Archive for the ‘working moms’ Category


10 golden rules for business success

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Lorena Orvananos Roqueni, Lemonade Day

Your little one is SO ready to start her new business and put into action this big idea that’s been in her head for a while. That itself indicates your child is confident, adventurous and a change-maker. But before you go any further, STOP! Not so fast. I want to share a little secret that can be the difference between failure and success. Ready? There are people out there who have walked the path your son or daughter is about to walk, so don’t let him or her waste time making the same mistakes.

Share these 10 golden rules successful businesspeople have followed to make it to their goal:

  1. FIND YOUR PASSION. Don’t choose to start a business only for the money. The road to making it to the top is not easy, but finding something you love doing will make it worth it.
  2. FIND A NEED, AND FILL IT. Be sure that your business gives a service or offers a product that will satisfy a need in the market and it’s not something that only you like. For example: You just love your hot chocolate secret recipe, and so do your friends, but it happens to be summer! Unless you’re planning to sell your hot chocolate on an ice skating rink, you would do better with selling fresh lemonade.
  3. BE UNIQUE. Your product or service needs to have something special that makes it stand out from the rest; that way you’ll be confident when competition arrives.
  4. THINK BIG, START SMALL. Watch for your costs very closely. Don’t spend money buying expensive things, be creative and always look for the best prices. Hire people to help you only if you really need those extra hands.
  5. SET GOALS. Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, that way you’ll know when it’s time to celebrate.
  6. HAVE A PLAN. Who, Where, When, How. I know you are dying to go out and start your business, but believe me, having a plan will save you time and money at the end. Think about WHO will buy from you, WHERE will you be offering it, and WHAT will make you stand out. This is the time to think HOW you will let people know about your business, and how much you will need to invest.
  7. GIVE A GREAT SERVICE. Above all things, people will remember how you make them feel. When in front of a customer, always be kind, make them feel special and always show your best smile.
  8. NETWORK. When you are starting a business, “word of mouth” is a great way to let people know you are in business. Share what you are doing with as many people as you can: your friends at school, with your parents’ friends, at your after-school classes and through social media.
  9. PERSEVERE. Failure is part of reaching your goal, learn from your mistakes and keep moving. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
  10. GIVE BACK. I leave the best lesson for last. Whether it’s your time or money, think of ways you can give back to make this a better world. Can you share some of the lemonade from your sale to your neighbor who is sick? What about donating part of your sales to your favorite charity? Try it; you will feel great!

Lorena Orvananos Roqueni is a Lemonade Day mom whose children have participated in Lemonade Day for multiple years and who have won the Best Tasting Lemonade contest. Lemonade Day is a 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the principles to start a successful company of any size. Learn more at


Poll finds attitude shift among working moms

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Working mothers increasingly want full-time jobs, and tough economic times might be a big reason, according to a national survey.

In the Pew Research Center study being released Thursday, researchers saw a big spike in the share of working mothers who said they’d prefer to work full time; 37 percent said that was their ideal, up from 21 percent in 2007.

The poll comes amid a national debate on women in the workplace ignited by top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who writes in a new book about the need for women to be more professionally aggressive.

In “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg argues that women have not made true progress in the workplace over the past decade and that they need to raise their hands more and “lean in” if they want to land more senior positions in corporate America.

The shift toward full-time work in the Pew poll, however, coincides with the recession and may have less to do with career ambitions than with financial realities.

“Women aren’t necessarily evolving toward some belief or comfort level with work,” says study co-author Kim Parker, an associate director at the center. “They are also reacting to outside forces and in this case, it is the economy.”

Among women who said their financial situations aren’t sufficient to meet basic expenses, about half said working full time was best for them. Of the women who said they live comfortably, only 31 percent said full time was their best situation.

Melody Armstrong, 34, of Hampton, N.H., works full time and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It works better for my family, and for our finances,” Armstrong said in an interview. “It helps pay the bills and we can enjoy the lifestyle we have. We need to have two incomes.”

Armstrong and her husband have six children between them, a blended family with one child off to college and a baby at home. She works for Double Black Imaging, a Colorado-based company that sells medical monitors. Armstrong says her company gives her the flexibility she needs to work her sales position from home.

“I do some work early in the morning or after dinner,” Armstrong says, and can adjust around her children’s school and sports schedules.

