How To Sell Working Part-Time vs. Full-Time After Having A Baby

I’m excited to blog about this specific topic this week because this is a HOT HOT HOT topic for working mommas!

A lot of working moms are craving more flexibility after having a baby, but don’t necessarily want to be 100% at home with kiddos 24-7. Working 40+ hours every week in your full-time career seems overwhelming in the post-partum period and not really something you’re totally ready to jump back into.

With nursing around the clock, up every 2-3 hours each night with a newborn, and trying to keep your brain sharp for work, it’s taxing to be at work 8+ hours every day.

If you’re feeling like working full-time after your maternity leave is over just doesn’t seem right for you right now, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I remember going back to work full-time after my baby was almost 6 months old and I was mentally just not ready to commit to a 40 hour a week corporate schedule with demanding clients that expected me on my A-game.

I remember breaking down my 2nd week into coming back thinking why am I so emotional about this? I not only work from home, but I got 6 months off with my baby and I STILL DID NOT FEEL READY. I knew working full-time in my corporate career just didn’t seem right for me in this moment.

So here is what I did to reduce my work hours and how I approached the conversation with my manager on pitching working part-time vs. full-time.

I approached my manager during our regular one on one meetings we typically had every week.

These were meetings where we could openly discuss how things were going and review any work projects. I suggest talking to your manager about this when it’s expected to talk to them about how things are going and when she/he can be fully present for the conversation. If you don’t have regular one on one meetings with your manager, I would recommend scheduling them yourself so it gives you that time with your leader each week or bi-weekly.

I came to my manager with 2 options on how I would conduct a part-time schedule.

Sometimes you have to be able to provide your manager with what something will look like in order for them to make a decision. This helps take away the burden of them having to think through how a part-time schedule would look like each week. You want to make this as easy as possible for them to make the decision with little work on their end to think through so many different variables. For example, I provided one option that would allow me to work 3 days a week for 8 hours (with specific start and end times) and then one option that had different days with specific start and end times. Providing my leader with 2 different options helped provide that guidance on what it would look like each week.

I Re-assured my manager that I would be flexible on my schedule depending on business needs.

So this is really important because often times leaders want to make sure that when important projects or meetings arise, you can be flexible to adjust your days as needed. I rarely had my manager ask me to switch my days when I began working part-time, but providing her that reassurance that I would be flexible for our clients needs gave her some comfort.

We Piloted It For A Few Months

As I asked my manager about reducing my work hours and client load, I asked her if we could pilot it for a few months and do regular check ins on how the new schedule is working out. I never wanted my manager to feel like anything was permanent if it was causing issues with our clients. In my situation, it didn’t effect my clients at all and they were completely understanding of my schedule. If the new schedule is effecting your client’s satisfaction, it may be time to explore different opportunities that support part-time work.

Going from a full-time corporate work schedule to a part-time work week was a really great transition for me postpartum. This approach I think works best when you have a good relationship with your manager and they clearly value you as a team member. Most good leaders are not going to want to use high performing team members, and the alternative to have to replace you, train someone else, and go through that whole process is more work than just adjusting a current team member’s schedule.

Keep in mind that your manager may have to talk to their direct leader about the decision. If you feel like your leaders are not being supportive of your desire to reduce your work schedule (and for good reasons), I would re-evaluate where you’re at with your career and if it’s truly best to stay status quo or explore new opportunities that support a part-time work schedule.

Have some grace with this decision and process sister. Deciding to go part-time is not an easy decision because it does potentially effect your finances and also lead you into making some tough choices. I would also recommend role playing the conversation with ideally a mentor or a trusted friend that can provide you immediate feedback on how you led the conversation.

If you need more help or guidance on how to go about this conversation, feel free to send me a direct email!

My email is hello@marisellabodrero.com

Marisella Bodrero