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What if you didn’t have to choose between work and family?

MOTHER
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These job resources for women are making work-life balance possible.

After the 2008 economic crisis, millions of women around the world found themselves unemployed or no longer had an opportunity in the job market. Getting left out of the loop is hard, especially for those who have family responsibilities and need the income. But there’s always a certain “instinct” that helps us to rise up and overcome difficulties, no matter how deep a hole we find ourselves in.

In recent years, women in Europe and the United States have been taking matters into their own hands, doing what they can to make ends meet: applying to jobs below their abilities, accepting a lower salary than what they used to receive, accepting “going down a level” socially (if necessary), and so on. The key is to get moving to address the problem. After all, women are resourceful and our emotional intelligence helps us to face problems in a practical and positive way.

Being a mother makes you more courageous

And then there’s a situation very particular to women: motherhood, one of life’s most challenging chapters. Giving life to another person to whom you will always be bound … Could there be a more extraordinary challenge?

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and activates parts of a woman’s brain that were not so awake before. After becoming mothers, women become fighters who are willing to overcome themselves for the sake of their children. They prepare for the future like birds prepare a nest.

Statistics show that many enterprising women tend to prefer opening a franchise instead of starting their own business. But motherhood also introduces other key aspects for many women, because they don’t want to give up their family for a career.

The key question: What do I want to do with my life?

In those moments, motherhood makes many women consider their lives with a fresh perspective:

  • Who or what am I living for?
  • How am I spending my energy?

And they decide that perhaps it’s time to change course and work on their own. In this way, it’s easier for them to reconcile work and family, and they are able to gain precious time for their loved ones.

Going out on your own in business or as a freelancer is a risk and it’s a free decision that everyone has to consider in light of her own circumstances. Clearly, many women feel attracted to the idea of doing something different that will let them combine work and family better, but many might not be sure of how to take the step.

That’s why there are programs that accompany women in this new undertaking. Maters, for example, offers a specific program for entrepreneurial women who are or will be mothers. They can complete it in five months, but each user has a year in which she will be accompanied.

The course, directed by Alejandra Yuste — the founder of Maters — has 15 experts in different areas, and it costs about $300. One of the advantages is that you can do it at your own pace. Yuste came up with the idea after going through a postpartum time that she herself describes as “complicated.”

You don’t have to choose between work and family

Many other women like her (both young and older, most with a university degree, but it’s not an essential requirement) have opted in recent years for a formula that will not force them to choose between “work or family.”

It follows the Finnish method of “learning by doing.” As you go along, you need knowledge and practice for the business you decide to undertake. Maters works for you as a consulting and training service, working as a team with the entrepreneur. It is 100 percent digital, so everything can be done online.

For now, Maters is only in Spanish, but similar programs exist in English, such as:

  • iRelaunch: This program specializes in helping women get back into the workforce after taking time out — sometimes decades out! — to focus on their children and families. It offers more than 230 programs, including individual counseling, and has a huge network of other women who have successfully returned to professional life.
  • Mom Corps (part of Corps Team) helps place experienced professional women into “fractional, flexible, and virtual positions” that allow women with skills to continue using their abilities without having to sacrifice their family life.
  • The Mom Project is for women with families who are looking for flexible job options, including part-time work and telecommuting work. It is based in the United States.
  • Werk focuses on offering women flexible full-time jobs, part-time senior level positions, job sharing opportunities, and maternity leave help so that women can combine motherhood with work more easily.
  • Lynda helps working moms build their skills through online subscription access to more than 4,000 courses taught by experts in tech, business, and creative industries.

This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.

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