Mothers’ attitudes — both for those who work outside the home and those who don’t — have changed significantly. Among women with children under 18 years old, the proportion of those who say they would prefer to work full time has increased from 20 percent in 2007 to 32 percent last year.

When all adults were asked about working moms, however, just 16 percent said the best situation for a young child is to have a mother working full time. Slightly over 40 percent said part time was ideal, and one-third said staying home was best for kids.

Guiomar Ochoa, 38, of Chevy Chase, Md., has two young children and works full time. She says she’d rather work part time but says it’s just not an option for her family.

“We just can’t afford to not have two full-time incomes,” Ochoa says. “We wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.”

Ochoa, an international specialist with the National Endowment for the Arts, says she’s doing her best to juggle her career and caring for her children.

“I’ve done a really good job of wearing my mom hat when I get home and putting everything aside as far as work goes and focusing on them,” said Ochoa.

Most moms in the poll expressed confidence as parents. Nearly three-quarters of mothers with children under 18 said they were doing an excellent or very good job raising their children. Fathers were asked that question, too, and 64 percent gave themselves high marks.

Other findings in the poll:

  • Roughly half of working mothers and fathers say they would rather be home with their children but work because they need the income.
  • Fifty-six percent of working mothers and 50 percent of working fathers say it’s either very or somewhat difficult for them to balance work and family.
  • Forty percent of working mothers with children under 18 and 34 percent of working fathers say they always feel rushed.

The Pew Research findings are based on a survey of 2,511 adults nationwide conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 5, 2012. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.


Telecommuting: Was Yahoo doing it right?

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Yahoo’s leaked edict under CEO Marissa Mayer that calls remote workers back to the office lit the Twitterverse on fire, angering advocates of telecommuting and other programs intended to balance work and home life.

A new study from the nonprofit Families and Work Institute shows a tide moving the other way, with more workers now telecommuting — and men significantly more likely than women to be granted the freedom to work at least partially at home.

Left mostly unanswered is the question Mayer appears to be dealing with: Is that a good thing? Or has the rise in telecommuting led to a drop in productivity or creativity?

Chances are, one telework supporter said, the tech giant just wasn’t doing it right.

“If you don’t know where your people are and what they’re doing, then you haven’t implemented properly, so she’s got her hands full,” said Kate Lister in San Diego, Calif., co-founder of Global Workplace Analytics, which collects data on the subject for its Telework Research Network.

Slogging through decades of research on the value of telecommuting is complicated. Small studies have been done by employer membership organizations, companies looking at their own ranks, consulting firms and government agencies, along with academics. Some use small samples, others rely on a wild array of statistics from the U.S. Census, the Small Business Administration or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The verdicts are mixed and the research often so focused on a work force or issue related to flex options that it’s difficult to make conclusions.

The new Families and Work Institute study, on the other hand, deals solely with employers in the U.S., delving into a broad range of family friendly programs, policies and benefits. The institute found that 63 percent of employers surveyed allow at least some employees to work partially at home on an occasional basis. That’s up from 34 percent in a comparable study done for the institute in 2005.

More of the workers were higher-wage earners. Overall, the number of employees who work entirely from home was 3 percent, compared to 64 percent who sometimes do, said Ellen Galinsky, the institute’s president and co-founder.

Men were significantly more likely than women to work partially at home — 67 percent compared to 59 percent of women, partially a reflection of more men in jobs where the option is possible. Men also were more likely to work mainly from home.

Neither Lister nor Galinsky has the inside scoop on what’s happening at Yahoo, but Galinsky was steadfast about one thing.

“To take away all flexibility for everyone all the time is an overreaction,” she said. “If you know that people will be more innovative and collaborative by being together, that is a positive. But sometimes people need time alone. Why do the best ideas occur in the shower, or when we’re walking the dog?”

Galinsky and others who study work-life balance don’t anticipate a backlash among other employers due to Yahoo. And the company itself followed up an internal memo leaked to the tech blog All things D with a curt statement indicating the prohibition might not be forever.

Meantime, Lister said about 2.5 percent of the U.S. civilian population, or about 3 million people, work at home at least half the time, according to U.S. Census data. The rate of growth was slowed by the recession, with some researchers suggesting it’s flat at the moment.

Why isn’t the number even higher? “The biggest reason is that managers don’t trust their employees,” Lister said. “They’re still managing the 21st-century work force with 20th-century styles of commands and controls, back to the days of sweatshops and typing pools. They like to be able to see the backs of their heads.”

