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Category: Working Mothers
Tips For Stay-at-Home Moms Getting Back in the Work Force

With the economy stalled and a lot of families struggling financially, many stay-at-home moms are looking for work to supplement the family budget. Telecommuting is more prevalent than ever. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that telecommuting in general has risen more than 26 percent since 2005, and by more than 73 percent in government agencies and nonprofits. Working from home is ideal for moms with young children, and the internet has made it easier than ever to find work that can be done right from the comfort of your own home. Here are five ideas to help stay at home moms get back into the workforce and bring in extra cash while still being there for their children:

Online Data Entry and Transcription

Legal, medical, office and closed captioning are just some of the types of transcription services that are needed. You should possess good typing skills as well as the ability to meet deadlines. Visit work-at-home job boards to find freelance jobs. If you’re fortunate, you might connect with a client who really likes your work and you could receive steady projects from them. One word of caution (for all online job opportunities), never pay a fee to work for a company. It’s likely a scam.

Virtual Call Center Rep

Call center work allows you to do customer service right from the comfort of your own home. Call center representatives are needed for businesses such as online retailers, help desks and IT solutions. If you have a pleasant phone demeanor and like helping people, this could be the ideal work-at-home job for you.

Freelance Work

If you like to write, do graphic design or create computer software, there are a wealth of freelance opportunities available online. From businesses that allow telecommuting to online content provider hubs, it’s easier than ever to break into freelance work, no matter what your interest or experience level. Pay will be commensurate with experience and skill level, but freelancing is an excellent way to work from home and earn extra money. Start with guru.com, elance.com and odesk.com. Even Craigslist can be a source when you search under “Gigs.”

Product Reviewer or Survey Taker

Believe it or not, these are legitimate ways to earn extra cash online. Businesses are always looking for feedback about their products and services, and product reviewers and survey takers can help them to accomplish this. Look for a hub service like MySurvey.com that will find out your interests and product usage patterns in order to connect you with review and survey jobs for which you’re a match.

Child Care

While obviously not an online job, offering child care service in your own home is an excellent and flexible way to earn extra cash while still spending time with your own children. You’ll also bring in built-in playmates for your kids.

 
From Manager to Mommy Mode

After a long day of meetings and deadlines, switching gears to making dinner and helping the kids with homework can be challenging.  Many working moms find it difficult to leave the office behind and go from being a manager to a mommy.  In fact, 50% of working moms find it tough to make the shift.  Here are some tips to smooth the transition.

Make a “to-do” list. Before you leave the office, jot down a quick office “to-do” list for the next day.  This will help jump-start your next workday, and leave you less apt to think about work at home.  After you make your list, forget about it – until tomorrow.

Change your tune. Instead of listening to a leadership development podcast on your commute home, listen to your favorite CD.  Music can help relax you before you walk in the front door.  Your kids will sense if you’re still tense from work.

Focus on fun. If you worry about all you have to get done at home – making dinner and driving your son to soccer practice – family time can feel like another job.  Focus on the fun stuff instead.  Plan an after-dinner walk with your family or a trip to your local ice cream shop for dessert.  Thinking ahead about this time together will help you to live in the mommy moment.

For more tips on how to balance work and family, read Passport to Priorities: Your Road Map to Balanced Living.

 
More Women are Primary Breadwinners

Women make up nearly half of workers in America today, and are taking on more responsibility for the pocketbook too!  For the first time, a record 40% of U.S. households with children under the age of 18 are headed by bread-winning mothers.  That’s quadruple the rate in 1960, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The term ‘breadwinner’, applies not only to married mothers who earn more than their husbands, but also single mothers who are the sole household earners.  The married, breadwinner mothers fare well.  The median total family income of married, breadwinner mothers was $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children.  Married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college-educated (as compared with all mothers with children).

However, Americans have conflicting feelings about women’s rise in the workplace.  Around three-quarters of adults say more working women has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made it harder for marriages to be successful, according to Pew.  But two-thirds admitted that it has made it easier for families to earn enough money to live comfortably.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Do more women working for pay make it harder to raise children?  Does it make it harder for marriages to be successful?  Please share your thoughts with other readers.

