The current economy makes it harder for a family to live off of one income and moms who wanted to stay home to raise their children are finding it difficult to do so.
To compensate for rising prices in consumer goods and housing, many mothers are giving up on their dream to be a stay-at-home mom and are reentering the work force.
While many children do well in a daycare environment, and while many families have no other choice but to find a sitter while parents work, these moms found a way to do both: work and be the stay-at-home mom they wanted to be.
We talked to six work-at-home moms who found a way to do both.
Angie Barrett started her home-based business, Angie’s Suds ‘N Such, in 2006. What started as a hobby turned into a full-fledged business that earned Barrett the award of the 2012 StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Competition.
“It started as a hobby when my oldest daughter was about three (now nine), making Christmas gifts for family members,” she said. “I actually obtained most of my start up materials for free on Craigslist. My family convinced me to start selling so I began
stocking up for craft shows and discovered Etsy in the meantime. Now most of my sales come from Etsy where I’ve obtained wholesale customers, numerous orders for wedding/party favors, and many retail customers.”
Julie Legrand has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and consulting, but she wanted to be home once she had her first child.
“Working keeps my sanity by having non-kiddo interests and conversations, and
ensures I don’t have a long gap in my resume in case I ever do want to get back into full-time work,” Legrand said.
Legrand has the help of a part-time nanny so she can balance work and being a mom, which made it easier to nurse her child the first year. But Legrand said she is realistic about what she can expect from working at home.
“The challenge of working for oneself is ensuring there’s enough business to cover the nanny expenses and more,” she said. “Consulting can be very feast or famine and you have to have a strong skillset or point of view to get started and attract clients. One resource that’s great for mom’s wanting (or) considering starting their own
businesses is the Founding Mom’s meetup group, which is filled with like-minded women who are extremely supportive of one another.”
Laura Hurley has been working from home since 1998. She founded three successful tutoring and educational businesses before diving into the world of social media consulting.
“I left corporate America after we adopted my first child,” Hurley said. “I just could not leave her at daycare after traveling to China to get her. In 2009, I dipped my toe into social media to forward my businesses online and got hooked. I was offered a coaching position for a social media company. I took it (still running my tutoring businesses) and fell in love with helping women embrace the power of social media. I sold my educational businesses, parted ways with the company who hired me to coach for them and began my own social media consulting company. I still work from home and now help women formulate their social media marketing plan.”
Hurley said they adopted their second daughter from Russia in 2003.
“So, I have two teenager girls now, have my own radio show (The Social Networking NewsHour), and am a keynote speaker, consultant, coach and mentor. And, I do it all from home and have not missed one soccer game, cross country meet or doctor’s
Dana Marlowe began her IT accessibility/Section 508 consulting business before she had her first child. She learned the trickiest part about working from home is balancing family and business.
“I sometimes feel the teeter-totter swings in one direction or the other,” Marlowe said. “I have increased the number of hours to focus on the business and my toddler is in pre-school full-time. He loves the school and it fills me with the comfort that he’s being taken care of while I work long hours. The flexibility to choose my own hours has been a godsend, but it always ends up being more than your standard 40-hour-a-week position.”
Marlowe said her best advice to other work-at-home parents is to be realistic.
“You can’t do everything,” she said. “I wish I could say that I can do it all, every mother or business owner does; but in reality, you have to choose your battles, and that’s what made me most successful. I’ve signed on huge, Fortune 500 clients and Federal agencies, and it’s dazzling. However, there are times when I’ve rescheduled important conference calls when my son had to stay home sick.”
Shafonne Myers got started in the wedding industry as a wedding planner and quickly realized there was a need for plus size brides. She started a website dedicated to plus size women getting married and updates the site daily. She also runs a quarterly magazine for the company, as well as manages the social media accounts for the business.
“I made the move to stay-at-home when my husband relocated for his job several times and it was hard for me to get a job in each location that we moved to, so I decided to stay home and start my own business,” Myers said.
Debbie Wiener began working from home after discovering how difficult it was to find a job that was flexible with her kids’ schedules, vacation, sick days, etc.
“You would think women-owned businesses would be a bit more progressive with working moms, but I found they were the worst,” Wiener said.
So Wiener began working from home out of her unfinished basement designing pet-friendly and family-friendly home solutions. She’s been working from home for 18 years now and has published the top-selling book, “Slobproof!: Real-Life Design Solutions.” Wiener has a full team who works for her and has been featured in the LA Times, USA Today and The Washington Post.
“We still work out of my home basement, but now it’s furnished! I still cook a pretty good dinner most nights, do the laundry and walk the dog. Better yet, I am now writing a book to help other women start their own business. I am all about bringing home the bacon, and frying it up,” she said.
Ivaylo Vezenkov and Lauren del Valle, CNN
Paul Menser, BizMojo Idaho
Matt McFarland, CNN