The perceived benefits for workers are clear. While 37 percent of the companies in Galinsky’s report cite retention of employees as the main reason for developing workplace flexibility and other programs, Lister said 90 percent of teleworkers “feel being able to work flexibly improves their quality of life.”

But what about for employers?

The leaked Yahoo memo, written by Jackie Reses, the company’s human resources director, said in part:

“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meeting. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Researchers in the field note a dearth in credible studies that confirm a boost in creative flow or innovation from face time.

And telecommuting may actually boost productivity, at least where it stands in the number of hours worked, said researchers Mary C. Noonan and Jennifer L. Glass in a study of telecommuting published last June in the Monthly Labor Review, a publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The two studied employees who work regularly but not exclusively from home and found that for them, telecommuting was not a substitute for working onsite during an agreed upon work week but rather was in addition to a full week, at least half the time.

“People have only looked at the benefits without seeing that maybe some of these policies can come back to bite you,” said Noonan, a sociologist who teaches classes on the American family and statistics at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Parents, Glass said, are no more likely to telecommute than non-parents; women no more likely than men.

The report from the Families and Work Institute said gains have been made in other flex options as well as working from home over the seven-year period covered. The offer of flex time, for instance, increased to 77 percent from 66 percent. Daily time off when important needs arise went from 77 percent to 87 percent.

The institute’s survey, conducted by Harris Interactive by phone and questionnaire, included 1,126 U.S. employers with 50 or more workers.

Galinsky had expected the recession would squeeze workplace flexibility, and attributes much of the gains to companies looking to cut real estate costs and other expenses. Of companies with at least eight family-friendly policies, she said, 9 percent cited increased productivity as the reason. Five percent cited increasing employee commitment or engagement. One percent cited recruiting and retaining women.

Only 10 percent of the employers in the study cited a potential loss of productivity and difficulty supervising staff as reasons for not adopting more family-friendly policies. Twenty five percent cited cost, 12 percent cited job requirements and workloads, and 7 percent potential abuse.

Some have decried the Yahoo ban as something that would hurt women — an especially heated argument because Mayer had become a potent feminist symbol when she was hired last July while pregnant.

But Galinsky said most companies offer flexibility because of benefits to the bottom line rather than a commitment to work-family balance.

After the revelation, Yahoo urged the world not to read too much into the ban beyond the walls of Yahoo itself. The company has declined further comment.

Glass, a professor of sociology and population research at the University of Texas at Austin, suspects little to no reliable research supports the notion that hallway meetings are anything more than gossip sessions or recaps of baseball scores from the night before. Does proximity, in this age of videoconferencing, social networks and other tools, still matter?

“Certainly there is nothing out there that you can easily find that suggests innovation is linked to face time,” she said.

Some former Yahoos, as company employees are called, have been quoted anonymously in news and blog reports as saying dead wood is hiding at home and the ban isn’t such a bad idea.

“If you’ve got a performance issue with people, deal with that as a performance issue,” Galinsky said. “If people are slacking off and not working, then deal with it that way. This was a blunt instrument.”


Bring your personality into your workspace

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By JENNIFER FORKER, Associated Press

We focus so much energy turning a house into a home, we sometimes forget to aim our decorating genius in another notable direction: the office cubicle.

Home often expresses who we are, filled as it is with accumulated treasures and trinkets. But skip on over to the office cubicle — or, for that matter, an office with actual walls — and it can be a different story.

Some offices “are so dated. It’s wallpaper from the ‘70s, falling-apart furniture and stacks of files — generally, an overall mess,” says Sayeh Pezeshki, a designer who blogs about decor at The Office Stylist.

Considering how much time many people spend at work, “Your work space should be cheery and it should be fun, and it should be personal to you,” says Sabrina Soto, designer host of HGTV’s “The High/Low Project.”

A soothing environment cuts down on work stress, designers believe.

“It really does affect the way that you work and the way that you feel,” says Pezeshki.

And, she says, “You don’t have to spend a lot of money” doing it.

Bob Richter, an interior designer and cast member of PBS’ treasure-hunting series “Market Warriors,” visits flea markets wherever he travels, returning home with one-of-a-kind mementos.

“I feel like a cubicle or a small office should feel like a small apartment,” says Richter, who lives in a small New York City apartment. “Things have to be tidy but there also has to be an opportunity to store things easily.”

