Part Time Jobs for Mom: Your Guide To Career Planning

Working mothers have never had it easy, unless they're wealthy actresses with a slew full of nannies. Women are expected to meet corporate America's demands and be the main caregiver their children's lives. Not only that, some may be caring for elderly parents. That may be why more women are giving a thumbs down to 40 hours a week and looking for "part time jobs for mom," according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, as reported on

The survey said that when working moms were asked about their "ideal" work situation, a slim 21% cited 40 hour a week jobs, this was down from 32% in 1997. In contrast, 60% of 2007's respondents said "part-time jobs for mom" were "ideal," up from 48% ten years earlier.  Interestingly, 19% of working moms in this year's survey preferred not to work outside the home at all. Of course, working part time may not be a financial option for moms. What is the solution?

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An Alternative to Part Time Jobs for New Moms

One solution may have come from the international professional services firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.  They launched their "Full Circle" program this year. It's designed for PWC professionals who leave their job for up to five years to care for children or parents. During this time, participants receive annual training to keep their job skills up to date. They also have a PWC coach who keeps in touch with them while they're gone and, later, helps them transition back to the firm.

Make The Most Of Your Career Counseling

Another company, Deloitte & Touche USA, is starting a similar new program called Mass Career Customization. According to the company, this program is "designed to encourage more robust and transparent career conversations."  Basically it provides a framework for all 40,000 employees to discuss their career goals with supervisors in four areas: pace of career progression; workload; location and schedule of work; and work role (position or job responsibilities).

The Importance of Planning a Career Development Process

Of course, not everyone works at a company that has these special programs, so what can working moms do? How do you get work-life balance from your company? Stephanie Penner of Mercer, a human resource consulting firm, gives these helpful tips on

    •Ask about work-life balance offerings. Since you may not realize that your employer is expanding its use of these programs, starting the dialogue could lead to a helpful arrangement for you.

    •If you are given some flexibility with your working arrangements, don’t take advantage of the opportunity. By living up to your end of the bargain and remaining productive, you help underscore the value of maintaining that program.

    •Seek out career development mentors. But if your company lacks a formal career development program, look for a mentor on your own. Possibilities include: someone previously in your position, or a longtime employee of the organization.

    •Explore training programs offered internally and inquire about what outside courses the company would be willing to pay for. One of the best times to raise such work-life and career development issues is during the job interview.

Could you afford to take five years off work? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee


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