Part-Time Jobs for Full-Time Parents

Stay at home mom income

When Johnny and I were first discussing starting a family, the topic of finances was a natural thought-starter. We were both working full time, and we started asking ourselves some questions for if/when we had a baby:

  • Would one of us quit working and stay home?
  • Would we both keep working full time?
  • Would one of us cut our hours to part time?

Those questions are a bit more general than what we actually asked ourselves. Each couple’s situation is different, and in our case, Johnny’s career is the more serious one, as well as the more lucrative one. So those questions were mostly directed at me: Would I be a full-time stay-at-home mom? Would I keep working full time? Part-time? If I chose to do the stay-at-home thing, would I be eternally subjected to wearing sweatpants 24/7?

In a perfect universe, I would stay at home with our baby full time and say “Good riddance!” to my career. I think Johnny would cheerfully do the same. He would also take the whole “sweatpants 24/7” thing way too literally.

What I am going to do instead (once my maternity leave dries up) is continue to work full time from home with a baby. I feel super lucky that I even have that option. I’ve been working full time from home for almost three years now, so having a baby and continuing to work will hopefully be a fairly seamless transition. Although, changing diapers while participating in conference calls should be a bit different.

I’m going to try it out and see if it’s sustainable. While we’d be okay with just one income, my added income allows us to save much more than we could with just Johnny’s. That said, I know once we have a second kid, working full time from home may no longer be practical as a full-time mom. And then what? What are my money-making options if I want to be a full-time mom? What do other full-time moms and dads do? Well, here’s how some of the incredible moms I know make a side income:

And I’ll start off by saying none of these are easy options. But they’re all viable options for a mom (or dad) who’s serious about making some side money.

Teach a Skill

Piano, voice lessons, violin lessons, voodoo doll making, calligraphy, knitting, sewing, etc. Whatever your skill, teach it. Solicit friends, neighbors, fellow church parishioners, etc., in the beginning to build a customer base and a reputation. Then market yourself, girl(boy)friend!


Even though I currently work full time, I’ll still take on freelance projects on the side when I am saving up for something I want. I have found multiple freelance jobs by posting ads on Craigslist and by responding to others’ ads as well. Freelance sites such as oDesk are a great option as well. It’s also a great idea to reach out to former employers (which is why it’s so important to always leave on good terms) and let them know you’re taking on new freelance clients.

Stay at home craftMobiles like this DIY one I made sell for upwards of $60 on Etsy.

Sell Your Craft

Whether you crochet, sew, make jewelry, paint, or enjoy doing some other craft, that craft can usually be sold. Thanks to sites like Etsy, anyone can sell a craft or handiwork. One of the keys to selling your work is having decent photos to showcase it. If you don’t own a DSLR camera, using a friend or family member’s could really help your product(s) stand out. With thousands upon thousands of others trying to make a sale, you’ve got to find ways to break through the clutter.

Other Considerations

If your kids are in school, you could pick up a 4-hour shift at a library, bookstore, or other local shop during their school hours. Working with your children’s school could also be an option, such as being a tutor to students who are struggling in a certain subject.

A Note on E-Commuting

In our modern world, e-commuting is becoming more common. A few years ago when Johnny and I decided to move to New York City and away from my brick-and-mortar office, I approached my manager about e-commuting full time. After all, what did I have to lose? I was already allowed to work from home one day per week, so I knew the idea wasn’t completely far fetched. And it’s crazy what asking can do. My request was approved. And now three years later, everyone in my position within our department e-commutes full time. The times they are a’changin’.

If you currently work full time, and you’d like to find ways to spend more time at home, here are some options I’ve seen friends try successfully with their employers:

    • Ask if it’s possible to work from home one or two days a week. Ask them for a trial run to see if it’s feasible for both parties. If it works out, ask for another stay-at-home day.
    • Ask if changing to part-time work is possible, whether in the office or as a remote employee.
    • If it’s not possible to maintain your current job and work from home, see if there are other positions within your company that would allow remote work. Hiring within is always easier for employers.

