What's a Good Career for an Educated, Experienced Mom Whose Priority Is Family?

Updated on January 21, 2010
M.P. asks from Peoria, IL
12 answers

Hello Ladies,

I'm a SAHM of two great little guys, ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2. In the next couple of years, I would like to go back to work. The thing is since I now have two kids, they are my priority. My question is, what do you do for work? Is it flexible for a family life and still fulfilling? Do you like it and why?

I did inside sales and inside sales management for ten years but I don't want to go back to that. I need ideas...I love working with people, am very outgoing, a little competitive (in a good way) and I like to help people. I don't want to take a job that's just a "job" but I also want to be home around 3 or 4 for when my boys come home from school (even if that means doing some work from home). Am I asking too much or is there really something out there like that??? I would love to hear all of your input!

PS -- I am thinking about it now so that I can prepare and get proper training now.

Thanks for your input in advance!

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answers from Chicago on

The fields of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy might interest you if are outgoing, like to work with people and wish to work school hours. PT's require a doctorate and OT a Masters- but, both fields have associate positions, called "Physical Therapist Assistant" or "Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant" who have so many opportunities and only require a 2-year AA degree from a PTA or COTA program.

PTA's and COTA's can work in schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, or even in home-health pediatrics for the State, called Early Intervention. Associates work under the supervision of a PT or OT, but there is a great deal of autonomy and flexibility. Pay is about $23-$25 an hour in Illinois for an associate and about $33-35 an hour for a PT or OT (more if working directly for the State.)

You can google programs in Illinois if you are interested. Several community colleges have PTA and COTA programs- which last 2 full years plus a period of unpaid internship called a "clinical".

Because PT, OT, PTA and COTA are in such demand, you can set your own hours with a company, say "I am available to work M-Th from 9:00 am until 2:30 pm" and I bet you'll find a great job, especially if like working with kids and families, since there are NEVER enough therapists to go around in the pediatric field! Plus, many facilities have weekend hours, so you can score a full 8-10 hour shift while your partner is home with the kids on the weekend.

Good luck and HAVE FUN on your career search! Let me know if you have any questions, happy to help!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If you have a Bachelor's degree, Texas offers an Alternative Certification program for Teaching. Not sure what kind of money you are wanting to make, but there are a few local districts that start new teachers around $45,000 a year. You would have the flexibility too, of choosing which school your little ones would attend when they are ready for Kindergarten. Just a thought! Good luck in your search!



answers from Chicago on

I am a certified teacher, current sahm. I became a teacher because I knew it would be best when I had school aged kids. Same days off.



answers from Medford on

I've done online marketing for years, starting with an office job, and for the last couple of years I have contracted with a paid search vendor and work as an account manager from home. This is a real career, not one of those things you see advertised in spam to make "$XX" working from home with Google or eBay etc.

Check out this link for an introduction:

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

M. P,

I am in the same boat as you. Right now I am considering going back to school, this time for nursing. EVERYTHING I read says that it has HUGE growth projections due to all the aging baby boomers.

If you already have your degree, you can apparently supplement your existing degree with a 4 yr RN within about 18 mos. Then you can work in a hospital, drs office or private care. Also, if you work as a PCT, nursing assistant/patient care technician in the meantime (while you get your degree in nursing), you get a taste of hospital life, what areas of nursing you really like (peds, geriatric, women and children, etc.) AND you may qualify for tuition reimbursement from the hospital.

Obviously medical professionals are needed 24/7 - so there are all kinds of hours and days available. Just remember, it may likely include weekends and some holidays if you are 'low man' on the totem pole. But if that's an issue for you, you can work in a drs office which is more 9-5ish.

Just remember there's a lot of grants, and tuition reimbursement out there for people going back to school.

Just an idea. I hope it helps!



answers from Chicago on

Hi there!

