The same question keeps coming up. I have young kids, I want to spend time with them but I want to work but it costs so much to have them in childcare and I feel like I am missing out. What should I do?
The question of should you spend time with your kids while they are young is only one you can answer, but the question of what should I do with regards to my working future is one I can provide some advice on.
From a career perspective it is always going to be better if you continue to spend time in the workforce but I know myself that that is no always easy and is not the right choice for everyone.
The great news is that employers are really starting to recognise that parents gain skills managing kids. That parents can multitask, organise and come with a focus to get things done.
There are also some great things you can do if you do decide to spend time with your kids and take a period of time out of the workforce.
Take the time to assess what it is that you really want. Do you want to continue on the same career path you did before or is this the opportunity to transfer those skills to your dream job?
Taking up study or training is a great way to either keep those skills sharp or try something completely new. There are usually costs involved in straight out studying but is there another way to get those skills? Maybe you can volunteer at a local group or centre. Do you have friends working in that area your interested in that could point you in the right direction or could you help at an event or conference and get to network for free?
The other great thing about volunteering is that you can get access to council run courses for free. Things like events management, food technology or volunteer management. You may also be able to keep your skills up to date.
Working part-time is a great option and many employers are starting to realise that there are benefits to people working part-time. However it can be difficult to find that perfect part time position as there is huge competition for roles. It is definitely worth the effort though as it can give you the best of both worlds, and help you add to your retirement pot. It can be stressful though as sometimes you are expected to fit in a full time role into part-time hours.
My advice when contemplating this difficult decision is to work out what you really want. Do you want to work full time when your kids go to school? Do you want a career or a job to pay the bills, there is no shame in either? Do you want to stay in the same industry or try something new? (Many organisations are now looking to increase diversity and as such looking to bring new people into their industries, have you considered something non traditional?)
Planning now can really help you in the future.