BY MORGAN PHILLIPS

Rebecca Pietrocini was working full-time as a Real Estate broker in the D.C. area and also raising two children, John and Katie, ages 2 and 5, up until about a year ago. Rebecca had always dreamed of being a big-time career woman in an office and a mother, and had never thought of the two dreams to be at odds with each other. That is, until she had children of her own and did a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing both dreams. “Is it really worth it after paying the high rates of child care, along with the high prices and gas, the cost of eating out or takeout, taking into account that my paycheck will be even smaller after I bump myself into the next tax bracket? I did the math and in my household it wasn’t.” In fact, today the cost of childcare can exceed $11,000. So, Rebecca put her job on hold in order to return home to her children full-time.

Pew Research estimates that a million millennial women become moms each year, but that’s not slowing them down. As any mother will tell you, raising a child could easily constitute a full-time job and still leave you worn-out at the end of the day. More than half of millennial moms told a Pew survey that they’d prefer to stay at home than go to work. But, these moms are also the most educated of any generation, and hold more degrees overall than their male counterparts. Not all millennial moms must choose between having an income (or being a dual income family) and satisfying the needs of their children– and many are choosing the best of both worlds in pursuing an online career.

Customer service, software development, design, and writing are the most common industries for remote work. A number of companies contract out work that can be done at home Belay hires virtual assistants who help clients with emails, scheduling and organization, content writing and editing. It can also pair a client with an assistant to take care of more technical skills like bookkeeping or back-end web design.The inspiration for Belay was to provide caregivers opportunity for income: “We have discovered a rather marginalized workforce that we are thrilled to partner with at BELAY,” founder Bryan Mills wrote in an email. This company attracts business owners and pairs them with the stay-at-home moms and dads looking to offer their services. “There is a huge workforce willing to do this sort of digital work to help a company run smoothly,” Bryan writes, “And there are tons of businesses who need their services. The problem is they don’t know how to get in touch with each other. This is where we come in.”

Another option is starting your own business. Micala Quinn Charlton is the founder of blog site Live Free Mama, which guides mothers in starting their own online freelance business. Her website micalaquinn.com offers suggestions: Background in teaching, for example? Your excellent planning skills could be used for project management, your student engaging skills could be used for social media management. Your command of the written word could be used for copywriting or editing, so Charlton says. “I have found myself to be way more productive at home. There are no coworkers to walk in my office to distract me or chit-chat, there is no wasted time of driving to and from an office, and there is no wasted time where I am just twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to do,” Charlton wrote in an email.  

Joining the social media marketing business is another excellent way to have an at-home career as the entire market is online. In today’s day and age, every business needs a social media presence, and many business managers find this work tedious and confusing. If you can figure out how to promote brands on Instagram, partner with influencers, and post attractive pictures with witty captions you have the makings for a social media marketing career. “I don’t mind if my employees do much of their work from home because I can directly see the results if they are not getting things done– I follow the accounts they manage,” said Thomas Herd, CEO of marketing firm T1 Advertising.

Health management companies are even hiring online nurses, including United Health Group, Aetna, and Humana. Their salaries are competitive with an on-site nursing salary, which could be above $50,000. Typical duties include case management, treatment authorization, and patient education. Ricki Conrad, a senior at La Roche College, was a nursing major her freshman year at college before switching to graphic design. “I wanted to major in nursing because I loved learning about the human body,” Ricki said, “Had I known I could do that without working 14 hour night shifts away from my family all the time I might have stuck with it. I just didn’t realize there was a less demanding way to make the job work.”  

The full-time, office-working mother is still accepted and revered for how she has it all. But to know that other compromises exist is promising to many young mothers.