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Work at Home (WAH) Options?

Work_from_home
Staying at home with babe is not necessarily a financially advantageous situation.  Many mamas try to craft a work plan that allows them to stay at home, while also trying to make ends meet.  An urbanMama's sister-in-law recently emailed, to see if the rest of the community had suggestions:

My brother and his wife recently had their first child and we are all thrilled. She teaches and has worked it so that she took her maternity leave at the beginning of the school year and will have to be returning to teach in December while my brother takes all his sick days to stay home and take care of they baby.

My sister-in-law would would love to work from home and take care of they baby full-time, but she doesn't have a job that will work like that at the moment.  Financially, they both need to be working. I know it's going to be really tough for my SIL to go back and I'm wondering if you have tips on things she might be able to do from home in order to keep ends meeting and still be with the baby.

Do you know of work options that could allow a mama to stay home with the baby?

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I know a mama that works for VoiceCurve from home and loves it. You can do a craigslist search to pull up lots of job opportunities with them and probably get a lot more information than I can offer. This is what I know: VoiceCurve is based out of Tigard. They set up your home computer and phone line so that you get incoming calls for businesses (doctors and attorneys) to *mostly* set up appointments. Your computer pops up with appropriate screen prompts and such. She chooses her work hours every week (maybe every other week) and has full medical benefits. I believe she started at about $10+ and within a year is already at $13+ (not great but not bad when you consider medical benefits and the fact that you are at home). They are pretty flexible. She is able to work from 5am-7am, get the kids ready for school, and start working again at 9am-12 to finish off her shift. During your shift, you are busy taking call after call, definitely not twiddling your thumbs out of boredom.
That’s all I know for now, just wanted to share the little bit of info that I had on it since she seems to be so pleased with it…even after a year.

Consider online instruction for a local college or community college. I know several mamas who are professional teachers who have been able to continue their careers in this way.

Tutoring! If her husband has a flexible schedule (my DH can get home at 4:00), then she could teach 4:00-6:00 or something.

Also, it really is often more possible than people realize to live on one income. We have a very (very) medium-sized income and four children. Because of the kid and mortgage and medical deductions (useful in the years we gave birth!), we end up paying NO federal taxes, and about $2.5K in state taxes. I also do all the cooking from scratch so only spend $650/month on groceries for 6 of us (and if we didn't keep kosher I'm sure I could do it for $550). People are often surprised to learn it's a lot easier than you think.

Anyway, as a teacher she has many, many marketable freelance skills - tutoring, editing, article-writing, etc., etc., etc.

I work at home as a writer, and I would really caution anyone to think they can work at home and take care of a child. It sounds like it would be ideal, right? But honestly, I'm always giving short shrift to someone. I find it difficult to concentrate on work when I'm working (one ear out for the kids). And when I'm with the kids, I'm feeling guilty for not getting work done (and I have one ear out for the phone/e-mail).

I worked outside the home when my first two were tiny, and although it was heart-wrenching at times, I had a much easier time compartmentalizing work and home. The boundaries just aren't there now, and it's really detrimental to my ability to do either job well.

I know parents who make it work and who enjoy it -- perhaps they are better multi-taskers than me? -- but she should really consider all of the ramifications and not just that rosy idea of being able to stay at home while still earning a living.

RM: I agree with you so much! I do love spending lots of time at home with my children, but I tried the work-from-home full-time scheme and it ended up backfiring terribly. now I'm at home and work only when I can carve out time from the children without too much pain. but often, I'm left frustrated as I *just* get involved in something I'm writing, then am pulled away by a hungry/arguing/hurt/book-needing child. it's a destructively tough balance.

if you can work out a scenario which allows you to work from home only during those hours your partner is caring for the children, it could be a little less painful. and there are many blogs now that pay $20 or $25 per piece for writing that doesn't require a great deal of investment.

I also agree with alpidarkomama's assertion that's it's worth considering if it's possible to get by on only one income. our extraordinarily small "team" income now is a struggle -- no cell phones was one big adjustment, and we are car-free so relieved of that expense, but we mostly stay close to home and almost never go on even the most modest vacations any more -- but the quality of life is far better than when we both worked "real" jobs.

If she has an education background, she might consider childcare out of her home. She can check with her state for the requirements on licensing. It can be taxing and it’s important to set up clear boundaries with the parents you choose to provide care. However, I have had many friends who cared for one or two other children in their home for a few years, until their own children started school and schedules opened up. If you are licensed and provide care out of your own home, there may also be tax benefits (writing off a percentage of you sq. ft., heating/electricity, etc).