Richter suggests combing flea markets for unusual boxes and baskets for storing supplies on an office desk. He uses old metal coffee tins and vintage ceramic planters for holding pens and other supplies.

“There’s a nostalgic vibe to these items,” Richter says.

Soto suggests using lacquered boxes or stylish fiberboard boxes, like those sold at The Container Store.

Good lighting, an attractive memo board, and at least one living plant or cut flowers are also essential for cultivating good cubicle ambiance.

Bring a desk lamp from home for task lighting; it’ll cheer up the space.

Bring in low-water, low-light plants — at least one. Two plants that are good at surviving indoor light are pothos and heartleaf philodendron. Peace lilies also crave low light and are excellent at cleaning indoor air.

“Keep one on your desk,” says Richter. “It feels like there’s life there.”

For the memo board, Richter suggests framing a section of cork, dry-erase board or good-quality plywood painted with chalkboard paint. Frame it in a vintage frame — it’s a tenth the price of a new frame, he says — or float the memo board inside the cubicle wall’s frame.

Soto likes to paint her frames in bright colors, as does Pezeshki, who’s all in for the bling. Her own office — not a cubicle — is painted black, purple and metallic silver. Its silver accents include a gallery wall of ornate frames and a large floor lamp.

“It’s very glam, because I’m very glam,” says Pezeshki. “I like shiny things and blingy things.”

That’s the important thing: to decorate your cubicle according to your own personality, the three designers say.

If you like sports, use memorabilia. If you’re a movie fan, go that route.

“For me, a place I want to be is a place surrounded by the things I love,” says Richter. “I think (the office cubicle) is an area where you can let your personality do the talking.”

More tips:

  • Keep it tasteful, says Richter, and check with your human resources manager before turning a cubicle into a fully furnished room. “There’s a fine line between personalizing your desk and going overboard,” he says.
  • Ditch the sticky notes and the hanging calendar, which add clutter, Soto says. Lean a small dry-erase board against one wall and jot down notes there. Use an electronic calendar.
  • Hang an attractive fabric along the cubicle walls, attaching it with decorative push-pins. Hang framed artwork. “Anything to make the cubicle walls look like normal walls,” Soto says.
  • Cover bookshelves and cabinets with printed contact paper. “It instantly pulls together the look,” Pezeshki says. Pick five or six things currently sitting on your desk and replace them – pencil holder, frames, tape dispenser – with the look you want.
  • — Add silver accents. And paint whatever you can, Pezeshki advises, including the metal “in/out” box for papers.

Report: One in six kids has unemployed parent

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Anika Myers Palm, Orlando Sentinel

It’s not a secret that the national economic crisis has affected nearly every American family, but economists and researchers are now finding ways to quantify how it has affected children specifically.

The most recent staggering number from a new study: More than one of every six American kids has a parent who is unemployed or underemployed — that’s more than 6.2 million kids, according to a National Journal report.

The study, by Julia Isaacs of the Urban Institute, also found that the families of only about one in three eligible children receive unemployment insurance and about 29 percent of children whose families are eligible for federal food support benefits are not receiving those benefits.

Children in such families can perform poorly in school, are more likely to suffer family violence and are more likely to be hungry.

The good news is that more of those unemployed and underemployed parents are reentering the workforce, according to the National Journal Report.

Isaacs’ study is called “Unemployment from a Child’s Perspective.”


Read the study, “Unemployment from a Child’s Perspective,” here (PDF):


Cheering, and aching for, new Yahoo CEO and mom-to-be Marissa Mayer

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Rachel Wilner, San Jose Mercury News

Recently, after getting my two young kids fed and to bed, I sat down at my computer and clicked on a Facebook link announcing the news that Marissa Mayer, the new Yahoo CEO, was pregnant. My first thought? You go, girl!

And then I read this quote from Mayer: “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.” And I literally gasped.

I am a conscientious objector in the mommy wars. I happen to be a full-time working mother of daughter who is 4 (“and three-quarters!” she will tell you) and a 7-month-old son who started day care this week. But a mother’s choice to stay home with her kids is something I admire and in some ways envy.

So the thought of Mayer juggling her high-pressure job with healing from childbirth, getting to know her newborn son and making the transition from couple to family makes me positively ache for her.

I can’t reconcile my gut reaction with what my head tells me: that women — particularly a woman as obviously extraordinary as Mayer — can do whatever they choose, and do it well. And it’s not as if I think Mayer shouldn’t take the job; of course she should.

