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.
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.
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.
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.
Mornings can be the most difficult part of the day for many working moms. Trying to get the kids and themselves ready and out the door on time seems to always take much longer than expected. With these 10 tips, working moms can make their mornings much more manageable and make their family’s morning departure one that is on time and not late.
1. Wake up 30 minutes before everyone else. If you don’t first care for your own needs, you won’t be able to care for the needs of others in your family. Waking up before everyone else allows you to get ready to start your day without interruption. Enjoy your coffee and paper in peace, prior to waking up the others.
2. Lay out clothes the night before. The older children get, the more say they want to have in their wardrobe choices. Provide children with two or three acceptable choices and let them choose what to wear. Hanging a plastic shoe organizer over the back of their door and filling each pocket with a matched outfit can make choosing an outfit easier for preschoolers.
3. Always repack your diaper bag once you return home. Resist the urge to drop it and forget about it. Once you are home, repack your diaper bag with spare clothing, diapers, snacks, and any other necessities you may need and then leave it by the door so it’s ready to go when you are.
4. Keep a tote filled with necessities in the car. Keeping a tote filled with spare clothes, nonperishable snacks and bottled water, diapers, a package of wipes, sun screen, and any other essentials can come in handy if you’re out longer than originally planned or if you forget your diaper bag.
5. Unpack and repack backpacks once you return home. Avoid scavenger hunts by emptying bags once home, tending to what needs your attention, and repacking such items soon after returning home. It’s much better to handle these tasks when you’re not rushed and pressed for time.
6. Have a set place for shoes. Avoid missing shoes by placing a large basket by the front door for everyone to place their shoes in when returning home. A boot tray can also be used to store wet shoes after wearing.
7. Get the kids up early enough. Whatever time you think you need to wake the kids up to allow them to be ready on time, add 15 minutes to it. It is inevitable that one child is going to spill something at breakfast and another is going to take too long in the bathroom, and those 15 extra minutes can be the difference between being on time and being late.
8. Have your stuff ready to go the night before. In the evening, get your work and personal stuff ready for the next day. Be sure your briefcase is packed and on the counter ready to go, and your work attire, along with accessories, are ready to wear.
9. Prepare lunches the night before. While some items can’t be packed the night before, if you’re sending something that can be, like leftovers, pack and prepare them right after dinner. Grabbing and going can make mornings easier.
10. Have a short and sweet goodbye routine. It can certainly be tempting to give your baby one last kiss or to leave and comeback to check on her several times before making your final departure, but don’t give into temptation. Doing so just prolongs the goodbye and makes the transition more difficult for you both. If you have a trusted caregiver, trust her to do her job and redirect your child after you leave.
Mornings don’t have to be filled with mayhem. With a little planning and preparation, you can start your day off on time.
Mary Zambri is one of several 2012 Working Mothers of the Year selected by Working Mother Magazine. Mary is mom to Shane, 4, and Montana, 1, and works as vice president of ad sales for Viacom Media Network’s Music and Entertainment.
Mary is a caring mother of two young boys and a high-performing ad sales executive who has faced tremendous hardship over the past couple of years. Her can-do approach and unwavering optimism have always been positively contagious, but since her husband was diagnosed with cancer during her second pregnancy two years ago, she has shined and truly become an inspiration to her coworkers at Viacom. They say that Mary doesn’t let anything get her down. Instead, she spins adversity into strength, insisting that like anything else, it’s all about what you do with what you’re dealt.
Even in the midst of balancing her husband’s rounds of chemo, surgery and medical appointments, plus the general stress and anxiety of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis—not to mention the demands of a 4-year-old and 16-month-old at home—Mary remains focused at work and caring about the needs of others, including clients and her team. Although it requires extra coordination and communication on her part, Mary supports a job-share between two women on her team; she cares about fostering an inclusive and supportive environment at work.
Mary can find the good in any obstacle, professional or personal. She inspires others to do the same, just as her confidence and willingness to find solutions motivates those around her. Her approach is truly inspirational to working women and moms, to female and male associates at work, to families facing cancer and to anyone fortunate enough to cross paths with this exemplary working mother.
Excerpted from Working Mother Magazine website (www.workingmother.com/best-company-list)