Heather Schuck knows all about being a working mom. As the founder and CEO of children's brand Glamajama and author of "The Working Mom Manifesto," the mother of three has mastered the art of balancing a fulfilling career with a happy, healthy family life.
"The greatest joy of being a working mom is having the opportunity to contribute to the family's financial well-being while pursuing your passions, to have not only personal success but professional success as well," said Schuck, who also interacts with a community of working moms on her website, glamaLife.
This is easier said than done. Many mothers are concerned about setting boundaries for work and life that strengthen their families without sabotaging their career. The key to finding a good balance between the two is to have a life plan before a career plan — a strategy that Schuck discusses extensively in her book.
"Strong families and a happy home don't just magically happen," she said. "We must have systems in place to ensure boundaries are respected, children are nurtured and that your personal well-being is valued."
Schuck noted that little things can make a big difference when it comes to reducing stress and fighting working-mom guilt. Instead of filling your planner with only conference calls and appointments, schedule time to meditate, watch your son show off his new skateboard tricks and snuggle with your partner after the kids go to bed. Writing down daily work and life goals makes you more mindful of your choices, and leads to the strong home foundation that allows you to pursue your work passions while remaining guilt-free.
So, what kinds of jobs should mothers be looking for?
"Moms need more than a great salary to be fulfilled at work: They need flexibility and a company culture that values family," Schuck said. "Smart companies are realizing this and becoming more receptive to flexible work arrangements. Whatever your situation may be, realize that you have options, and don't be afraid to explore them. Don't settle for work relationships that aren't win-win. You deserve to be happy at work."
Based on Schuck's insights, here are 10 of the best jobs for moms who want a good work-life balance:
1. School teacher/administrator: What could be a more family-friendly job than one where you're on your kids' schedule? If you're not certified to teach, check local school districts for administrative positions like teacher assistants or secretaries.
2. Freelance writer: Many websites are in dire need of fresh, original content on a variety of topics. As a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere and set your own hours — a huge plus for busy moms. The only downside is a lack of steady work and benefits.
3. Fitness instructor: This superflexible job is a whole lot of fun and good for your health. With experience and a little bit of training, you could teach anything from yoga classes to cardio dance.
4. Independent sales representative: Even though there can be a lot of pressure to sell enough merchandise, companies like Avon and Pampered Chef provide great sales opportunities for moms with large social circles to make money in their spare time.
5. Dental hygienist: Part-time hours, great pay and a growing job market makes this a particularly attractive job for moms. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 38 percent increase in the need for dental hygienists, so if you want to get into this field, look into licensing requirements in your state.
6. Sonographer: Imagine being able to share in the joy of expectant mothers when they see their babies on the ultrasound screen. With an associate's degree and completion of a training program, you can be on your way to a job with flexible and/or part-time hours in the booming health care industry.
7. Bookkeeper/auditor: As an independent bookkeeper, you can control your hours by limiting the number of clients you have. Tax season is a busy time, but otherwise, this job will put you completely in control of your work-life balance.
8. Bank teller: This can be a part-time position, but even full-time bank tellers' hours and holidays are well aligned with typical school schedules. As long as your math skills are sharp, you can become a bank teller without a background in finance.
9. Real estate agent: Your hours might be irregular, but this gig is primarily by appointment, so you can set your own schedule with potential clients. All you need is a high school diploma and a few real estate courses to become licensed.
10. Entrepreneur: Starting your own business can be the easiest, most rewarding way to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with the desire for a fulfilling career. There are plenty of home and/or Internet-based opportunities that have minimal startup costs and will free you from the 9-to-5 grind.