But maybe that’s the point. Motherhood makes you understand more deeply than ever that your head isn’t always the best arbiter of what’s possible, or of what’s right.

I know plenty of accomplished moms, and while none is a CEO of a gigantic tech company, many have big responsibilities. Not one thought her months-long maternity leave was too long. Everyone was still discombobulated, sleep-deprived and confused — if not clinically depressed — when they went back to work.

Before going on my first maternity leave five years ago, I had no idea what was coming. I was the sports editor here at the time, and at my going-away party, I remember telling the staff I was looking forward to seeing the newspaper with fresh eyes, without considering our internal machinations. My boss at the time, a relatively new dad, burst out laughing at the thought of me having the time to do that.

Of course Mayer is different than most of the moms you or I know. She will have nannies and housekeepers. She won’t have to entertain a preschooler while simultaneously trying to get a newborn to latch properly and figuring out how to get dinner on the table. She won’t have to make the daily choice: I have time to shower or eat — which is more important? And she’s clearly possessed of an ambition that allows her to accomplish loads more than I could ever dream.

But even given those advantages, she will struggle emotionally with being a new mother, just like everyone else. She will be doing that just three months after taking over as a high-profile CEO of a company in crisis. And realistically, she won’t be able to take any time for herself.

Marissa Mayer has a tough road ahead. I will be cheering for her, and aching for her, every step of the way.

Rachel Wilner is an editorial writer for the San Jose Mercury News.


Yahoo CEO’s pregnancy reignites a perennial debate

Posted by Lorain County Moms

JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer

NEW YORK — “Another piece of good news today,” tweeted the expectant mom, announcing to her online followers that she and her husband are awaiting a baby boy.

But this wasn’t just any excited mom-to-be. This was 37-year-old Marissa Mayer, the newly named CEO of Yahoo — obviously a huge achievement for anyone, but especially for a woman in the male-dominated tech industry. And she was about six months pregnant, to boot.

Exciting news — especially for Mayer and her husband, of course — but did it mean something for the rest of us, too? Was it a watershed moment in the perennial debate over whether women can “have it all,” with the pendulum swinging happily in the positive direction?

Or was it, as some claimed in the inevitable back-and-forth on Twitter, actually a development that would increase pressure on other working moms, who might not have nearly the resources that Mayer does, in terms of wealth, power, talent and flexibility on the job?

Or was it even sexist to raise the question at all? Would anyone be saying anything if the new Yahoo CEO were an expectant father? No, went a frequent online thread: No one would even pay attention to that.

What was clear was that Mayer’s situation as a pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company is not only rare, but probably unique. She becomes only the 20th current female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, according to Catalyst, an organization that tracks women’s advancement in the workplace. If it sounds like a lot, it’s not; that’s only four percent of Fortune 500 chiefs.

There is little or no research tracking whether any have been pregnant while in that job, but a look at the other current female Fortune 500 CEOs shows that the vast majority are well into their 50s, and thus presumably well out of maternity-leave territory.

Mayer, who left Google to take the new job, wasn’t speaking — tied up with her first-day responsibilities Tuesday at Yahoo, she declined interview requests, including one from The Associated Press. But on Monday, she told Fortune magazine that the Yahoo board “showed their evolved thinking” by hiring a pregnant chief executive, and that she plans to take only a few weeks maternity leave — during which she would work throughout.

That raised a few eyebrows among some who suspected it might not be as easy as the first-time mom thinks.

“She will also, I am betting, not power through quite as single-mindedly on her maternity leave as she thinks she will,” wrote Lisa Belkin on her Huffington Post blog.

Many speculated that, like other working moms, Mayer would find her attentions and energies divided well beyond maternity leave.

“Anyone can have it all,” said Julie Marrs, a sales administrator in Conroe, Texas, “but maybe not be as successful at everything as one hopes.” Marrs, a mother of two boys who works full-time, said she has learned the hard way that something always gets sacrificed.

“There are times that I am so mentally drained when I get home from work that I definitely do not spend the time I should with my kids,” she said in an email message. “Whether it be working on homework, reading books, playing a game or simply talking about their day. I try my best, but realize that to ‘have it all,’ something will be sacrificed. It could be takeout four nights during the week instead of a hot, home-cooked meal. Or it could be hearing your child read their first story book.”