For the time being, I’ll be working from home full time with Baby Girl. But when the time comes for me to stop full-time work, I’m glad I know some moms who have found ways to still bring home a little bacon despite their “full-time mom” title.

Any moms or dads out there putting this into practice and making some side income? What other options have I missed? I’d love to hear of any creative ways you make a little extra dough while home with the kiddos!

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  • Reply Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle January 18, 2013 at 7:25 am

    I provided home child care when my sons were smaller. I was never a full scale home daycare but that is a great option and can can allow you many tax deductions.

    It is not for everyone and that is why I did it part time. When my sons started school I moved to before and after school only. I needed some time without children.

    Dog sitting was another easy one. I already had dogs so what was 1 or 2 more. I would only take calm, social, friendly dogs and the owners had to bring them out for a free trial day before I would agree. I kept the dog money seperate and would use it for all the back to school purchases.

    I did lots of small jobs, stuck together, to keep the kids in clothes and activities but I was still home whenever I was needed.

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      These are awesome suggestions. Dog sitting seems like a total no-brainer. And I love that you “test drove” the dogs. Smart thinking.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies January 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

    A friend of mine took on adjunct work – teaching in the evenings several days per week, and staying home during the day. It’s worked out pretty well for them, since her pay was much smaller than her husbands before they had kids as well.

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      I’ve been wanting to do night teaching for creative advertising courses for a while now, I just need to get on the ball and find local vocational/design schools that offer them.

  • Reply Michelle January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

    You made that mobile! SO CUTE! I love it!

    And one of us definitely wants to be a stay at home parent when we have children. But we would also like something on the side as well.

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Joanna is a crafty gal. I got lucky. 🙂

  • Reply DC @ Young Adult Money January 18, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I do hope to work from home full-time sometime in the future. Currently no one in my entire finance department works from home, though I am fairly confident that we could ALL work from home. One day…

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Nothing aggravates me more than “face time” at jobs. If the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter where or when it gets accomplished. Obviously there’s something to be said about correctly estimating the amount of time each project takes to complete. I’m fortunate enough to work at an agency that doesn’t really care if you’re in the office. If the works gets done and you attend meetings, you’re good.

  • Reply Rob January 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

    “changing diapers while participating in conference calls should be a bit different.”

    Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “when the sh*t hits the fan”, eh? 🙂

    Many moons ago, when we were in our young 20’s, and raising our two little ones, we were able to have my wife stay at home as a full time mom (family chauffeur, brownie leader, house cleaner, chef, etc etc etc – lol) while I went out to work and brought home the bacon (or the weiners, etc. as the case may be). Later on, when the kids were in upper grade school and old enough, my wife went back out to work full time – but at a company close enough to home so that she could be home when the kids got home from school every afternoon. That was then. Today it probably would not be as feasible for most young couples just trying to make ends meet.

    Of course, with technology advances, telecommuting and work from home programs are becoming more the trend – a win-win strategy in this global economy when so many jobs are getting outsourced these days. I’m sure that would be our direction if we were starting over today.

    So ….? When’s Baby Girl getting named? Inquiring minds would like to know. 🙂
    Looking for suggestions?

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Haha. Never has that phrase meant more to us than these last two weeks. We settled on a name a day or two after she was born. We think we’ll probably keep it private on the blog. Not because we don’t want *you* to know it. But if you’ve followed the Manti Te’o imaginary girlfriend story, we’re trying to avoid creepsters like that from knowing too much about our little girl/family. All it takes is a couple creeps to ruin it for everyone. So Baby Girl it is, for now.

      My mom did something similar to your wife. She waited until we were all in middle school or higher, and then started working at a secretary at an office just a mile down the road. She loved getting back in the workplace and trying something new out.

  • Reply John S @ Frugal Rules January 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    My wife and I run our business from home and absolutely love it. Though, having three little ones running around can make it a bit of a challenge at times. When we had our first, her company allowed her to work from home and it worked great for her. They wanted her to be in the office 1 day/week which she liked as well. She ended up doing it for about two years before leaving to start her own company.

