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Loving the Mommy Thing? Here's How to Make a Career of It

Photograph by Twenty20

I got off to a bad start with the whole mommy thing. I was plagued by postpartum anxiety and low milk supply, not to mention an endless slew of questions that I never had time to research. Should I be belly binding? How can I prepare my body for baby No. 2? And how about my bank account?

Fortunately, I was surrounded by other women who guided me along the way: lactation consultants, a Chinese lactation masseuse, my son’s teachers—and even my insurance agent, who not only helped guide me through many of these daunting moments but sincerely enjoys working with moms in all stages. Many of these women actually turned out to have other careers before becoming mothers themselves, but found the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment that they could get from their current jobs far outweighed any benefits they might get from working a 9-5 job.

So, are you that mom who always loves to help other moms? And are you looking for a new, flexible job that allows you to spend more time with your family while also working on causes you care about? Then these jobs might be for you.

Lactation Consultant

If you don’t already know (in which case, lucky you—that means you probably didn’t struggle), lactation consultants help moms assess how well their breastfeeding is going: from giving general advice about nutrition, care and rest, to teaching moms about proper positioning, and weighing infants before and after feeding to see how much milk they are actually getting. Lactation consultants can work both on a freelance and part-time basis, with the latter earning them upwards of $70,000 per year.

Becoming a lactation consultant requires about a year’s worth of training, including a certificate that can be obtained online, as well as practical experience which you can get through paid or unpaid volunteer work. To find out more, visit IBLCE.

Doula

The demand for doulas has risen sharply over the years as more and more women turn to these pregnancy and birthing coaches to provide them with emotional, physical and educational support, and to help them achieve a safe and empowering birth experience. (They generally do not, however, deliver babies, which is the task of a doctor or midwife.) Full-time doulas can earn incomes of $60,000 or more per year or anywhere from $800-$2,000 per birth and $25-$50 per hour, depending on the region they work in.

Full-time doulas can earn incomes of $60,000 or more per year or anywhere from $800-$2,000 per birth.

The path to becoming a doula is similar to that of a lactation consultant, requiring a mix of classes and practical experience, which can be completed in less than a year. For more information, you can visit the DONA website and connect with a local doula trainer in your area.

Childcare Worker

Working as a childcare worker or teacher has many benefits, including a certain level of flexibility to work around being a parent and being close to your children while they are in school. Salary ranges vary greatly depending on both your type of school and location, with the average salary of a kindergarten teacher being around $54,000 as of 2015.

Teacher requirements vary by state and age level taught, but most require either a degree or a certificate on top of an existing degree, teaching experience and a background check, which is part of the licensing process. To learn more, check with your state’s department of education or simply ask your child’s teacher.

Insurance Agent

New parents inevitably have a lot of questions about life insurance, health insurance and finance, and often find the answers with a sympathetic mother and insurance agent who can help them think through their needs. Insurance agents tend to have fairly flexible schedules and can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $130,000 per year, depending on their areas of expertise and time spent working.

Like teachers, insurance agents are regulated by the state and you’ll have to complete a course, which can be done in a few weeks, and pass an exam and a background check before you can practice. Another way to get started is to find an insurance company to work for, which will guide you through the process of becoming an agent.

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