While most online chatter about Mayer was full of praise for both her and Yahoo and sometimes saying “You CAN have it all!,” there were those who said Mayer was perhaps not the best example to prove such a thesis.

One of them was Anne-Marie Slaughter, whose online lament last month on The Atlantic’s website — “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” — unleashed a furious debate, showing that while the question might be a perennial one, it hasn’t lost any punch.

“Well, I think it’s fabulous news,” Slaughter said of Mayer’s appointment and pregnancy in a telephone interview. But, she suggested, Mayer’s situation — with her wealth, prominence and power — has little concrete relevance to the lives of ordinary women. (Mayer’s personal wealth has been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, largely due to Google stock that she owns.)

“We all applaud her,” Slaughter said. “But she’s superhuman, rich, and in charge. She isn’t really a realistic role model for hundreds of thousands of women who are trying to figure out how you make it to the top AND have a family at the same time.”

She also noted that Mayer had arrived at her position of prominence by following the route many working women in Slaughter’s generation — she is 53 — had followed, including Slaughter herself: waiting until after 35 to have a child, so as to first establish yourself professionally.

“It’s a risky route, because of that biological clock,” she noted.

While many applauded Mayer’s achievement, a few were disappointed that the big news of her pregnancy was, well, big news.

“It is great that Marissa Mayer is pregnant,” tweeted writer Rebecca Traister. “But the intensity of reaction is slightly depressing. Kind of as if they’d hired a yeti.”

Catalyst, the organization that tracks women in the workplace, also noted that it hopes one day, “there will no longer be a need to count” the women CEOs in the Fortune 500. Others called Mayer a role model, but then said they wish that she didn’t have to be.

Jen Singer, a mommy blogger based in New Jersey, had another concern. Mayer, she said, was certainly going to have more flexibility, being at the top. But, she added, “She also has more responsibility.”

“When most women announce their pregnancies, it doesn’t affect the value of the company’s stock. Just like Steve Jobs for a time insisted his health was fine to protect Apple, Mayer must look like she can have the baby and handle the company at the same time.

“I just hope she doesn’t screw it up for the rest of us,” Singer said. “Because whether she likes it or not, she is now the poster child for working mothers.”


12 great jobs for military spouses

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Melba Newsome, contributor

The Department of Defense reports that 85 percent of military spouses want or need to work.

The good news? This population has more education and training than the general public. 84 percent have some college, 25 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 10 percent have an advanced degree. And that doesn’t take into account their other marketable skills. Because 35 percent of military spouses in the workforce are in jobs that require a professional license, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden announced a goal for license portability for military spouses to be passed in all 50 states by 2014, as part of their work with Joining Forces.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is developing partnerships with local, national and international businesses to support the workforce needs of both military spouses and businesses. Through MSEP, Fortune 500 “PLUS” companies across America are partnering with the Department of Defense to create employment and career opportunities for spouses. The impressive list of employers includes Microsoft, Hyatt, Amazon, CVSCaremark, DELL, H&R Block and many other marquee employers who value military spouses.

“Our partners recognize that military spouses bring reliability, adaptability, knowledge and skills that put them head and shoulders above other candidates,” says MSEP Program Manager, Dr. Lillie Cannon. “Federal employers give preference to military spouses and private employers make an effort to employ them.” Cannon advises job seekers to start their search at their military readiness offices and check with the MSEP website to see which jobs are available in the area. (Check out this list of Military Spouse Friendly Employers: )

With the help of MSEP, we have also come up with this list of 12 ways military spouses can turn their education and/or skills into a money-making venture regardless of location.

