Before we started a family, my husband and I decided that when we had children we would work our schedules out so that we would not have to use day care in the first few years.
When I became pregnant with my son Eric I was in a professional Human Resource job that I loved. I really wanted to stay on but could not justify working full time once he was born given our goal of no day care. I was faced with the fact that I was going to have to have a conversation that I was not looking forward to! I had to tell my boss that I would like to work two days per week. I was afraid that she would think that I didn’t care about my career or that she would say no and that I’d have to leave.
The day came. I was very nervous. I began by telling her how much I loved my job and how much I really wanted to stay. I told her that I would understand if she was not able to give me what I was looking for. I then told her that my goal was to work 2 days per week. I gave her some basic information for how I thought that it could work but told her that I was willing to be flexible if she felt that an alternative method would work better.
To my delight, she immediately said, “we can make this work.” She said, “I’m not sure yet how we will do it, but we will make it work.”
So, was it scary? Yes! Was I aware of similar arrangements in my organization at the time? No! Was it worth it? Yes!
That was 4 years ago. Since then, I have realized that many organizations, including the one I was working for, offer alternative work arrangements informally. There may not be policies available or set procedures but Managers are allowing their employees to balance career and familial obligations more effectively by giving them what they ask for!
So, maybe you can find what you are looking for right where you are!