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      I love this idea. By trade, Joanna’s an editor and I’m a copywriter. So with that matching skillset, we’d like think we could venture off and try our hand at something on our own, but it seems like a scary leap. That’s awesome that you guys did it and are loving it.

  • Reply Chris January 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I offer computer training courses (they aren’t that official) to anybody that wants em. All I do is just come to their house and answer their “dumb” questions about the computer and they give me $20. I don’t really charge anything they always just give me what they think is fair. I also charge $20/hour to reformat/clean up a computer that’s riddled with viruses and spyware. I charge 1/4 of what all the other businesses charge and only do it part-time. It isn’t very much money because I don’t dedicate ANY time to advertising. It’s purely word-of-mouth. Once people figure out that I’m an IT manager they ask me to do everything for them so why not charge for it :).

    • Reply Johnny January 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      That’s awesome. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk computer-illerate folks through setting up new software, or video chat, or how to send an email. I must give off a “I would love to spend an hour of my day teaching you something that you’ll forget in 30 minutes” vibe. 🙂 I don’t mind too much. And I REALLY wouldn’t mind if I was making some money from it. Smart to use your skillset outside the job to bring in a few bucks.

      • Reply K.Olsen March 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        I enjoyed reading everything you guys were saying until this comment. Hey Johnny, if you ever need an answer about anything having to do with Biochemistry I will be sure to talk about your lack of knowledge in this area to my circle.
        Get it? To me you are illiterate in many ways. We are all illiterate to others who are educated in a different area. I meet
        people all the time I could look down on, (wink) but I choose to look at life as if we all have different gifts.
        Now go find some humility, and I guarantee your life will be better.

        • Reply Joanna March 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm

          Thanks for the comment, K. You’re right that we all have different skill sets. I can promise you that Johnny wasn’t being condescending here. He was just being humorous, and I’m sorry if it came off wrong to you. And I promise he’s fun to live with… most of the time :).

        • Reply K.Olsen March 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm

          Yes. Thank you. We all have moments, and he was condescending. I appreciate your response, but don’t shy away from calling a spade a spade. It was the “forget in 30mins” that made it so.
          I am not perfect, it’s why I recognize a little self righteousness, I work on it as well.
          You both have a lot to offer I can tell. Ambitious, concerned about raising your little one, sharing your many talents, just wanted to try and give a little heads up.

  • Reply Shannon-ReadyForZero January 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    The mobile is beautiful! And you guys live in NYC? I lived there for the past 3 1/2 years until I finally moved to San Francisco last year. I still miss it though, what a great city!

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks, Shannon!

      We used to live in NYC in 2010 and 2011. We loved it. We haven’t been back since we moved, but it’s definitely calling our name, so I think we’ll have to visit sometime this year!

  • Reply gary January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    My wife has a home day care business. It is great because our kids get to play with other kids.
    I have a full time job and a part time job. My part time job is as a waiter at a restaurant. I work 3 nights a week. The money I make in tips is awesome. All the change I bring home goes to my kids piggy banks. Then not having to go to the ATM is the best part about of the job. Getting paid in cash is the best.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      A home day care business is an awesome idea! Your wife has got to be an incredible lady to do that… I’m struggling with just one tiny baby!

      And agreed with getting paid in cash. Johnny and I were both waiters earlier in our marriage, and going home with cash each night was super rewarding. And we racked up like $50 in change during that time!

  • Reply Laurie January 19, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Good for you guys for making it work so you can be with Baby Girl. I’ve been home with our 4 for 13 years now: worked from home at my sales job for the first 3 years, now just working at being a mom and home schooling while hubby focuses on his career. It’s worked out very well for us, and for the kids. The great thing about you guys being in solid financial shape is that you have options – yea!

