I have been writing a book for working mothers. With just a few chapters left, I'm excited that it’s close to completion. For the past five months, the book has been my hobby — I work on it after business hours at night and on the weekends.
How does this commitment affect my parenting, in time and outlook? I have had less “self-time” but am okay with that. I have no idea who is in the running on Dancing with the Stars or what is the new drama on The Real Housewives.
Time goes by so fast. I try to make moments count with my daughters. After I pick them up from school, I take them to the park or library. I know this is precious time with them. When they are in kindergarten, I will miss these moments — when Kaitlyn was thrilled to see her best friend, when I was afraid of Emma’s fearlessness on the playground.
I will be proud when I can hold a finished copy of the book in my hands. This has been perhaps my biggest undertaking to date. Self-employment was a big leap as well — but that was more than 10 years ago. Here are two things I learned in those 10 years about handling the leap, knowledge that might help working mothers:
When business is slow, work harder. Do more networking. I seriously believe that in order to be hired today, you need to have a connection, someone who can recommend you and vouch for your talent. LinkedIn is an effective method of finding new assignments via established contacts.
Have faith you will turn a corner. Eventually it turns around. One quarter may be slow, and the next you may have more work than you can handle.
I see my book as one account of what career Moms are facing today. Many Moms have been open with me about their challenges and struggles, and experts have offered timely solutions. Fortunately I have not had a shortage of sources.
It is my hope when my daughters read the book later in their lives, it will give them a clear sense of what it was like to live in this time. Working mothers are often faced with tough decisions, but we do what is best for our kids. We face challenges — unemployment or client losses, for example — and rise above them.
Here are a few ways you can rise above these challenging times
Cut expenses. How can you trim your family’s budget? You may have to postpone a vacation, sell your car, hold off on dinners out. Sit down with your spouse or partner and determine how you can get back on track financially.
Explore another career path. If your industry is not hiring, consider breaking into another area entirely. There are plentiful opportunities in social media today. If you are a creative type, do research to determine new work opportunities in this area.
Don’t rule out work overseas. It’s a global economy–there may be work available from companies outside the U.S. that you can handle remotely from a computer.
Erin Flynn Jay is a Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two toddler girls. Check out her blog, Mastering the Mommy Track.