Mothers are balancing parenting and career demands by taking on part-time jobs that nurture their passion, and can be done with flexible hours.
On many days, Tracy Goitein, a mother of three children from Rutland, can be found doing a lot of the usual mom bustle: driving her kids to and from school and activities, making dinner, helping with homework. But when all of that is finished for the day, she often turns her attention to making products for her skincare line, Wachusett Naturals. She sells the products on Etsy, at farmers markets, and in some stores. The amount of time she spends working on her business varies weekly and is not often predictable.
“It all depends on how many online orders I receive, if I need to get wholesale orders out to stores, and if I have a market or event that coming weekend,” said Goitein.
Wachusett Naturals started as a hobby for Goitein when she began experimenting with homemade skin treatments for her oldest daughter’s eczema, but it grew from there.
“At first I was just making products for family and friends,” she said. “I was working full-time, taking care of my then two children. When I had baby number three, I decided to make a go out of it.”
Goitein is one of many moms who is bringing in extra income for her family with a “side hustle” -- part-time job that allows her the flexibility to raise her children, but also provides her with money and satisfaction.
According to a survey from Bankrate, Goitein is not alone. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans (37 percent) have a side job. And Pew Research finds nearly half of mothers (47%) think that their ideal situation would be to work part time.
For Goitein, Wachusett Naturals is the ideal way to balance income needs and parenting at this time in her life.
“When I started I just wanted to make a few extra bucks so if I wanted to buy myself something, or buy my husband a gift, I wouldn’t need to ask him for money,” she said. “This business has become more financially than I ever hoped for and I like the independence. I like being my own boss.”
Multiple side hustles for one busy mom
Kacy Zurkus, a mom of two in Lowell, has a collection of side hustles that keep her busy, but also allow her that freedom and flexibility so many parents seek. As a writer and founder of KSZ Freelance, she writes for various clients, mostly providing articles about information security for several publications. She is also a consultant for a wine company, Scout & Cellar, and she is a yoga instructor.
“What I love most is the freedom and flexibility I have in my schedule,” said Zurkus. “The daily news stories need to be filed by a certain time, but other than that, I decide what my day will look like. This means that I get to take my daughters to school every morning, except on Thursdays, when I teach yoga at 7 a.m. I also pick my girls up from school every day.”
But being your own boss, and running your own in-home business, is not without its challenges, said Zurkus, who often struggles with the balance between personal time and professional tasks.
“I’d have to say the greatest challenge is creating boundaries,” she said “When you work for yourself, the lines of where work ends and life begins can often get blurred. It’s a challenge to put down the phone or device, stop checking emails, stop worrying about deadlines and scheduling interviews.”
From part-time hustle to full-time business venture
With time, the side hustle might turn into a successful livelihood. For Cheryl Meyer and Alicia Garbarino of Shrewsbury, their part-time interior design business started as an idea between two moms with a lot in common.
“Alicia and I came together on a baseball field and instantly knew we could build a business together,” said Meyer. “We started working out of our homes and meeting at local coffee shops and any place that had WiFi. We brainstormed, collaborated and started promoting our business through social media platforms and word of mouth.”
Both mom to three kids with lots of parenting responsibilities, Meyer and Garbarino started small with home staging, minor design jobs and paint consults in 2013.
“The first couple of years, our children were young, and we made sure that we scheduled appointments so we could be home with them after school and attend school functions, be home for sick days,” said Garbarino. “After a few years, our business started to really boom, and we had to move to more of a full-time schedule to keep up with the growth.”
Eventually the business partners decided it was time to find a workspace because, as Meyer explained “we had bolts of fabric taking over our homes.” The two took it from a small home-based operation to a bricks and mortar store front, and opened White Cottage, a home decor and custom window treatment shop in Westborough that is now thriving.
“The timing was right for a few reasons; our business was growing, and we needed to really commit the time to it to take it to the next level. And our kids were older and could be home alone after school, make their own snack, get themselves ready for practices. And I was ready to commit to doing something for myself by following my career goals.”
Garbarino said of the many lessons she’s learned over the years as both a mom and a business owner, the most important thing is finding what you enjoy for work. And whatever you choose, part-time work, full-time career, or staying at home, do it without feeling bad about your choice. Every parent has their own individual goals and dreams.
“Let the guilt go, because I had guilt when I stayed home, and there is guilt when you work,” she said. “I want to show my girls that they can be a mom someday while following their dreams, and that there is no roadmap or exact timetable in doing so. Do what you love, and the success will come!”