Lori Nelson remembers the depression she felt when she became a mother nine years ago.
A former spokeswoman for the state tourism department, Nelson one Friday afternoon was doing a live TV shoot about fun weekend activities. The next day, she delivered her son seven weeks early and within the week, suddenly found herself a full-time at-home mom.
“It was a huge shock,” said Nelson, 49, whose career had taken her to Capitol Hill, Tulsa and elsewhere. “I was used to being out and about, dressed up and social. But I was delighted to have a child and determined to be home with him.”
Nelson noticed her depression eased when she wrote her thesis for her graduate degree, and knew there was only one thing for her to do: Get back to work. She wanted to keep her skills fresh and contribute financially to her household.
She since has worked part-time from home, including the past several years as a contracted public relations director for Mid-America Christian University. When her 6-year-old daughter enters first grade this fall, she plans to take on several more clients.
Given a choice, most moms would work part-time doing meaningful work in positions with benefits, said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of “Working Mother” magazine.
“Working moms want flexibility, benefits and support,” she said.
Companies increasingly are offering flexibility, Owens said, from how early or late employees choose to start and end their workdays and four-day, 40-hour workweeks to part-time or full-time telecommuting from home.
“Really progressive companies are offering career flexibility, including understanding, for example, that a woman may not want to travel as much if she has an infant — or grown children, but (who may have) a dying father,” she said.