Tips & Ideas for 'Stay at Home Parents'
+ In this section read about:
- Why Might Working From Home be Suitable For Parents
- What Are The Best Jobs For Stay-at-Home Mums?
- What Are The Best Jobs For Stay-at-Home Dads?
- What Are The Best Jobs For Single Parents?
- What Are The Best Jobs For Parents With a Large Number of Children?
- How to Set up My Own Business as a Stay-At-Home Parent?
- What Skills And Qualifications Are Necessary to do These Jobs?
Why Might Working From Home Be Suitable For Parents?
Once upon a time, you either went out to work or you stayed at home looking after the children. Typically it was the father who retained his job and working life and the mother who halted her career, in some cases never to return to it again.
Thankfully, this situation has changed significantly. In most cases it is still the mother who will take more time off from work (though recent changes to the law on paternity leave might provide support for fathers who would like to do more of the childcare) in the first instance, but more and more families are now opting for flexible employment after maternity/paternity leave ends. Both women and men are able to return to their previous jobs - sometimes on a part-time basis, meaning that careers can still be forged sucessfully. However, sometimes parents will decide that they wish to change careers, or alter their work-life balance, once their children are born and therefore being a parent and working from home is becoming increasingly popular.
Despite the fact that it might initially seem like a silly idea, working from home when you have young children is actually very achievable. Obviously you will have to tailor your work to your own individual circumstances, but there is now a wide variety of jobs on the market which can be completed on a freelance basis from any location.
If you have very young children who still sleep during the day, you could try and fit a few hours work a week in whilst they are napping. Once they’ve gone to bed in the evening, you could complete another few hours and it will all soon add up. As your children get older, you might find that you can get a bit of work done during the time they spend at pre-school. If you are lucky enough to have friends or family who are happy to look after your children occasionally then that could create a window of opportunity to work.
The main objectives of working from home when you have small children are to ensure:
That you don’t incur expensive childcare costs - or certainly not to start with, anyway - which might negate any income you generate from your new employment
That you are able to work flexible hours in order to enable you to spend as much time as possible with your children
That you are able to earn some extra money for family treats, such as special days out, which might otherwise be unaffordable
To enable you, as a parent, to stay in touch with the world of work and keep certain key skills (such as typing, report writing, spreadsheet analysis, for example) refreshed and up to date.
What Are The Best Jobs For Stay-At-Home Mums?
Selecting the best jobs for stay-at-home mums will very much depend on the skills, qualifications and experiences of each individual. For this reason, a really good place to start might be to create a CV. In the first instance, this will help you to think clearly about what skills and experience you might have gained from previous jobs that would be transferable to other careers, and in the second instance will provide an essential foundation for the CVs you will later send out when applying for jobs (which will need to be adapted to suit each different potential employer).
This link from the National Careers Service website is a wonderful starting point and includes advice and tools for building a CV and for other related skills such as constructing covering letters.
Once you have identified your key ‘selling points’, it will be useful to do some research into which careers you could pursue that would most capitalise on them. One issue that mums will possibly have to contend with more than dads is coping with the demands of small children. With young babies, it can be hard for a mother to be physically separated from her children, especially if she is still feeding them herself. Even though it would be great to think that men and women were regarded equally in this respect, women often feel under more pressure to assume a nurturing role within the home. Whilst it is more likely to be the case that both parents feel an equal commitment to bonding with their children, it may ease the pressure a mother in particular puts on herself if she is able to make money whilst staying at home.
Bearing this in mind, it might be wise to start out by looking at careers that can be fully based at home. Jobs that might tick this box include:
1. BloggingThis can be a great way to earn some money and meet other like-minded mums at the same time. Women are often more keen to chat about their experiences and share them with others, so writing them down on a blog can be a lovely hobby as well as a way to earn some cash.
Choose a topic that you feel you would like to talk about or about which you have some experience, then find a host for your blog such as Wordpress or Blogger.
Once you are up and running, you can join parenting blog networks such as Tots 100 and Brit Mums. These websites are free to join and will not only give you access to forums in which you can chat to other parent bloggers, but will also introduce you to money-making opportunities such as testing and reviewing products and writing sponsored posts (where you are paid to talk about a certain product or service).
There are other ways to generate income from a blog as well, such as displaying Google Ads on your blog and getting paid each time someone clicks on the links.