Excerpted from “Women Continue Rising as Breadwinners” article in Business Insider.

 
5 Free Tech Tools to Keep Work-at-Home Moms Organized

Working from home allows you to control your schedule, play with your creativity, pick your team and develop new skills. However, the position is fraught with pitfalls, and it can be especially challenging for a mom who is trying to balance a toddler or two in the mix. Free tech tools can be a lifesaver for the work-at-home mom:

1. Cloud storage

Cords are a hazard around young children, and young children are a hazard around hard drives. Cloud storage minimizes the threat of cords for your children while cutting down on the amount of equipment you have around the home. When you use inexpensive online storage, you never have to worry about losing all of your data if your child knocks over a glass of juice on the hard drive.

Cloud storage doesn’t just give you free space for business, it offers space for storing photos of your children. There are so many cloud storage apps and services, your biggest hurdle may be narrowing your search down to the right one with a little research. According to a Zip Cloud review, cloud storage can be accessed from PCs, Macs, Androids and other mobile devices, iPads and iPhones.

2. Skype

The kids are bored and crying, but a looming deadline is staring you in the face. Now would be the perfect time to call Grandma in for help, but she lives three states away. That’s no longer a problem, thanks to Skype.

Skype allows people to have face-to-face conversations over their computers. Skype is compatible with most devices, ranging from desktop computers and mobile phones to TVs and XBoxes. All you have to do is arm grandma with your children’s favorite books, set up the call, and let them bond while you meet your deadline.

3. Trello

When it’s time to get serious about a project, Trello allows you to organize and track everything from one spot. It can be used for any type of project. Whether you are creating a to-do list for your household, a list of learning goals for your children or trying to organize a work project, Trello keeps you on track.

4. Google Calendar

If you are never sure whether you should be sitting in front of a spreadsheet or driving your child to music class, Google Calendar is a must-have. It syncs among all of your devices and can send you event reminders so that you never miss another appointment.

5. Join.me

Use Join.me, and you can see exactly what your colleagues are doing on their computer screens, and they can see what you are doing on yours. It’s perfect for remote collaboration or training. It makes explaining complicated processes simple, and the chat feature means you do not have to tie up your phone to use it, according to Rainstorm Media Group.

What free tech tools do you love as a work-at-home mom? Share in the comments.

 
Build Family Bonds at Mealtime

In our hurry-up, time-pressured world, it’s challenging for families to eat dinner together, much less have meaningful conversation around the dinner table.  Between parents’ schedules – business travel, dinner meetings, networking events, etc. – and kids’ schedules – soccer practice, dance class, and piano lessons – it takes a Master Scheduler to line up family members’ schedules to share a meal together.  Oftentimes dinners are on the run (via the drive-thru at McDonalds) between activities.

Despite the challenge, working moms would be wise to make family meals a priority.  Research shows positive effects on children when the family shares at least three family meals together per week.  In fact, it’s the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems for school-age children.  Also, children are more likely to be in a normal weight range.

Given the importance of family meals, how can you make mealtime more meaningful?  Here are four tips to build stronger family bonds at the dinner table.

Turn off electronics. In our techie world, it’s easy to succumb to digital distractions.  Instead, turn off the TV and put cell phones and gaming devices away.

Play background music. Background music helps create a convivial dining atmosphere.  Let family members take turns making music selections, which helps kids feel involved.  The only rule: The music should be calm for dining.

Discuss your day. Have everyone share how their day went – the good, the bad, and the daunting – and offer encouragement and support.  Save big problem-solving or disciplinary issues for later.

Make a topic list. A mental list of talking points aids conversation and helps break through silences.  Shoot for specific topics.  When asked, “How was school today?” you’re likely to get the same one-word answer – “boring”.  Instead, ask, “What was the most interesting thing you learned today?”

By making dinnertime conversation the norm early on, you’ll create a habit of table talk that may help even sullen teens speak up later.