SG: Definitely right about quality of life! No cell phones here either, no cable, no fast internet, no meat most days, a restaurant maybe once a year, no hotels (but we *love* camping!), no "stuff", and only one car. But our life is very relaxed, simple, and basically stress-free. Wouldn't trade it. :) I do teach piano lessons 2.25 hours/week (which is really plenty with 4 kids, ages 6, 4, 3, 2). My husband watches the kids then. I'm glad teaching music is my marketable skill. I can do it 1 hour a week or 50.

Although the industry is hurting a bit right now like the rest of the economy, weddings can be an interesting option. I'm on the music side of things but there are all kinds of jobs to be done. My husband works more traditional hours and my big work responsibilities are on the weekends. Might visit The Knot or Bravo weddings to explore some of the professions related. I love what I do and although it definitely involves some late night or early morning preparations, I know that my baby is in very capable hands of DH when I head out for the big day.

My husband & I have been a single income family for the last 2 1/2 years. We went from almost a six figure combined income to trying to make it on a quarter of that former income. Anyway, my point is, its been a struggle to say the least, but today the struggle got a little easier. Today was my first day of working from home. My company is making the move to have a third of their employees working from home. I work for basically a company that manages IPA's for health plans. While I make good money for my position, I never really thought a family of 3 could survive on what I make. Thanks to being able to work from home now, just in fuel cost alone, will save us $200 a month. Ok so anyway, I guess all that wasn't the point, the point is, you can look at becoming a claims examiner for an insurance company as many of them are beginning to send employees home. I know of one in particular based out of downtown PDX, let me know if anyone wants the name & I will email you.

I second a lot of comments here; I work for myself and my parents watch my daughters on Mondays--so I basically use that day to do all my meetings and my planning. The rest I do after they are asleep. I would like to sleep more, but it's impossible to give full attention to anything when they are both awake. I'm either ignoring my children, or I'm writing really crummy emails to people. I also have 2 piano students, which is a nice "side gig" that is flexible. It is possible to get by on very little income if you set your mind to it (no cable tv, 10 year old cars, no big shopping trips)...and the quality of life to ME is very worth it to be able to be as unstressed as possible when my girls are awake. I really don't want their image of a grown woman to be continually stressed-out, running late, and frazzled. It's a conscious decision every day, because my natural state is frazzled. !

So I'm a proponent of working from home...but with some boundaries.

When my daughter was a baby I was able to work as a nanny for 2 years for a family who had a little guy a couple of months older than her. Pay was $10-11 an hour and no insurance, etc. but the family I worked for was great, pleased that their son had a playmate, always very appreciative. It really worked for me at the time, and we still meet up occasionally to let the kids play together 3 years later. We found each other through a craigslist ad.

I'd also echo the caution with working at home. It's hard to strike that balance, and I often feel like everyone is getting short changed because I can't focus on any one thing for too long. I do most of my work at night after the kids are in bed, but then sometimes I am falling asleep at my computer and making stupid mistakes. And sometimes I am just to tired that I put off work, and it makes it that much harder to catch up and find that balance.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Irene,
Can you please email me the information you were telling us about from working from home..
thanks..Diane
TotoToo42@aol.com

Irene,
would love the info about working from home. thanks Jen jcarm26@yahoo.com

Irene,
I would love the information about working from home. Thanks.
jenni
jenni789and1@msn.com

Irene,
I too would be interested in the info you have on working from home.
lauraautry@yahoo.com

Irene,
Can i get the info too...thanks,
hblackburn13@gmail.com

Irene,

I have 4 years of disability insurance experience with a Portland based firm and lost my job a couple of months ago due to them not being able to give a little bit on my schedule. I would love to be able to work from home and already have applicable experience. If you can, please email me the information.

Karina

krydannia@gmail.com

Hi Irene,

I too am interested in the information you have regarding working from home.

annavolta@yahoo.com

Many thanks.

Irene,
I would greatly appreciate it if you could forward this information o me too.

Thank you!

Kindly,

mb

Irene,
I know you got a lot of feedback on this, if you still have the information I would greatly appreciate it. my email is cynthiacandles@aol.com.

Thanks!

While I do not have a suggestion for a job at home, I do have a comment about teaching and being a new mom.

I am a full time teacher (elementary) and have a 10 month old son. I think teaching is perhaps THE best job to have while raising a child for the following reasons: we have good holiday breaks, the hours allow for time in the afternoons and evenings with the kid(s), my son has the opportunity to be around other children and adults who love him (daycare three times a week), great health benefits and finally, being a parent has made me a better teacher!

Don't get me wrong- I'm totally exhausted some days and I am now one of those teachers that leaves right at 2:15 but it's a good life.

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