

Holding Down A Career And Being a Mom? Where Are The Flexible Jobs?

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Working from home and trying to raise two girls ages three and two is something of a challenge. But I also don’t kid myself, either. I’m incredibly fortunate to spend the time that I do with my daughters. More than a few career-minded mothers have asked me how I managed to work it out so that I can work from home — and I regularly speak to aspiring young journalists on how to balance family and a career.

The truth is, I’m afraid, not that exciting. There is no silver bullet for finding a flexible career. My husband and I both agreed it was important to be there for the early development of our kids, and at the time I got pregnant I was working a part-time job in addition to my full-time job as a reporter. When my oldest daughter came along, I was lucky to be in a position where I could walk away from full-time employment and still have a part-time job. Since then, I’ve been able to build on my part-time job with additional work. Make no mistake, I’m working harder than ever — but I am fortunate enough to do it on my own terms.

I know that compared to the situation of other mothers, I’m blessed. Some moms really struggle to find flexible jobs and would rather be spending more time with their kids. That’s why I really appreciated this Wall Street Journal item discussing services that specialize in helping moms find flexible jobs:

A common route back to work is through staffing agencies that specialize in flexible jobs. For example, 10 to 2, based in Aurora, Colo., puts part-time professionals on its payroll and places them in jobs requiring 30 hours a week or less, typically in finance, marketing, project management and sales, says founder Jill Ater. Most are six-month placements, but a majority wind up getting permanent jobs with the same companies, she says.

Atlanta-based Mom Corps places professionals in 12 states in part time and contract jobs and work-at-home gigs, says CEO Allison O’Kelly. Flexible Executives, also based in Atlanta, places professionals in executive-level part-time and contract work in 43 states; workers are independent contractors and pay is set either by the hour or by the project, says co-founder Jamie Pennington. Another firm, Flexible Resources, Stamford, Conn., has been placing people in flexible jobs, mostly on the East Coast, for more than 20 years. Boston-based Aquent also places marketing and design professionals in freelance and contract positions. In addition, some websites post flexible part-time or contract openings, such as FlexJobs. (More staffing agencies and firms catering to workers seeking flexible schedules can be found in this recent Washington Post article.)

I honestly had no idea that there were employment agencies catering to moms. That would have been useful to know — and may yet prove helpful. Let us know if you have any other advice or ideas about where to find the ideal job in the comments.