Single mothers, whether teens like Jamie Lynn Spears, a 17 year old, or established career women, such as Bridget Moynahan, 37, face a common challenge. At some point they need to get back to work so they can start making money.
And while recent box office hits such as Juno (NWS) and Knocked Up (GE) can make unwed motherhood entertaining: The reality is that single motherhood isn’t always fun or glamorous, and it can be especially difficult for girls who are still children themselves.
However, in this very connected world, there are some new options for new mothers.
Victoria Grace, a co-founder of Work It, Mom! says that some of the best resources for moms, at any age, are social networking sites. Both general sites like Facebook or MySpace are great but there are also sites specific to motherhood such as Work it, Mom!, The First 30 Days, a site dedicated to helping people through life changes, and Working Moms Refuge. All of these provide, guidance, advice and help for moms who may be making the decision to head back to work (or into a money-making side gig)."You can post a question or join a group," says Grace. "They are places that all moms can bounce ideas off of each other. Mom’s trust each other so there is a real value to it. They also work because they not only offer advice but emotional support as well.”
CHILD CARE IS KEY
Some of the keys to making a return to the working world are to have an excellent childcare system as well as a flexible schedule. "Moms may feel intense guilt or betrayal at leaving the child," says Ariane de Bonvoisin, founder, CEO of The First 30 Days, Inc. “These emotions are all normal and women should give themselves permission to feel them.”
Working from home is a solution: In this day and age, more and more employers are allowing, mothers to work from home (or come into the office on their own hours). But for the mothers that must spend time in the office, Bonvoisin says “Picking the right caregiver to take care of your child is among the most important keys to your success. Always trust your instinct when it comes to selecting the right candidate. And, once you have chosen a caregiver, establish a solid line of communication from day one. Ask your baby's caregiver to give you more information than you may need during your phone calls and face-to-face chats.”
MAKING HOME WORK
For many moms making their homes their new office is the best choice. As MainStreet reported previously, using sites such as Merchant Moms can help recent mom's turn their business ideas into real money making situations. 'Momprenuers' can then turn motherhood into a business by starting an enterprise that stem from experiences they had either during their pregnancy or after birth. (For instance, Helene Byrne started Be-Fit-Mom, an online resource for moms with information on prenatal and postpartum fitness, when she was unable to find the information she desired after the birth of her son.)
With their convenient at-home set-up, such money making moms are able to be with their children on their own time while also bringing in an income to help support their families. "Being a momprenuer allows you a way to live by your own value system," says Byrne. "And, to raise your kids in a way that is appropriate for you."
GETTING BACK TO SCHOOL
Not all moms are heading back to work. Some need to finish, or begin, a college degree. Hitting the books is expensive with a baby to take care of, however, there are resources available. For example, Project Working Mom, which is sponsored by Education Dynamics and eLearners.com, provides mothers with the opportunity to receive a full-ride scholarship to online colleges and universities.
"In light of today’s competitive job market, a college degree is more important than ever," says Terrence Thomas, EVP Marketing Operations at Education Dynamics, whose company provides tips on how to succeed as an online student. "Project Working Mom allows women to learn how online education can help them overcome the barriers of time, money and confidence to earn their degree."
It remains to be seen what Jamie Lynn Spears, the star of Nickelodeon’s (VIA) Zoey 101, will do in terms of work (or school) as she raises her daughter, Maddie Briann. However, experts agree that it is important for all mothers to get on a career track where they can make a positive impact on their lives and their children’s lives. Just remember, what works for some mom’s doesn’t work for all moms. "I don't think there is such a thing as balance," says Grace. "It's all about integrating your home and work life. The word balance, in itself, stresses me out. I think the meaning of balance is different for each mom.”