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The Work-at-Home Mom

Moms are re-entering the workforce on their own terms.

In 2009, Lisa Melli Gillespie was at a career crossroads. A business prospect had dissolved, and her son and daughter were getting older. She felt lost with newfound time on her hands until she saw a magazine article encouraging her to say “yes” to new experiences. That spawned her idea to try “101 New Experiences in 1,001 Days,” beginning in January 2010.

The journey exceeded 101 experiences, helping Gillespie establish an artistic-soap company in her Boulder home. Learning to make soap in 2013 was “experience 120,” she says, and soon neighbors, friends and relatives were begging for more of her unique, artistic soap. “That started to make me think it could be more of a business than a hobby,” she says.

Earning Income While Caretaking

Gillespie is one of a growing number of women redefining what it means to be a stay-at-home mom by adding family income, either via in-home businesses or telecommuting jobs.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of stay-at-home moms (62 percent) contribute to their household income, and 25 percent said they ran a business from home, according to the 2016 survey, The Mom Gig. Launched by and conducted by Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, the study illustrates the prevalence of today’s work-at-home moms.

“It turns out that staying at home has become a gig all on its own,” Vanderkam says. “Because most of today’s stay-at-home moms aren’t just taking care of their kids—they”re caretaking and working.”

Denver-based career coach Anne Gottlieb Angerman says she often consults with stay-at-home moms who find themselves job-searching.

“Especially for first-time moms, they”re very excited about staying home,” she says. “It seems so romantic to be at home with kids.” But oftentimes, she says, moms are soon compelled to find work, either due to increased financial demands associated with raising kids or simply a need for a purpose outside of motherhood. “I think a lot of (job-searching) depends on if the woman has had a profession before,” Angerman says.

The Value of Keeping Your Skills Up

French teacher Melissa Gherardi, a Longmont mom, was shocked at how difficult it was just to get a job interview after a five-year hiatus while staying home with her daughter, despite having a master’s degree.

“I decided that if I couldn’t fill the work-experience void on my resume from my time as a stay-at-home mom maybe I could start to close it a little by volunteering,” Gherardi says.

With her daughter in kindergarten, she began volunteering once a week as an Adult English-Language Learners teacher at a Boulder-based church school. Three years later, she landed a part-time job teaching French at a private-language school in Boulder. She can teach anywhere from two to 10 hours weekly during the day to ensure she’s home at night with her family.

Gherardi says getting back to teaching makes her a better mom. “By being away from my home and family, I actually appreciate the time that I have with them more,” she says.

Nurturing Yourself

For Heather Williams, being an interior designer means she’s been able to keep skills fresh by taking on freelance projects that fit into her stay-at-home mom schedule. It’s been critical for the Longmont mom of three boys to maintain her pre-kids career. “It’s more about enjoyment and fulfillment so I don’t feel like I’m getting lost,” she says. “It’s about maintaining my self-worth and sanity.”

Angerman says moms often benefit from a feeling of purpose outside the home. “When you feel some sense of purpose in your life, you’re going to feel better about yourself,” she says. “I think that’s important.”

Advice for Work-From-Home Parents

If you’re thinking of trying to work at home while remaining flexible for children’s schedules, consider these points.

Flexible Work To Consider Based On Your Gifts

Finding Work From Home

After Alaina Forbes had her first child in 2000, she wanted to work from home. But the Littleton mom struggled to find reliable online resources in her job search. “As I researched, I started making a list of legitimate companies that hired work-from-home employees,” she says. “Over the years, I kept getting requests from friends of friends who wanted the list. And I basically eventually turned all that research into my blog.”

Now the mom of four manages social media as a virtual assistant, in addition to earning money from her blog and freelance-writing opportunities. To get started on your own work-from-home job search, check out Forbes” blog at

Other sites she recommends are:

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