As you know, I’m big on gratitude. If you don’t express what you are thankful for — in your own private moments, to those you care about, it is very hard to be happy.
One of the things that that routinely express gratitude for is my career. When I put the kids to bed and we take turns sharing a few things for which we are grateful, I often include: “I’m grateful I have a job that lets me earn enough money to take care of us and also spend a lot of time with you.”
This week I’ve partnered with my friends at FlexJobs, the job board that vets telecommute, part-time and flexible schedule jobs. The site was founded and headed by Sara Sutton Fell, who wanted to create a career that allowed her to spend time with growing families and help other working parents do the same.
Throughout this week WealthySingleMommy will feature posts from Sara about how to land a professional, flexible job, and insider tips into finding the best jobs with these benefits.
I have been a work-at-home freelance writer and media professional for the past 12 years. I always loved the flexibility the schedule afforded me, and since becoming a mom six years ago, I have felt so grateful that I have control over my time, location, clientbase and general professional happiness. I want this for you, too. So tune in all week for more tips.
But here are the highlights about why this is such a great arrangement:
- When the school calls to tell me my kid is sick, I rarely panic. Instead, I pick them up, drive them home, tuck them into bed with the various remedies, videos, and books. While the recuperate or nap, I can usually work nearby.
- A bazillion snow days last year did not ruin my life.
- The countless half-days of school (really, can’t the schools be open for a full week already!?) don’t require Olympic feats of schedule re-arranging.
- When my mom came to visit last month I skipped out of work in the middle of the morning to pick her up at the airport.
- When my mom came to visit I kept Lucas home from school that day and join me at La Guardia Airport (super-exciting for a 4-year-old!) and then spend the day with his grandma.
- I can throw the requisite piñata birthday party at the daycare at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday.
- Every day I enjoy making myself a chopped salad lunch in my own kitchen.
- I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes or time shopping for clothes because I don’t need them. The cat could give a crap what I wear to work.
- I can run to the post office in the middle of the morning when there are no lines.
- I exercise almost every day during business hours.
- I use business hours to get my hair cut.
- I use business hours to go to the gyno.
- I use business hours to shop for the kids’ birthday gifts and hide them throughout the house.
- I can meet a friend for breakfast and didn’t have to lie to the boss about my car not starting.
- I drop off my kids at school most days.
- I pick up my kids from school most days.
- I’m room mother for my daughter’s class and chaperon them on school field trips once or twice per year.
- Because I’m home all the time I’m friendly with the mailman. And FedEx guy, my super, the servers in the cafe downstairs from my apartment and my elderly neighbors — all of which makes my neighborhood feel like home.
- I sign for my neighbor’s UPS delivery which makes me happy.
- When I have a hankering for pasta e fagioli soup in the middle of the morning I start simmering the beans right then and there so it was ready for that evening’s supper.
- Because I’m self-employed I have total flexibility to try out new things in my business like building out my radio show and list-building promotions. I have total freedom and the resulting fun. Also:
- Last year I spent a bunch of money on a redesign, marketing course and new headshots. And I don’t have to validate those decisions to anyone.
- This month I signed a few new clients and can afford to set really, really high income goals because I don’t have a boss to tell me what my salary is limited to.
- Helped out a half-dozen professional contacts in varying capacities because that is what I like to do and that is how you grow a business (but is harder to do when your time is committed to an employer).
- Every week I spend business hours investing unbillable hours in my business: receiving media training, hosting a radio show, blogging, joining networking meetings — all things that, again, can be tough to justify to a boss but are critical to professional success.
- Do what I want to do at work to do every day.
- Make pediatrician and dentist appointments for my kids and didn’t worry about taking off work.
- Felt my heart break when a mom told me she “doesn’t really know what is going on” in her daughter’s life because she and her husband get home from work at 6, and even that doesn’t leave much time for casual chatting.
- Wore comfortable (or no) shoes nearly every day.
- Feel proud that I set a positive example about work and business and life for my children.
When I urge moms to keep a foot in the professional world, I often get a lot of pushback. I hear that it’s impossible to maintain a career in less than 50 hours per week, or that childcare is prohibitively expensive. I am fortunate that I found a career early on that allows me to do all of the above and also support a family. But nearly every industry is moving towards contract and freelance work, while part-time and telecommute positions are on the rise. There are tons of opportunities out there — and countless ways to make your own opportunities.
I’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments ways you’ve found to earn a good living while spending lots of time with your family and other meaningful activities? Do you want to go back to work but can’t find a job with enough flexibility? Or do you work too much and want to be home more? There is a solution! Let’s brainstorm and figure this out!!!