ACAS* describes part time work as “when a worker is contracted for anything less than the basic full-time hours. There is no set number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, part-time working can be a good way of balancing work and personal commitments”.
I am lucky to have a supportive husband and two wonderful children and as such I didn’t want to go back to work full-time after starting my family. I still wanted to work as I needed an identity of my own rather than just being someone’s mummy, and I needed the extra stimulation that a fulfilling job brings. My employer at the time was happy for me to go back into the work-place in a slightly different role on a part-time basis, which was in-keeping with their family-friendly policies.
I loved working part-time as I no longer had the same responsibilities at work that I’d had previously, and as my responsibilities at home had changed drastically, this suited me perfectly. My old role would never have allowed me to take the time off I needed to care for my children, whilst juggling childcare with both mine and my husband’s working hours. Whilst I appreciate that some mums manage to hold down high flying careers – the extra stress wasn’t something I wanted! I still felt that even though I was working less hours I was still contributing to the family finances and maintaining some sort of career. Having worked since I was a teenager this was very important to me.
Working part-time isn’t a complete bed of roses though, as it can be difficult to find something genuinely interesting and stimulating. In some roles, part-time workers find their part-time work constantly requires attention on days when they are ‘not working’, and they can end up feeling that they are always working!
Alternatively you could make the big decision and become self-employed. Whilst I loved my part-time ‘employed’ role, it was still not giving me the time and flexibility I wanted and needed as my son started primary school. I made the big decision to work for myself!
There are so many opportunities for ‘working from home’ and I haven’t regretted making the decision for a moment. My biggest concern was missing the social interaction and ‘adult conversation’ I had at work– I shouldn’t have worried! I have met so many lovely people in my business and have made some amazing friends – quite unexpected. I now dictate my hours around the children and I am able to drop them off and pick up. My son is at school and my daughter goes to nursery two days a week which allows me specific times to work from home, however I am around enough to see them both grow up! My earning potential is at a higher hourly rate and I generally work fewer hours. None of this would have been possible working full-time. For the first time ever I took 5 weeks off over Christmas and New Year to spend with my family, and I now take some time off during each school holiday which eases the burden of childcare, because I am in a position that I can!
I know I am blessed to be in such a position; however there are so many options available now for part-time working. Why not give it some thought – I am so glad that I did!
* ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations.