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3 Myths About Part-Time Work for Moms

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Part-time work. Leaving the job every day at 1 p.m. or working Tuesday through Thursday and always getting Mondays and Fridays off. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Many moms believe that meaningful part-time work simply doesn’t exist, that part-time work only pays minimum wage, but they are wrong, really wrong. Let’s debunk some myths about part-time work.

Myth 1: The only job you can get part-time is low level retail work.

While many people work retail jobs, they are generally seen as low paying, requiring little skill. Out of 100 mothers interviewed on the topic, only two worked retail. And one specifically chose it, not for the income, but for the healthcare benefits. Mothers interviewed for this story worked part-time in a large variety of careers: purchasing agents, an artist, lawyers, a food stylist, interior decorators, doctors, teachers, a jeweler, a registered nurse, accountants, bankers, a marketing consultant, human resource managers, a photographer, engineers, database specialists, librarians, high level sales representatives for Fortune 500 corporations. These aren’t low level retail jobs.

Myth 2: Part-time work only gets paid minimum wage.

Of the women interviewed, only one mother made minimum wage and she was the one who selected her job for the healthcare, not the money. Mothers following their past professions used their recent salaries and benefits to determine their part-time wages.

Moms who ran their own businesses, as tutors or accountants, set their hourly fees based on the norms in their geographic areas. One mother mentioned that she made more as a part-time tutor than she did as a full-time school teacher, a lot more.

All of these moms made significantly more than minimum wage.

Myth 3: Part-time work is not meaningful.

Two-thirds of the women interviewed felt part-time employment was better than their full-time jobs. That’s right, two-thirds! Why? Because they are working in their areas of expertise/choice and finding balance. They have the satisfaction and fulfillment of a job well done outside of the home with time left for “doing the mom thing” while managing the home.

So there you have it. Three myths busted. Part-time employment can be much more than a minimum wage job. It is meaningful enough for many mothers to feel it is actually better than full-time work.

Beth Brykman, author of “The Best of Worlds: How Mothers Can Find Full-Time Satisfaction in Part-Time Work” based on qualitative research with over 100 part-time working mothers.

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