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If you're placing a priority on finding a flexible job to balance work with your role as mom, you're not alone. When it comes to work and career life, an overwhelming 97 percent of parents responding to a 2012 FlexJobs.com survey felt that job flexibility would improve their role as parents. Flexibility could affect time, location and total hours worked, and each of these might provide enough of a career tweak to create the much-envied work-life balance that so many parents value today.
"As with anything else, supply and demand plays a role in job hunting," says placement professional Carolyn Malvern of Toronto. "Demand for nurses is high, all over North America, so flexible opportunities are available to attract top candidates." As Sarah Brooks points out, writing for SheKnows.com, there are a number of levels in a nursing career, from certified assistant to nurse practitioner, as well as many environments, such as doctor's offices, hospitals, nursing homes and in-home work. Medical jobs aren't limited to nurses. Lab technicians, from blood to ultrasound, are in demand, as are medical records technicians and transcriptionists.
Women in real estate may have found a career to mesh with their husband's work schedule, since much of the job is done by appointment during evenings and weekends, says Brooks. Home appraisers have similarly flexible schedules, and both jobs could offer pay and benefits that compare with more conventional employment. "Real estate offers many of the perks of business ownership, but without the risk and cost of starting your own company," says Malvern. "A great feature of working with a real estate office is that you have a motivated support group of agents ready to help with clients when emergency home demands arise."
"Part-time retail sales may have a place for many moms looking for extra cash, but the hours may not be as flexible as you'd like," says Malvern. "However, sales professionals can often work around their children's school hours and turn short blocks of time into career-sized earnings. If you're producing results, your boss may not care if landing an account takes 10 minutes or 10 hours. Flexibility is one reason I chose to remain in recruitment after having kids," she adds. Not all sales jobs give you the flexibility you need, but businesses such as insurance and financial products, based around client appointments, might be just the ticket.
Career and money editor Caroline Wilbert writes in DivineCaroline.com that her mom matched career to her children's time in school by being a teacher. "In this age of distance education, opportunities for flexible teaching jobs are enormous," says Malvern. "Substitute and part-time teaching still take place in the classroom, though the unpredictability of subbing may not be a good match for the mother of preschoolers. Online teaching is a growing field that is managed in a number of ways, such as through online discussions or assignment submissions that can be assessed and marked at your leisure. Tutoring, [whether] at home, online or for an employer in her office, can be another way to work flexibly in the education field."