Growing up, and all through school, I always wanted to be a career woman. I wanted to wear a suit to work, and attend board meetings, submit reports, and work my way up. One time, I did a summer job at an N.G.O. in Lagos, and thoroughly enjoyed the routine of the career ladies I met and worked with…I aspired to be like that. I wanted that for myself, but marriage came earlier than I dreamed…in fact, I never dreamt I would be married by now. Unlike most girls my age, I wanted to get married at 27/28 for a few selfish reasons of mine, but I met my husband and he was eager to snatch me off the market.So I got married while I was still studying towards a degree and had my child in final year. So the minute I graduated, life goals changed. I couldn’t imagine working 9 – 5pm, and leaving my young girl in the care of a stranger. At the time, that Ugandan maid story was viral, and it put the fear of God in me. Writing for me has always been a passion…it’s something I enjoy and would always do, but at the time I didn’t think it was a career.
One day, I got a call from someone I knew from school and he wanted me to write a story for the new magazine he was working on. I did, got paid, and then realized that writing could actually bring me paychecks. For a major percentage of mothers, working is a given…whether as a way to boost the family’s finances, for personal development, or to keep busy. However, the most beautiful aspect of motherhood is how your goals change by the presence of one little individual that pulls your heartstrings. All of a sudden, dreams of being a career woman and flying around for trainings and conferences, getting dressed up every morning, and meeting fabulous people everyday, get sacrificed on the altar of motherhood…and you don’t even take a backward glance. They say the corporate world doesn’t favor moms, and that is true in a way, but I believe there are ways of working around the situation. Below are some top career choices for working moms:
Pardon my sentiments, but I was raised by a teacher…so this just has to be the starter! My mother started out as banker, but by the time her third child was due for school, she had gotten tired of missing out on our childhood milestones and development. I vaguely remember running more to our househelp than to Mummy when I bruised my knee, and there were times that Mummy would ask us to do something, pick something up, or drop something, and we would look to Aunty Nneka for approval first. Mom and dad decided that it wasn’t the best of arrangements, so she went back to school, got another degree in Education and started to teach. Teachers have time for their families, because they resume work when the kids resume school, and close almost at the same time, so they have enough time to help the kids with their home work, supervise their eating, and watch the habits they pick up, as well as what they watch on TV. They also build fond memories together…for example, I remember marking scripts and writing lesson notes for my mother, when I was older, and watching her talk so highly of her best students.
Well, you need a degree for this career path as well, but the good news is there are different types of nurses; from the Registered Nurses who study at Nursing school, to the Nurse Practitioners who study Nursing at degree level. Nurses get to work mostly in a hospital, providing home services, in a pharmacy, or as an assistant in a doctor’s office. The most beautiful part of nursing is being able to work in shifts…the flexibility that the job accords is amazing, which is why a good number of nurses have businesses on the side, or combine two practices such as working in a hospital, and also providing home services. As a nurse, you get to put your maternal instincts to work, earn money to support your family, as well as know what’s going on with your babies. Add that to the fact that you know what to do when the toddlers get themselves injured, or have high fever…now, you know you are a winner!
This is also another career path that is great for women who don’t want their kids in daycare, because real estate agents and property evaluators set their own work schedule, and still get competitive salaries and commissions. Real estate agents typical help get buyers for property, while property evaluators determine the value of a property by evaluating the property itself and comparing it to other similar property. Even if you go to work everyday, you can be sure to close earlier than 5pm, so you can get your kids from school, find out how their day went and help with homework and leisure.
Quick question, will beauty ever go out of demand? I strongly doubt that…so by implication, hairdressers, stylists, make up artists and nail technicians will always be in business! With the advent of Social Media, beauticians, especially make up artists and stylists, can work from home, go into the field when there is a job, and advertise online. They can also work out of a salon…and take time off when needed, working as long as they want and maybe getting an assistant to reduce the work load. My hair stylist has developed a system for herself that works. There is a section of her salon that is homey and strictly for her son, so she takes a break and goes to get him from school, and he stays in his cozy zone watching cartoons, sleeping, or working on his homework, while she continues work but with regular peeks in his direction. There are times when you see them chatting about his day at school, while she is fixing someone’s hair and he is filling the gaps in his assignment booklet. Moments like that are priceless.
- Online jobs
Our very own Linda Ikeji has brought nationwide attention to the lucrative opportunities on the web. She works from home but rakes in millions monthly; a lot of sisters are now looking in that direction. Blogging, online marketing, surveys, online writing are just a few of the opportunities that make it possible for mothers to work from the couch, and still have enough time to fix dinner every night and also catch their favorite series! You only need to know exactly how to make the internet work for you, if you are interested in working online, learn the necessary skills, and get started. The downside is you get to work at night, and on weekends too, but you also don’t have to deal with rush-hour traffic and you work from the comfort of your home.
- Interior Designing/Event Planning/Photography
Do you have a passion for getting things done and putting things in order? You could make money from this. Interior designing, photography and event planning are big businesses today, and just right for a working mom. I remember watching TV many years ago as a woman was been interviewed. She is a professional closet organizer. In this Nigeria! I was flabbergasted to know people employed others to help arrange their closets, but when I saw pictures of her job, I was in awe. The organization was impeccable! Right now, if I find her, I will definitely contract her! And guess what? I remember during that interview, she talked about starting and completing her bungalow two years after she started. I also know of a woman who is strictly into Pregnancy, Maternity & Childhood photography, and makes more money than a new generation banker. These women work long hours when there is demand, but they have ample time for their families and do not miss out of the foundational years of their children.
- Business Owner
I think this is most considered in today’s world, but I put it at the bottom of the list so we can know that there are more options. Do you have a passion for cooking, trading, baking, jewelry making or sewing? Your talent can turn into pure gold and you can set up your business from the comfort of your home. All you need is to gather more skills, carve your own niche, and get the word out there through advertising, referrals or a personal website. You don’t need to rent a workspace immediately, spend that money getting trained, building a website and social media accounts, so you can display your merchandise, and also on advertising. Now, you not only get to be your own boss, you channel your talent and your family benefits from the flexible schedule and finances.
There are other career choices that working moms could consider, but these are the top seven. If you are fortunate to have someone trustworthy to watch your kids, or you can’t afford to leave your 9-5 because the family needs the finances, you can still make things work by planning family time. In the end, it is quality over quantity and you can make up on the weekends for the time lost during the weekdays. If you can afford to let go of the 9-5 and take up something more flexible, we can assure you that the rewards are worth it.
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