September 10, 2009
Juggling Motherhood and the Full-Time Job of Finding Work
The recent holiday weekend was a good milestone to assess how far I've come in my job search as well as bringing me to a turning, semi-crisis point. My young sons’ caregiver is returning to university in her country now that her year as an au pair is done here. Having paid all of her fees last year while I was still employed, it made sense to keep her engaged for her manageable weekly pay until the end of the summer. So I've had to make a number of choices and arrangements to manage child care and my full-fledged job search going forward. Nonetheless, I am rather stressed and conflicted despite the logic I applied to the choices.
I've decided to take a bit of a hiatus in my job search for just 2 weeks until my mother, bless her, is able to pitch in with child care for 4 weeks. So for the next 10 business days, my job search work will be conducted only during the hours the boys sleep, as I'll be their daytime caregiver. Within those 10 days, I have one all-day teaching gig, so I planned ahead and have spliced together 2 friends for kiddie coverage.
A few other retired teacher friends are willing to pitch in some hours here and there should I get an interview scheduled, which is likely given several screenings from before the long weekend. Even for a scheduled phone interview, I'll need peace and quiet and someone to watch the boys. I've put some friends on notice and hope to be able to give them ample time, but I don't want to wait to schedule an interview. I need to be viewed as an employee who is not burdened with single-parent concerns as it may unwittingly put a slight prejudice against my candidacy for a position, so I need keep my child-care concerns out of a potential employer’s view. I want to be the best possible candidate without the small "but" coming up during key stakeholder conversations for a job offer.
While I have the essential job search obligations covered while I’m caring for Owen and Evan, I am distressed at the number of networking events I will need to pass on. For example, my local project management chapter is having its kick-off for the year this week, and it is a fabulously well-attended networking event with up to 200 folks and a great deal of interest from local employers. I'm also missing out on the Marketing & Martini Mixer featuring Speed Networking from the greater metro area marketing group. That is a really cool one, but it has an undefined ROI for me as well as a two-hour plus drive. On a much smaller scale, I’ll be missing out on two local job-hunting groups that offer seminars and tips. It seems everyone kicks off events, right after Labor Day, but I don't feel I can cash in all my friends' good will by also using them for these "nice-to-do" job events.
For 3 out of 4 of these events, I will be able to sound out a few of my fellow job seeker friends and get their reports back. But it is just not the same as being there in person. Fortunately, it is only a two-week gap in my job search, and the night hours are great for online networking and follow-ups. Then with my mother's help full-time, I'll be able to arrange my job searching days as I had with my au pair. To give my mother and myself a small break, I've managed to find a nice young college student with licensed day care center experience. She'll be able to take care of the boys for 10 hours a week at a very reasonable fee but already has another job.
So far, my planning seems like a crazy patchwork quilt, but it is all with people my sons know and trust. Additionally, my mother and friends all understand and fully support my main educational points for my sons in addition to any structured preschool coming down the pike. So it is reassuring to have consistency in that regard as well.
When my mother leaves in 6 weeks, I'll have planned my next steps for kiddie coverage. As they say, one day at a time. And who knows? I might land a decent position with on-site day care that won't bankrupt me or my sons’ college educations.
Do you have any personal dilemmas such as child, elder or other care that impacts your job search? How do you address those challenges?
For more tips on balancing work and family obligations, check out these articles:
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I work a great distance from home in order to afford my much-better-half to be a stay-at-home mom. So while we're opposite, I understand your dilemma. Many events are passed on by me because I have a 2 hr commute to contend with, each day.
Just keep at it and things will work out; do what you can for your career and family, knowing you cannot possible do it all for both.
Posted by: Charlie on the PA Turnpike | Sep 10, 2009 1:19:35 PM
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