Keeping it Real – WAHM – Part-Time Working Mums

So you have heard of all the benefits of being a WAHM (Work at home mum) or opting for flexible work options, but before you take the plunge, make sure you have your ‘realistic glasses’ on. Such work-family friendly options are not without limitations.

Take a quiz and see if Work-from-home options/ Part-time work options are meant for you:

  1.  Are you expected to contribute to more than 60% of the monthly household income?
  2. Is being able to mingle with colleagues and spending lunch hours with your co-workers and important part of your ‘office experience’?
  3. Do you hope to get a promotion after working for a year?
  4. Are you expecting to earn an income equivalent to at least 70% of your last drawn monthly income?
  5. Although you work from home, are you able to seek child-care help (such as child-care, nanny, domestic help) during certain working hours?
  6. Are you comfortable with the possibility of experiencing negative reactions from coworkers and clients?
  7. Are you a disciplined person who sets monthly or week goals for yourself?
  8. If a part-time job/ freelance work is not as “high-leveled” as previous positions, will you still do it?

If you answer ‘YES’ to more than 4 of the above mentioned questions, then you might seriously want to reconsider taking on part-time work.

The truth is: Part-time work will never be able to generate the same income as a full-time job. For many mothers, this is actually a huge problem – and one that we need to discuss with the other family members before making a decision.

Realistically, most part-time positions (even if they are Professional or Executive level) are not high-ranking positions. You are not likely to manage staff or take up assignments that require much time-commitment.

Working part-time or from home can also cause some unhappiness amongst your colleagues, who might deem your arrangement as being unfair. Not being in the office throughout the day also means less ‘bonding time’ with your co-workers. It’s probably less likely you can build strong friendships in such working conditions, and such isolation can result in loneliness. (As one WAHM told me, she feels starved for adult conversation 5 days a week!)

Working from home does not solve your childcare problem. As any mother knows, children need undivided attention at times. So unless you are prepared to multi-task (and do it well), it’s going to be a challenge to meet your deadlines and complete your household duties. WAHM or Part-time Working mums need to be very organized and plan their day-to-day activities. Time becomes even more of a challenge to manage.

Singapore (and most of Asia) is still not very new in setting up Work-from-home / Part-time Work arrangements for mothers. This can result in employers not being able to clearly come up with distinct, clear working arrangements when making decisions about (i) workload (ii) compensation (iii) promotional opportunities. Part-timers/ WAHM can sometimes be passed over for advancement opportunities. Occasionally you might also meet employers who form the misconception that part-timers are less committed or not as valuable. Workload can often be too much for a part-timer (who is actually doing a full-timer’s work)

Having said all that, it is undeniable that work-from-home arrangements or part-time work options are still the best ways of getting work-family balance. So the question is: Are you ready to take the plunge?