Stay-at-Home Moms with Home-based Businesses
According to recent statistics, about one in 10 mothers with children under 6 work from home in some capacity.
Peggy Lee may have been the first to sing the lyrics “I can bring home the bacon, I can bring home the pan” in 1963, but many mothers today are singing the same tune.
According to recent findings by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost one out of 10 moms, or 903,840 stay-at-home mothers total, have children under the age of 6 and are paid to work at home or have their own home business. Patch spoke with three local moms who fit that description.
Jamaine Cripe, 38, of South Orange, is mother to 4-year-old Alice and started a business called The Cupcake Lady. “I run a home-based, organic cupcakery and sugar design studio. I make cupcakes and candy toppers for them out of fondant, gum paste and marzipan. I also make cakes by special request,” said Cripe, who was motivated to start the business by a desire to spend more time with her daughter.
“I was seeking a creative way to make some money during my time home with Alice. My plan is to be home full-time until she starts elementary school and then I'll return to being an assistant director for film and TV," she said. "I started making cupcakes in lieu of a gift for friends' children's birthdays."
Nadine Kerstan is another South Orange mother who decided to turn her passion for chocolate into a business. Mother to an almost 6-year-old daughter and an almost 3-year-old son, she runs her own company, Chocolat Polka Dot, which produces homemade chocolate treats, baked goods like cookies, cakes and brownies, and a variety of chocolate truffles. “I started my business at the urging of friends who wanted to be able to eat my treats at whim. My son was a new baby at the time, but he was an easy baby and I thought, 'I can do this!'" she said.
Both Cripe and Kerstan feel there are many rewards to working from home. “It's extremely important to me to be the primary caretaker of my kids. I want to spend time with them and enjoy them. It's great to do something I love and still be able to be a stay-at-home mom. Plus my kids are very aware of what I do, and they are quite proud of me! They love being taste testers and learning all about chocolate,” said Kerstan.
Cripe adds, “The high I get when I get in my creative zone—I can't even hear my husband talk to me when I'm there. I'm all focused, and when I'm done, I feel light and relaxed and tired, too."
Jill Sockwell, a Maplewood mother to two daughters, ages 3 and 4, is new to working from home. She recently signed on to become an independent stylist for jewelry company Stella & Dot after leaving the work force four years ago when she had her first child. “Over the years I had another child and did a few freelance writing projects here and there but really missed having a creative outlet. I was thinking about taking Career Jill down off the shelf and dusting her off this fall because both of my girls will be in preschool a few mornings a week," said Sockwell. When a relative mentioned she was involved with the company, Sockwell saw it as the ideal opportunity to get back to work.
All three mothers, none of whom use regular babysitters or childcare, shared the same challenge: time management. “I try to e-mail, return calls and such at night or when the girls are playing in the other room," said Sockwell. Kerstan said she gets the majority of her work done after the kids have gone to bed or are taking a nap. “However, Lexy is about to start kindergarten, and Grant is in preschool several days a week, so I have some uninterrupted time to get work done.” Cripe shared similar sentiments. “I don't have very much to myself. Between shopping for ingredients and designing and making my sugar pieces, I spend at least three hours a day on my business.”