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Who Works at Home?

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Though it’s easy to think of work-at-home moms as a new phenomenon, women have earned income from home while raising children for centuries. What’s really changed is the type of work that moms do at home. Work-at-home moms of the past were often limited to childcare, sewing or other domestic jobs. Today, the many types of jobs for work-at-home moms reflect the diversity of careers now available to women.

Take a look at these real-life examples of parents who support their families while working from home.

Corporate Telecommuters

Telecommuting is on the rise as companies become more supportive of the idea. New mobile office technology has made connecting home and office simpler.
    Maureen Burr
    Like many successful telecommuters, Maureen did not find a work-at-home job, but created one. After her first child was born, she parlayed her existing job into a telecommuting arrangement and gave up her 1 ½-hour commute into New York City.

    Though she briefly tried to reduce to part-time in addition to telecommuting, she found that the job demanded a full-time presence. She has always employed full-time child care. A promotion has meant more time away from her home office, but most days she still enjoys after-school kisses and a commute of just a few steps to her home office.

Telecommuters Working Non-Traditional Hours

While many telecommuters work 9-5 hours like their coworkers in the office, some companies allow (or in this case even need) telecommuting employees to work other hours.

Susan Rush
Starting at 5:00 a.m., Susan Rush gets a couple hours of work done before her two children even wake. The Denver mother oversees a nationwide team of freelance writers that produces a.m. newsletters. Her Mountain Time location, in an industry that runs on EST, makes it possible for her to end her work day by mid afternoon.

Like Maureen, Susan’s telecommuting job grew from an existing relationship. Originally working as a freelancer, she declined when first tapped for the management position until the company offered it as a telecommuting job.

Writers and Editors

Perhaps one of the most portable careers, writing has a wide pay range. Beginners can gain experience by creating a blog or writing for low (or even no) pay.

Laureen and Rich Brunelli
My husband and I are both full-time, home-based freelance writers and editors. I began freelancing when our oldest was born in 1996. A decade later, my husband gave up his two-hour commute into Washington, D.C.

We concentrate our work efforts from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. when our three children are in school, adding in early morning, weekend or evening hours as needed. In summer we cobble together a child care plan that includes camp, grandparents, art classes, babysitters, outings with one parent while the other works, and additional off-hours work.

Artists and Artisans

Who says an artist's life doesn't pay? If you can find a market for either your artistic designs or creative services, you have the beginnings of a great home-based business.

Theresa Carson
The Baltimore jewelry designer has never had a job outside her home. She began creating and selling her own silver designs after college. Three children (including a set of twins) later, she's still at it. As a bit of a night owl, she's always preferred to do the creative work after dark, a schedule that integrated well into family life.

The trickiest thing is lining up overnight care for the kids, now in elementary school, when she and her husband go on the road to sell their wares. Usually, relatives help out. Occasionally, they bring the kids along.

Living Over the Shop

Though more traditional 50 years ago, living atop a restaurant or business is still an option. Many urban retail spaces still have apartments above them.

Antoinette and Mike Lippy
The decision to live above their vegetarian juice bar and coffeehouse with their two sons reflects an integration of Mike and and Antoinette's personal philosophies and professional skills.

The two vegetarians used their expertise in the food service industry when taking the leap into business ownership. The seven-year age gap between their boys means juggling the needs of different ages and stages. Though they share in the cooking and other duties, Mike spends more time in front, and Antoinette, a talented baker, works behind the scenes and does more child care.
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