Hefty mortgages and spiralling bills mean more mums are being dragged back to their desks earlier than planned. According to research from the financial comparison site Uswitch.com 50% of mums with children under three claim money worries along with debt problems, as their overwhelming reason for returning to work.
But if a lengthy commute, long hours or weekend work mean your old job and motherhood just won't mix why not opt for a more flexible work life balance or kick start a new career?
This could be the year wave you create your dream job for yourself: whether it's working for yourself, working from home or choosing your hours.Flexible Working
Under Government legislation employers must consider parents' requests for flexible work arrangements if they've got children under 17, (rising to 18 from April 2011), or have disabled children under 18.
So why not suggest your own timetable; maybe working from home two days a week or cutting your hours? While your boss doesn't have to agree; if you can show your work won't suffer, the company is less likely to refuse. And you want to stay within the company but don't want full time ask about job share or part time opportunities.
The ultimate solution, currently being road tested across corporate America and yet to hit our shores, is ROWE, which stands for Results-Only Work Environment. The idea being you get paid for a chunk of work; which you can do at the office, home or even the nearest coffee shop, so no pressure to work fixed hours or be sat at your desk all day. Gap is one company embracing the concept and admits it's stopped them losing their most talented employees post parenthood.
Family Friendly Employers
Want a new job but one where it's ok to leave in time for the school run? There's lots of websites like www.jobs4mothers.com and www.workingmums.co.uk where mums can register online to match both their skills and availability with potential employers,and parent friendly sites like www.return2workmums.co.uk offer information and advice on everything from how to use social media to putting together a punchy CV.
Check out companies that have won awards for their 'family friendly' approach including BT, B&Q, Centrica Plc, the NHS, Nationwide and Royal Bank of Scotland who've all been on the 'best employer' list according to Top Employers For Working Families.
And don't be scared of 'networking' – use your contacts; call people you've met through work and tell them what kind of thing you're looking for. You never known when opportunities can arise!
Start Your Own Business
Even big multi million pound businesses started small, so if you've got a great idea or skill you can use on a freelance basis like web design, beauty therapy or book keeping find out if anyone else is offering this service in your area. Many mums find their own children inspire ideas for a career change like mum of two Sally Preston (www.babylicious.co.uk), who started a hugely successful business selling frozen home made baby food, and Vivean Pomell (www.brynels.co.uk), who began making funky hats and hairpieces after her young daughter started losing her hair.
Make the most of free advice from your local Business Link to find out about training courses, grants and local networking events.
Publicity is essential for any business but advertising can be expensive. So why not contact your local radio station or newspaper to see if they'll run a feature or interview you? And get free business cards printed from websites like www.moo.com or www.vistaprint.co.uk where you'll only pay postage costs.
Want to retrain or learn another skill? Check out www.nextstep.direct.gov.uk to find relevant courses at colleges in your area. Depending on your circumstances and household income you may be eligible for grants to cover the cost of childcare, transport and equipment.