My wife needs to work. And we have 2 very young kids. Ideas?
October 30, 2006 3:01 PM   Subscribe

We're in a financial hole, and we're looking for ways that my wife -- now a full-time mom to a 2- and a 4-year old -- can earn some income. How can we make this happen?

Some considerations:

My wife doesn't have a college degree, so most of the jobs she can get don't pay enough to cover a babysitter (typically $15/hour where we are). Even daycare can be expensive with two kids. And we're afraid to go really cheap on our childcare.

She's extremely bright, very detail-oriented. Before the kids came along, she worked as an office manager, first at an architect's office and then at a contractor's.

She's considered becoming a proofreader. (She's very good at this, but she'd need to take some classes. It could pay well, but she has no connections). She's also considered starting an eBay business -- she's very knowledgeable about home decor, among other things -- but I wonder if you can really make any real money doing that.

In other threads, people have suggested starting a daycare in their homes, but I don't think my wife has the patience to deal with other people's kids. And we don't really have the room in our house.

Both girls won't start kindergarten until they're almost 6 (so almost 4 years before they're both out of the house).

I'm working full-time, and my company only offers "emergency" daycare. They're generally good about work/life balance, but I couldn't come in late, leave early or work from home on a regular basis.

Oh, and we're in the 'burbs and I don't drive (long story), so it'd be tough, but not impossible, for her to work weekends. Basically, the kids and I would get cabin fever, esp. as the weather gets colder and we can't go outside.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for your help!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I made enough for a deposit on our house by doing transcription typing from home when our children were small. Mostly I had to wait for them to go to bed to get any serious typing done.
posted by b33j at 3:22 PM on October 30, 2006

She could try looking for virtual assistant positions. Both short and long term ones come up on Craigslist all the time.
posted by padraigin at 3:24 PM on October 30, 2006

Medical transcription is popular, although you'd have to have some experience. There are generally classes offered, but they vary widely in quality. This is home-based.

Places like JetBlue have home-based customer service reps.

However, unless you can work at night when the kids are asleep, working at hime with kids is very difficult (experience talking, here). Medical transcription requires that you listen carefully, customer service requires that you not have kids in the background.

It's not impossible, though, and having a second home-based job is probably your best bet here.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2006

Proofreading may be just the thing. You don't necessarily need connections for book work, and if you choose jobs well it can actually be pretty interesting. Taking a continuing ed-style class first is a good bet -- one course, maybe 6 to 10 weeks, should be sufficient. She should know pretty quickly if the work suits her or not. Then call up any publisher, ask for production editorial, and they'll send a test. A passing test and some polite nagging will likely get you work eventually. The tricky bit is getting the names on the inside to nag. In most houses, there may be several different prod ed departments for different divisions, and these may assign proofreading centrally or leave it up to individual production editors. You probably need about half a dozen contacts to ensure a steady stream of work.
posted by libraryhead at 4:41 PM on October 30, 2006 [4 favorites]

I hate to say it, but the folks at are giving away money. The savvy can make about 20 bucks in under an hour per day. Who knows how long that advertising model will last. All you need is a blog thats been around for 3 months.

PS I don't recommend the business model, it won't last (in its present form), ride the money train while you can.
posted by maxpower at 4:42 PM on October 30, 2006

A friend of mine who home schools her children does medical transcription very early in the morning before her children wake up and after her husband gets home. One thing that makes this work is that her husband takes over the kids after dinner and does the bedtime routine.

Can she work a few nights a week at a shop or cafe or something? I did this when my firstborn was young and it was a nice break from all the mommying.
posted by Biblio at 5:35 PM on October 30, 2006

People can make decent money from eBay -- I have a friend who specialises in a particular field in which he's very knowledgeable. He buys up items in real life and on eBay and he cleans and restores them, combines them with other items, in some cases just identifies them correctly and re-sells them. But I think specialised knowledge is his main strength.

The other key factor would be the actual physical storage and mailing of any items to and from your home. Do you have space to store and work on items (where the kids won't destroy them!), and can a business of this kind be conducted without forever making runs to and from the Post Office/UPS/whatever? Does your wife drive?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:38 PM on October 30, 2006

My mother is a medical transcriptionist and works from home. She works for a big county hospital and types dictation for just about every field of medicine. Yes, the money is nice, but a good knowledge of medical terminology and excellent typing skills are a must. If she can get into a little agency around town maybe she could type office notes and history and physicals from a family physician. It doesn't take long to learn the doctor's style, if you are only typing for one physician. You almost know what he is going to say next. It is a nice career, maybe she could look into getting a certificate at the local community college somewhere down the road.

My sister used to work for West at Home. She is a school teacher and was able to stay home with her child, but wanted some extra money. She answered phones for Pizza Hut at home through the West Agency. All you need is a telephone and a home computer. You take a very simple math test and questionare online to prove that you aren't crazy or a complete idiot. Then you go through some brief training online. Of course while she is working she must be in a quiet area and answer the phone no later than the second ring. There can't be any crying kids in the background, etc., so I don't know if this is practical for her. West also answers phones for home shopping networks, infomercials, etc. You earn money by the calls you recieve and if you work at high-need times, like weekends. It's not a ton of money, but may be something she could do until she finds something more lucrative.

Good luck.
posted by LoriFLA at 5:50 PM on October 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

I know several people who work there on the technical side, but I do not know any agents, so certainly don't take this as an endorsement.

You should want to take a look at LiveOps. They are a home-based teleservices firm (read: telephone customer service), so your wife can set her own hours and work from home. The one catch is that you'll need a separate phone line setup, but there are no long distance charges involved, all calls are incoming to you. If nothing else, it seems like a relatively easy setup, and a good way to make some money in the short to medium term while you get into another field.
posted by zachlipton at 5:51 PM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Does your neighborhood have many teenagers? Your wife may be able to earn some money working as an English tutor or something, helping kids write essays and such. In the right area, tutoring can be rather lucrative.
posted by cholly at 5:54 PM on October 30, 2006

Buying and selling on eBay, or creating and selling on eBay.
posted by fire&wings at 6:39 PM on October 30, 2006

How much money are you talking about? Bonus whoring at online casinos can be lucrative and essentially involves clicking a mouse mindlessly for a few hours.

An example of how this works is you deposit $100 on the site and the site gives you $100 bonus for a total of $200 which will be available for withdrawl after you make $1600 worth of wagers. You play blackjack which has the smallest house edge and bet the minimum every hand. You follow a chart on how to play the odds without exception and wager $1600. You then withdraw your balance which is usually just under $200.

Hitting all the worthwhile online casinos can net you around $1k. A site like this or like this should get you off on the right foot. After the initial bonuses, there are reoccuring monthly bonuses available.

If your wife has good self control then the risk of losing your money is fairly minor as the house edge on blackjack is small and the bonus you receive should cover it. That said, there's still some risk.

Obviously disregard this if you don't have $100 to toss into a project or if either of you have problems with gambling.
posted by ODiV at 7:14 PM on October 30, 2006

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