  1. Direct selling: Become a representative for an established, direct marking firm like Mary Kay, Avon, Stella & Dot or Pampered Chef. Most require a small but affordable investment for the sales materials and products necessary to get started. Consultants sell door-to-door or organize home parties.
  2. Child care and babysitting: Good, reliable childcare is always in demand so start your own childcare and babysitting service for parents in your area. Having experience with your own children will probably give you a leg up on the competition. Be sure to familiarize yourself with state laws for caring for children, especially if hosting them in your home.
  3. Selling handcrafted goods online: Websites like and are the equivalent of eBay for handcrafted or artisan goods. If you have a knack for creating artsy crafts, supplies, jewelry or art, you have the potential of earning hundreds of dollars each month.
  4. Tutoring and substitute teaching: Proficient in math, science or English? Hang out your tutoring shingle! Also, websites like and need tutors to work with students online from their home computers for almost every subject. The pay varies depending on the subject and the number of hours. Every school district in the country needs quality subs and the flexibility makes this a very appealing job for military spouses. Most fill-ins will need a college degree but qualifications vary from state to state. Check with your state education department to learn if you qualify and how to start working in your area school district.
  5. Errand runner: Whether they are elderly, busy or simply lack a car, many people need help with time-consuming tasks like picking up the dry cleaning, grocery shopping or renewing their auto registration. That’s where you can come in. Establish an errand business and earn extra cash being a go-fer for others.
  6. Catering and/or cake-making: Those hours spent watching the Food Network might be the genesis of a money-making plan. If you have great culinary chops, try catering parties or backyard cookouts, selling homemade baked goods or offer your services as a personal chef. A course in cake decoration, candy making, and baking from a community college or gourmet food shop can boost your presentation skills.
  7. Pet services: Turn your love of pets into some extra cash by caring for animals for people who travel or work long hours. While most pet owners need help with dogs and cats, be prepared to care for rabbits, snakes, hamsters, birds and fish, too. Listing your services on Craigslist or posting flyers at neighborhood pet stores and veterinary offices can drive customers your way. A mobile dog and cat grooming business can also bring in consistent income.
  8. Gift basket creator: Use your creative flair to create beautiful gift baskets. Package gifts and goodies in attractive baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags for special occasions like baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries or holidays and market them via word-of-mouth, brochures or a dedicated website.
  9. Personal trainer: Are you in great shape? Do people often ask you to share your fitness tips? Instead of giving away the store, hire yourself out for personal training sessions. Your chances of getting a job at a gym or fitness studio are good since staff turnover is high.
  10. Administrative assisting: This is one of the largest occupations in the country. Your office and computer skills can land you a job in a variety of settings including schools, government agencies, or a variety of corporate settings.
  11. Information technology (IT) specialist: Temporary agencies and MSEP partners like Microsoft and Dell are consistently in need of workers in this portable, high-growth and high-demand field.
  12. Tax preparer: Each year, large tax-preparation firms such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt train and employ tens of thousands of people to prepare tax returns in their storefront offices. Any background in accounting and bookkeeping will undoubtedly give you a leg up on the competition.
  13. Consistent “temp” work: Local temporary agencies, as well as national ones like Manpower and Kelly Services, provide an opportunity to work in your field of expertise or learn a new skill. Another great resource for hourly work is is an online service that matches families with great caregivers for children, seniors, pets and more.


Report: Working moms happier than stay-at-home moms

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Jennifer Berger, Newsday

On any given day, if you ask how I feel about being a working mom, my response will vary. On Mondays, for example, I’m riddled with guilt and miss Maggie terribly after I leave her in the morning. On other days, I confess, I’m eager to get to work, but she’s never out of my mind. Would I say that I am happier than moms who stay at home? I don’t know. The grass is always greener …

According to a new Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women in 2012, working moms tend to be happier and report fewer signs of depression, sadness and anger than stay-at-home moms. The study also reports that stay-at-home moms lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily emotions. They are less likely to say they smiled, laughed or experienced enjoyment “yesterday.”

I love that I am able to raise a family and have a career — a career I genuinely enjoy. This works for us. Who knows what the rest of my life will bring and if I will be happy one way or another later on, but for now, I’m content. I know that Maggie is well taken care of, and I can’t explain how I feel driving home after work knowing I’m going to see her. Whether we go for a walk, read books, have a dance party — it’s the quality of time I spend with her that matters most, regardless of when it is. As any mom can attest, it’s your children’s happiness that matters most.


Six working mom tips from CEO moms

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Josey Miller, contributor

At, founder and CEO Sheila Marcelo is considered a role model: She started the company while raising two young boys, Ryan and Adam. Five years and two office expansions later, it employs more than 100, many of whom are fellow working moms. Executives-by-day/mothers-by-morning-noon-and-night are leading companies across the country. Between conference calls and teacher conferences, they run a household, run a business and back again. Not enough hours in the day? That doesn’t stop these dynamic women. From overcoming mommy guilt to time-management, “me” time and more, we asked them how they manage to do it all. (Or do they?)