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      Baby Girl is a full-time job for me right now! I can’t imagine how it is with 4, but I’m sure you are one awesome woman! Even though being a parent is hard work, I’m starting to realize it’s the most rewarding (and meaningful) work!

      • Reply Laurie January 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

        You are so right, Joanna, and it only gets better :-). You’ll enjoy each and every age as she grows.

  • Reply femmefrugality January 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    My friend did some on-line medical billing something or other until our firsts were about 9 months old. At that point it became too difficult for her to keep on top of it and him! These are great ideas. And you’re right…I think the solution is different for every parent.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      That’s a great idea! I’m preparing myself mentally for the fact that some day I will probably not be able to juggle a job and a baby. In the meantime, I’m gonna try out both and see what happens! 🙂

  • Reply Joanna January 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    That’s awesome! Way to work it! I’m hoping if my job becomes too overwhelming to do full time that I can do something similar to you and ask to be a part-time or contract employee.

    And I can’t wait for the day when I’m ready to buy new clothes… when it does come, Johnny better watch out because I’ll be ready to spend lots of $$$! 😉

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup January 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Currently, my wife and I are going to be working full time with the baby in daycare. With our expenses (ones we don’t have much control over), we both need to work. I am allowed to work from home occasionally, but not full time. I am hoping to figure out a way to make enough money to allow my wife to leave work. We will see.

    • Reply Johnny January 22, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      We feel super fortunate that Joanna can work full-time from home. If she couldn’t, we’d be forced to go the daycare route like you guys. And even as is, I’ve got the same goal as you to make enough money by myself so Joanna can quit her job and just focus on the kiddo at home. A nice thought, but like you said, we will see.

  • Reply We're Quitting Our Jobs (Kinda Sorta) | Our Freaking Budget January 23, 2013 at 7:03 am

    […] ourselves,” but 2013 will be the year we try and figure that out. We’ve already got a few ideas on the back burner. How incredible would it be to know you could lose your job (or — gasp — QUIT your job), and […]

  • Reply JMK January 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Working from home with a baby? Yikes. A new born sleeps enough that it’s a possiblity, but that’s a very short period of time. When they are old enough to play, roll/crawl and make a lot of noise just when you dial into that conference call, you’re doomed. If you have meetings you must attend you might find it’s best to arrange a sitter to come in for a couple of hours and take her for a walk so you can come across as a professional on the phone. Nothing makes your boss wonder how much work vs child care is going on than hearing baby noises in the background. You may be getting all your work done by working outside normal hours, but if the impression they get when they call you is that they’ve reached a daycare, they may start rethinking the whole work at home arrangement.

  • Reply Emily April 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    JoAnna, I’d love to hear your throughs on how you’ve adjusted to working from home full time with your baby girl! Any bumps in the road you’ve come across? I’m curious because we’re looking to start a family soon, and much like you I’ve worked from home full-time for the past 2 years. My job requires a lot of conference calls and travel 3-4 times a year. Ideally, I’d like to drop to PT and cut our travel (something I *think* my bosses might be open to) when the times comes.

    • Reply Joanna April 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

      Hey Emily! Working from home with a baby has been a big adjustment, no doubt. I’ll briefly address some of the main things, and then I will be doing a full post about it in the next couple weeks.

      I’m not sure how often your conference calls are, but I have a couple each week. For the most part, they’re not super interactive, and I can just listen and entertain our girl simultaneously. But if I’m going to be talking a lot or if the meeting is longer than an hour, I need someone else to watch her.

      As far as actually getting work done during the day, that’s been a struggle. When people say that babies are a full-time job, they’re not kidding. I do as much as I can during normal work hours, but I have ended up having to get up early before she does to work on stuff, or after she’s asleep at night. As long as I get my work done by the deadline, my boss doesn’t care what time of day I do it.

      It’s not ideal or easy, but it’s probably doable if you’re willing to make some sacrifices. It’s definitely not something I’ll be able to keep doing once we have more than one kid, though. Hope that helps (and doesn’t scare you from having kids!)!

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