2. Conducting Market ResearchThis can involve a wide range of assignments such as testing products and services and then completing questionnaires to report your opinions back to the client, working as a mystery shopper or analysing previously collect market research data in spreadsheet form and then summarising it in a more user-friendly format such as a Microsoft Word or PDF document.
A simple internet search will return literally hundreds of companies advertising jobs in market research, but you will be better off approaching one of the more trusted organisations first, such as IPSOS MORI.
3. Capitalising On An Interesting HobbyThere are so many ways to make money from your hobbies or talents these days.
If you are good at cake making, you could consider baking and selling them to friends and family and asking them to spread the word.
If you are a proficient knitter, artist or master of some other craft, you could consider selling your wares on websites dedicated to the purpose such as Etsy. Other websites dedicated to supporting individuals and small businesses like Not On The High Street are enormously popular now and reach millions of customers, though there is a cost to joining their ranks so this last option might best be saved for when you are sure your product is successful.
What Are The Best Jobs For Stay-At-Home Dads?Given that parenting is much more of a partnership in modern society than it used to be a generation or two ago, much of the advice for stay-at-home mums will also apply to stay-at-home dads - especially the guidance around creating a CV.
Again, once you feel you have worked out where your strengths lie you will be able to narrow down your career options to those which are best suited to you. Fathers may feel more able to consider jobs which are nothing to do with children or family life, or they may feel that they can use their position as a male role model for families to try out a new career working with children. Some home-based opportunities for dads might be:
1. Working As A Freelance Telesales OperativeMany companies are now looking to outsource their telesales departments, or will take on temporary telesales staff to support certain campaigns rather then employ them full-time. Many people perceive men to have more of a natural aptitude for this job than women, as they are able to hold straightforward conversations without deviating from a script and are perhaps less likely to take it personally if they don’t pull a sale off.
2. Completing Paid SurveysThis is a form of market research, but it is such a growing area that it deserves a mention of its own. Companies are incredibly keen to get as much feedback from customers as possible about their experiences of using their products and services, but our busy lifestyles often don’t allow us the time to sit and ponder just how we ‘really’ felt when buying that cup of coffee, or how we ‘really’ feel about which brand of toilet paper we use. Hence, companies are now paying people to deliver these responses.
You will need to be able to form clear opinions about the subject matter in hand and be able to communicate this concisely via the medium of a survey. If this sounds appealing then a good starting point would be a reputable website such as Vivatic.
3. Online Forex TradingThis is a form of trading (i.e. buying and selling) quantities of foreign currencies based on how will you think they are performing in relation to other currencies. The relative strength or weakness of any currency will be determined by a number of factors, such as the country’s political situation, which could change on an almost daily basis. Therefore, you will need to stay abreast of current affairs and will also need to be prepared to work unusual hours according to when the various markets around the world are open.
If you think this sounds interesting, there are a few websites which offer you the chance to practise forex trading for free before setting up a formal account with them:
• FXCM Free Forex Accounts
• Alpari Demo Training
• FX Trade Demo
What Are The Best Jobs For Single Parents?Single parents are in a slightly different situation again, in that they are shouldering the childcare burden alone. Whilst the same advice will apply to preparing yourself for job applications as a single parent, you are facing a different set of circumstances in that not only do have a huge responsibility as a stay-at-home parent, but you also may feel that your social life is suffering as well, because you are not able to get out in the evenings without paying for a babysitter. Therefore, although any of the previous jobs would be appropriate as well, it could be a good idea to focus on something that makes you happy and allows you to enjoy something that interests you at the same time.
Here are a couple of examples:
1. Teaching A Musical InstrumentMany people who play or listen to music feel very passionately about it and practising a musical instrument can be a great form of relaxation. If you think that you a musical instrument to a high enough standard, why not consider teaching others how to play it as well?
It will help if you have a recognised qualification (from a board such as ABRSM) but this isn’t essential.
Sharing your knowledge with others and seeing their talent grow, chatting to other like-minded individuals and getting to play your instruments will hopefully all be such fun that making money on top of it will be a bonus!