Get Past the Mommy Guilt

While 64 percent of working mothers say their job demands don’t interfere with their parenting, according to a new survey of 1,000 working U.S. mothers, the mommy guilt cloud hasn’t lifted entirely. Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder and chairman of, a video shopping website, as well as mother to three children between the ages of three and twelve, says she’s not immune to it: At work, moms feel guilty about what they’re missing at home. And when they’re home, they feel guilty about what they’re missing at work. “How to handle it? ”I try to cut myself some slack, and I’m getting good at living with the guilt or, better yet, (letting) it go.”

According to Wendy Cebula, COO of Vistaprint, a leading online provider of marketing products and services, and mother of two girls, ages six and nine, expecting perfection is setting yourself up for failure: “You can’t do everything at 100 percent-chaperone every field trip and attend every optional work event,” she says. “Set the bar at an achievable level.”

Don’t Bring Work to the Dinner Table

The common theme among working moms as it applies to the overlap between work and home? Technology. “Our ritual is to have a tech-free breakfast together, says Marcelo. Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group, Inc. (formerly The Knot, Inc.) and mother of a teenage girl and two little boys, agrees: ”If I’m home and my kids are awake, I completely shut off the e-mail, Blackberry, and cell phone,“ she says. ”But when they go to bed, the ‘work me’ turns on again.“ After all, without those boundaries, work can slip in everywhere, says Cebula: ”Your kids know if you are not truly focused on them when they want, or need, you to be.”

It may also be comforting to hear that the reverse-making motherhood part of your work persona-may not be as detrimental: “I’ve had my family accompany me on business trips and turned those into a family vacation for them while I worked,” says Stephanie Sonnabend, whose children are now in their twenties, but were much younger when she became president and then CEO of Sonesta Collection of hotels, resorts and cruise ships. “I do not feel this has adversely affected my career.”

Let the Little Things Slide

“Kids come first, always,” says Deborah Fine, president and CEO of Direct Brands, Inc, a direct-to-consumer distributor of media products, as well as mother of two boys. “If the garage doesn’t get cleaned this weekend in lieu of a lacrosse tourney or a swim meet, so be it!” And Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella & Dot, a boutique jewelry company, feels the same way: “An immaculate house is not more important than a good game of UNO.”

So what’s a working mom to do? “Forget about being a Tiger Mom or employee of the month,” suggests Marcelo who says she’s embraced “managed chaos,” as she calls it. Do it all? No. Have it all? Maybe. “Ultimately I hope for balance measured over a lifetime where I look back and can feel as if I had impact in both my career and at home,” Cassidy adds.

Ask for Help

Each executive credits a support system-a spouse, sitters, an executive assistant, parents, neighbors, best friends-when explaining how her working-mom lifestyle is possible. But it was the nannies who earned top honors, described as a “family member,” rather than an “employee” or even a “partner in childcare.” CJ Kettler, founder of, which develops consumer product ideas, says she always felt completely comfortable leaving her nanny in charge: “Your caregiver (should reflect) your family’s priorities and shares the same values.”

“A fresh meal does not need to be prepared by you to be delicious and healthy, and laundry is just as clean when someone else does it,” says Herrin. She says she appreciates the ability to “buy back her time” if it means more opportunities to connect with her kids.

Carve Out Time for Yourself

With the job on the right track and your kids in great hands, it’s important to also take care of yourself _ creating down time when possible. Think of it this way: If you wouldn’t cancel on a client, why would you cancel on yourself? Are you any less of a VIP? “Set aside scheduled time to do the things you love,” Roney says. “For example, tell your husband you need ‘me time’ every Thursday from 7 to 7:30 for a bath, so he’ll have to watch the kids.”

“Find one hour for yourself on the weekend for a manicure, a trip to the salon, a cruise through Target, or to read,” suggests Fine. “Find your detox from the pace.” And she suggests, “Don’t overload your Sunday nights _ create a sense of calm before Monday morning.”

Keep on Keepin’ On

“The boys have a ‘club’ (in the workplace) and so should we,” says Marcelo in regards to women supporting one another. “Be nice, be human, and don’t be afraid to show emotion or reveal your vulnerability.” In fact, as they grow up, your children may be able to step up and offer some assistance, as well: “Raising your kids to be independent will bode well for them and for you,” says Fine.

But you can count on it being complicated: “I have never been afraid of hard work and a full plate,” Herrin says. “I don’t want it all to be calm and easy; I want life to be grand and the effort to be worth it.” is an online service that matches families with great caregivers for children, seniors, pets and more.