I left the teaching field after I adopted my second child as I wanted to be home with them. For almost 9 years now, I have been working from home with Usborne Books and absolutely love it. This company allows me the flexibility to work around my family's schedule and put my family first. It is a wonderful way to add an additional income to our family budget and fill my home with quality fun and educational books my kids love! If you are interested in learning more, email me at ____@____.com I would love to share more information about Usborne Books and More!

Best wishes as you search for a perfect fit for your family,



answers from Chicago on

I am a teacher, and the hours are great! I also agree with the PP....I think most women have family as a priority.



answers from Chicago on

Hi M. P,

I live in Aurora - I am a Mom too. I work from the comfort of my own home alongside my family. I have twin girls and have enjoyed being available for them.

A year ago Feb I found a great opportunity and I havent looked back. I considered franchises,and starting my own business, however, funds were an issue.

I searched the Internet and must say was fortunate that I never sent money or believed any photos of Ferrari's or ocean front property. I was very cautious.

Long story short, I responded to an Ad on craigs list where a SAHM claimed to earn six figures from home. Immediately, I thought - yeah right- but she was local (630) area code. I called her ~ what did I have to loose. Nothing.

I called, got the details and I haven't looked back in almost 1 year.
It's my challenge everyday not to mention helping others.

With your backgroundin sales and management skills, plus your competative spirit( I am too )you would be fabulous at what I do.

The simplicity and flexibility of this company is amazing.

If you find you'd like more information from me, please call me
at ###-###-#### anytime. I'll share the details with you so you can decide if it's a good fit for you and your family. I encourage everyone to get the facts, before saying "no".

Or we can meet in person someplace convenient for both of us.

I look forward to hearing from you.



answers from Chicago on

check out www.il-ipra.org. It's the website for IL park districts. They list the salary and requirements etc... Over the past few years I have seen some interesting positions with great pay on there. It may be political though. Which maybe you could start pt and work your way into it and also back into working. If your looking for great benefits, good pay, a fun job this might be something to look into. My friend is in this field and gets 17% of her salary put into a pension!



answers from Chicago on

When you're thinking about changing careers, consider what you are interested in aiming for and how your background can help you to create a job in that field. Sales is a great talent to bring to almost any other field. For example, if you are interested in education but don't want to be a teacher, maybe there are educational supply companies where you could present information to schools or school districts or tutoring companies (just randomly making that up as an example.)

One thing I found helpful the last time I made a big career change was to copy job postings that sounded like something I'd like to do eventually. I kept a file of these, and the requirements and education they asked for. I also did a couple of informational interviews over the phone to find out more about the field I was interested in. The job I ended up taking was sort of halfway between what I had been doing before and the direction I wanted to go. Good luck.

p.s. just a gentle reminder that most parents prioritize our family, no matter what our financial or job situation might be at the moment. :-)


answers from St. Louis on

Teaching is a great job if you want to be home with your kids before/after school *and maybe during if you teach at their school*. You get the same holidays, snow days and summers off. I'm not sure how demanding the teaching field is where you live, but it took me a year and a half and I never found a job...I ended up taking a job in Software Development which I love, but I know I'd still love to teach!

Not sure about the requirements but if you didn't want to get a Bachelor's in Education (or whatever it requires), I would look into substituting. It's a simliar benefit but you can also choose which days you work and if you get good and well known, you could pretty much work every day!! I worked a maternity leave position and that was great because I was there every day for two months!!

Another job that would seem to be flexible like you want is a real estate agent. But in this market, not sure that is the route I'd choose?

Waitressing is another option - you could only work a day shift, but the money is not always good (depends on where you work).

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I own my own business. I started it when my son was four so I could focus on him but still have a career and satisfying work life. I love what I do, the hours are exactly what I want them to be, with the flexibility to be off when he is sick or even for a family vacation. There are virtually no weekend or evening hours. The only requirement I have is experience with young children and the ability to speak (not necessarily fluent) Spanish or Mandarin. Let me know if this sounds like something that might interest you!

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