2. Running A Home Beauty BusinessAs with music, you may find that practising health and beauty techniques is not just enjoyable in itself but is also a service that many people will pay good money to receive. Home-based beauty businesses are becoming more commonplace as people find it harder to justify salon prices when they tighten their belts financially. Again, becoming qualified might help you in the first instance (there are courses run nationwide leading to recognised qualifications such as BTECs and NVQs) but a personable nature and a sense of style will be just as important!
What Are The Best Jobs For Parents With A Large Number Of Children?Parents with large numbers of children are very likely to be in a situation where space is at a premium, so if this applies to you then think carefully about which home-based careers you consider. Those which predominately involve the use of a computer and nothing else will be worth investigating and jobs which could potentially create more space (by de-cluttering the house) will be invaluable. Therefore the following suggestion might suit parents with a lot of children down to the ground!
eBay SalesSelling your own belongings on auction websites such as eBay is big business now and people are able to create their own online ‘shops’ through the website as well as operate as individual sellers. If you have a large family, the chances are you will often be buying more clothes, shoes, toys, books, sports equipment, etc. Some of these items may of course be handed down to younger siblings, but you might find it more lucrative to sell other things on to willing buyers elsewhere. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, as they say!
How to Set Up My Own Business As A Stay-At-Home Parent?If none of the above ideas are fitting the bill, perhaps you’d like to consider setting up your own business?
You could become a registered tutor or childminder (there will be strict guidelines and restrictions on working with children, however, so make sure you follow these at all times) or you could set up as an events planner (though clearly this would require leaving the house, so you would have to have suitable back-up childcare provision).
You could bake and sell cakes professionally or you could become a trained freelance proofreader, copy editor or translator (assuming you had the necessary linguistic ability).
If you’ve got an idea for a business but are unsure what to do next, then please read the following article from the GOV.UK website, about how to take the next steps - Start with an idea!
If setting up completely on your own sounds too daunting, you could always set up a franchise of a recognised company. Often, these will involve you hosting parties at your own home or someone else’s (with their permission, of course!) and then receiving a commission on all the sales you make. You may also have catalogues for your products, which you will be able to deliver to a certain ‘patch’ in your local area and you can make sales this way as well.
Tried and tested companies that offer such opportunities are:
PartyLite - a company that sells candles and other products to scent the home. Visit their website to find out more.
Jamie At Home - no-one could question the awe-inspiring success of the TV chef Jamie Oliver and his branded kitchen range contains high quality products that you could be proud to sell to others. Here’s the website for more information.
Body Shop - these well respected but reasonably priced beauty products have been available on the high street for many years, but they are now also sold via home consultants as well. See if it would suit you by visiting their website.
What Skills And Qualifications Are Necessary To Do These Jobs?Working from home can be highly rewarding, but it will also require a lot of time and effort on your part. Many stay-at-home parents feel exhausted simply because of the childcare they are doing and would feel overwhelmed by taking on too much more responsibility. Therefore, you should think long and hard about what form of home-based employment might suit you best, as it would be disappointing for both you and your employer if you were not able to complete the necessary tasks in a professional manner.
The necessary qualifications for each job will by quite specific to each role, but key skills for someone who works from home are:
Organisation - so that you stay on top of all the different parts of your job, as well as remaining in control of your childcare
Time management - so that you do not put yourself in stressful situations where you are not able to meet deadlines
Motivation - you will not have colleagues or a boss to spur you on as you would in a traditional workplace, so you must be able to motivate yourself into getting everything done
Self-discipline - so that you can focus on whatever you are supposed to be doing at any given time and not give in to distractions.
You will also need a computer and a reliable internet connection to undertake nearly all home-based jobs, so this should be something you invest in if you don’t already have these facilities.
As with any business opportunities where the internet plays a central role, you will not want to find yourself the victim of a scam. Always research companies thoroughly and never part with any money up front as all reputable organisations will allow you to register for free. In short, if something sounds too good to be true then sadly that’s likely to be the case. If in doubt, visit a trusted site such as 'Money Saving Expert' and contact an advisor there. The Citizens Advice Bureau will also be happy to answer any queries and to give general advice about employment.
Finally, although it’s unlikely that you will make a huge income pursuing any of these jobs, it is still worth registering as self-employed (which is free to do - just visit www.hmrc.gov.uk for more information and guidance) so that you are aware of your tax and National Insurance obligations. That way, at least you’ll be ready should you find yourself in the fortunate position of being very successful and earning significant sums!