This is a guest post by Rachel Kinscher from Visionary.
It doesn’t matter how much you think life will go on after you have a baby, something changes inside you. Your priorities shift. Your need to share and experience your child’s life becomes stronger than any other desire. You are no longer motivated by the same things. This little bundle of joy will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, that will see you crying, laughing, smiling and frowning often all at once. The person you once were is no longer.
At some point after you have a baby, or babies, you will choose, or need, to go back to work. This may be straight away, 4, 6 or 12 months after or even 4 years. And with this return to work you will have mixed emotions, guilt and you may even not feel fulfilled like you once were with your career.
Guess what? You may also have the realisation that you are working in order to pay childcare costs and create someone else’s success.
So what is your motivation to go back to work – financial, career progression, personal development or social interaction?
For me there was no question that I wouldn’t go back to work. My partner and I have our own business and, at the time, we were running events that we had built over 5 years, plus a portfolio of marketing clients, and we were busy. As much as I thought I was prepared for a baby – I wasn’t. After struggling for 18 months, I made radical decisions that affected many, many people. Yet I needed to make these changes in our business for myself and my family.
As hard as the decisions were to make and implement at the time, they have set me on a path that provides me ‘mummy time’ AND an entrepreneurial mindset. I am doing what I want to do and focusing on the things that make me happy.
I encourage every mother and father, to look for a balance between work (whatever form that takes) and family. For the little people in our life will become big people soon enough, and get busy with their own lives. So make the tough decisions to make changes today. You never now where the path will take you.
So what are your options when it comes to ‘returning to work’?
First, you need to decide what is your motivation, and remember this motivation may change, so don’t be afraid to change your path.
For some, the motivation is financial – you can’t afford to live on a single income, or maybe you were earning more than your partner before you had a baby.
Career progression – how hard were you working prior to baby? You don’t want all of that to go to waste.
Or maybe you are wanting the social interaction that comes from returning to work – to talk to adults and keep the brain matter ticking over – not everyone is cut out to be a stay-at-home mum.
Put simply, your 2 options are to go back to working for a wage, for someone else, or to start your own business.
Working for a wage
Recent changes in legislation have, on the surface, made return to employment easier. By law, you can take up to 5 years off work and still return to the same workplace, in the same role, at hours you want to work. So while career progress will slow, you miss out on the income and superannuation contributions, you will re-enter the workforce at the same place you left. Employers are required to allow you time off to look after sick kids (within your sick leave allowance). You can take time to enjoy their achievements, concerts, sports days, birthdays and more, within your annual leave of course. Still look appealing?
With or without kids, self employment has its pros and cons. For me, the pros absolutely outweigh the cons. For all the hard times, I would never give it up and my resolve is even stronger since having a child and wanting the flexibility salaried employment doesn’t offer. I want to work from home, I want to share experiences with my child. I want the financial freedom to enjoy this time in my family’s life.
I honestly do not buy the excuse that child care costs are too high. Most people are eligible for rebates, which can bring the cost down by almost half. For this, my daughter gets an excellent facility that is very well maintained, with great learning and play spaces. She has qualified workers in her room who are not just providing care, but giving her an education. She has socialisation and has developed wonderful friendships. She has delicious and nutritional morning and afternoon teas and lunch. If you don’t see this kind of value with your childcare provider then move your child somewhere else.
While my daughter is at childcare, I can develop my business and earn money, far outweighing the costs of childcare.
Personally, my motivations are financial, personal growth and social interaction (not always in that order). I would not be satisfied in a traditional job or running my business the same way I was prior to having a baby.
What are my options?
So, if you choose to take the path of self-employment, there are so many options: you can consult and contract, which is essentially using your existing skills.
You may choose to take the path of direct sales or multi-level-marketing (MLM) which can be lucrative and flexible around your needs.
Or consider re-skilling and do something completely different – options are endless and may include providing Virtual Administration services or project management roles. If you take a moment to think about your skills and the passions you have, you are bound to find a ‘career’ and build a business that will fulfil you.
A business takes time to grow and develop, majority of businesses will fail in their first year, but as the years slip by, the percentage of failed business decreases and those that succeed increase.
This means that by the time your baby starts school, you could have created an amazing business, that you are passionate about and which will provide you with an income for years to come. A business that has allowed you not to sacrifice celebrating the milestones of your young one’s life. That thought is so much more exciting to me than returning to work ‘for the man’ and stepping sideways in a career.
Having children makes a significant change in your life; it is one of those moments in life that shifts everything and nothing will ever be the same again. Women are lucky – we can capitalise on this change and use it to change other aspects of our life that we’re not happy with.
What changes have you made? Or want to?
Rachel brings 15 years experience to Visionary, spanning a wide range of industries and projects, having worked in Country Victoria, Melbourne and also Scotland. Rachel brings expertise to client projects in the areas of Integrated Marketing and Digital Strategy – including Social Media, branding and communication.