Working Momma.

I have written about this topic a few times, I think there is a difference between a Full Time Mom and a Stay At Home Mom as explained in Why is it Always About the Mother? I have also written a lot about returning to work and as you know I was back to work when Ollie was two months old. I won’t repeat too much of what I said but I am pro working momma, particularly after the first year and instead of benefits. 

I understand that childcare is expensive and in some cases, it isn’t worth going back to a 9-5 job because you’d basically just be earning enough to pay for childcare but that doesn’t mean you can’t work.  There are plenty of jobs you can do from home. My sister was an Avon lady when her boys were younger.  There are loads of companies that look for reps and you can manage your own diary. My mom worked as a dinner lady when we were at school. 
Fair enough, these jobs aren’t paying a mortgage but neither does benefits. In addition to a partners salary it is a much better option than unemployed.
The reason I wanted to write this is to talk about why I think a bar job is one of the best job for mothers! I am not saying everyone can do it.  It isn’t the entry level, easy job that people perceive it to be.  It takes a certain type of person to be a good bar team member but if you do have the necessary qualities to work in a bar then here’s why it’s great for Mom’s.

You can work around your routine.
This is dependent on your manager but a good manager will work around your lifestyle to benefit you and the running of the pub.  When you have a new born you can work evening shifts and spend all day with your baby and leave them for a few hours at night, only missing one feed (easy for Dad to do if you can express or on formula feed) and knowing that they are asleep most of the time!
When you have children in school you could work a lunchtime shift and go into work once you’ve dropped the kids off and go and pick them up afterwards.
Most bars take the majority of money on the weekends so you would have no problem finding a pub that would take you on as weekends only.  Friday and Saturday nights for nightclubs/ city bars or Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes for food led pubs.  This can work if your partner works 9-5 and you know he can take over on weekends.
Working moms
Ollie playing with original reflex baby.

Turnover is really high.

Unfortunately there is a high staff turnover in most bars (not mine) so don’t give up.  If you ask your local pub if they need staff and they say no, give it a month and I guarantee somebody will leave! Due to the fact that most people think it’s an entry level job a lot of people can’t hack the pace or are sacked within 6 weeks, the attrition rate is really high. So if you want to return to work when your baby is 1, go round your local pubs dropping off CVs when he’s 10/11 months.  I’ll be shocked if you don’t hear from one of them by the time he’s 1.

Except for me... I'm never leaving! (About 10 years ago when I was a skinny little bar maid!)
Except for me… I’m never leaving! (About 10 years ago when I was a skinny little bar maid!)
It’s easy to progress.

I don’t mean to diminish my entire career because progressing is reliant on being good but if you are a good worker it is very easy to progress up the career ladder.  Again, it’s because of the turnover.  Although managers tend to stay for longer, supervisors leave at a high rate so that’s the first step.  Take on a supervisor role and then assistant manager and then General Manager! (GM)
It took me five years to go from part time bar maid to full time manager and I was 18 when I started.  Had I been older and wiser I could’ve probably done it faster.  If you start a bar job when you have a baby, it’s not unrealistic that you could be a GM by the time your baby is in school.  Then you can plan the rota to be able to pick your children up and have the odd weekend off for family day trips.

It’s actually good pay. 
Bar work is generally minimum wage but a starting salary for a GM is around £24,000 which is better than a lot of graduate jobs.  Experienced GMs are generally on £30-£40k, sometimes even higher, not including bonus which can double your salary.  I made £4k bonus in my first year as a GM. Assistants tend to start on around £17,000 and even though bar is minimum wage, if you’re good you can double or triple your wages in tips.  So for two days a week you could earn the equivalent of a Mon – Fri, 9-5 minimum wage job.  My best bartender will make £30+ in a 6 hour shift.  My newest member of staff made £16 last Friday so it can be really good pay!

It’s really good fun!
Anyone that has ever worked in a bar will tell you it’s the most fun they’ve had in their life.  I’ve always felt like I get paid to go out every weekend. I get to listen to the music, socialise with my staff and customers, have fun minus the nasty hangover! It’s a great job. You are constantly meeting new people and making new friends.  My team are my second family.  I have met some of my best friends through working in a bar.
One of many crazy nights out!
One of many crazy nights out!

Gives you independence.
Admittedly, I would absolutely love to be a 1950’s housewife and stay home all day baking pies.  Times have changed, we can have independence now and not solely rely on a man.  It’s nice to have your own money and your own friends and colleagues.  Yes of course Ollie is my number one priority but I have other roles in my life besides mother.  A bar job enables you to continue being a mother, not relying on nurseries and family for the majority of childcare, whilst being a friend, colleague, agony aunt etc when you’re at work.
Of course I am basing all of this on my experience as a manager and mother.  I am aware that not all managers share my beliefs and flexibility but if you find the right manager, a bar job is the perfect way to return to work! My team leaders have children and we work around school and doctors appointments between us.  One of them has been on maternity leave twice whilst working for me and come back seamlessly both times.
Also, I don’t think I’ve had anybody work for me longer than 12-18 months and not progress up the career ladder. 
It’s flexible, great fun and has big earning potential.  If you’re struggling to get back into work… Find a bar job! One of my ambitions in life is to write a book about being a young female manager and how I’ve survived in a male dominated industry.  One of my many catchphrases is, “Some people make problems, some people make solutions.” I’m sure some people will read this and come up with some negatives, “I won’t see my partner if we work opposite shifts.” “I can’t express so I can’t work.” “My manager isn’t understanding.” All problems, find solutions instead.  Working is always better than benefits.
For more info and advice about working in a bar check out