By Nora Heston Tarte

Many women struggle to find a balance between work and home life. More often than not, mothers must decide whether they will stay at home with their children or go to work everyday and pay for other childcare. These moms, however, have found ways to have successful careers and healthy incomes, all while working from home.

Heidi Bartolotta: Online Entrepreneur and Mother of Two
Heidi left the corporate world six years ago after realizing how little flexibility was allowed to working moms. Now she runs an online business called MomsMakingSixFigures.com, a marketing organization for domestic manufacturers, and she calls it one of the best decisions she’s ever made. For Heidi, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t enough. She chooses to work to pass down good values to her daughters, who are 11 and 8 years old. “It was important for me that my daughters see their mother work,” Heidi said. “I wanted them to grow up knowing that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to… I wanted to model hard work and the rewards that come from it.” Heidi counts more flexibility, less pressure and the ability to design her day around her family as the biggest perks of her career switch. However, before Heidi took the leap, she had her doubts, wondering if she could truly succeed at something, especially with significantly less job security. Heidi said her girls now benefit from a mother who is available to them. “My best advice to women that would like to create a different life in regard to [their] career is: be bold,” she noted. “You only have one life and you should get to choose how to spend it. I know it can be scary but when you make the decision and look back not only will you be happier, you will be proud of yourself!” Despite her income, Heidi still identifies with stay-at-home moms as well as working moms. “I’m an at-home mom that works,” she said. “It’s really the best of both worlds.”

Vanessa Clifton: Hot Air Balloon Hostess
Vanessa is a wife and mother of three kids – ages 2, 4 and 6. While holding a career as a pediatric emergency nurse, Vanessa, who still fills in on an on-call basis, stumbled into running her own business – Aerial Solutions LLC. Vanessa and her husband, Scott, own the business, which organizes hot air balloon events around the Valley. After hosting a hot air balloon event for their hometown of Cave Creek, they were approached by other organizations to host similar events. From there, their company was born and they now put on five annual events in Arizona. The pressure of controlling her own destiny is looming for Vanessa but overall she is celebrating her successes and reveling in the time she gets to be a mom. Until this year, she was working full-time as a nurse while balancing her business and being a mother. “I enjoy being able to work my schedule around what works best for my family. I have a few clients who are well aware that I schedule conference calls during nap time!” she said of her new schedule. “The best part about working form home is just being there when my family needs me… I get to be a better mom, which is the most important job I have.”

Iryna Reiss: Stay-at-Home Fashionista
Iryna Reiss is originally from the Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. During her studies at New York University, she met her husband and together they had Abigail, age 5. In order to contribute to the family income without missing any important milestones in Abigail’s life, Iryna started her own business – Fashion Heaven LLC, where she sells high-end designer women’s clothes, shoes and accessories at bargain prices. “Being a working stay at home mom is one of my best decisions,” Iryna said. “Myself, my daughter and my husband experience a positive impact of me being at home every day.” Iryna admits that staying at home is not for everyone. “I would like to advise… ladies to think twice or three times about leaving their jobs. Working at home might not be a good fit for everyone, especially for women who enjoy being around other people all the time,” she says. “You should definitely weigh both benefits and drawbacks of working from home with husband and kids.” Staying at home, however, is the perfect fit for Iryna, who identifies as a stay-at-home mom even though she owns a successful business. “Staying home with my daughter means that I could provide stable day-to-day care to her. She doesn’t experience changes in discipline, routines, diet and schedules. It is easy for me to find time to practice piano with Abigail, to check her homework, to play with her and to do some artwork… I enjoy investing my life into my child.”

Marni Gerber: From Corporate America to Arbonne
After two and a half years of infertility struggles, including treatments and egg donation, Marni Gerber finally got pregnant. Her son, Ari, is now 6. Her journey is different than the storybook vision of starting a family because she decided to go it on her own – forgoing waiting to find a husband after she turned 40 because she simply couldn’t bear the thought of never being a mother. She calls herself “a single mother by choice.” After two years of balancing motherhood and a career in corporate America, Marni decided to make a change. She was given a book titled Where Will You Be 5 Years from Today that made her rethink her career as a station manager for a local radio station. Ultimately, she decided to quit. “I chose to leave corporate America because I was burned out on the demands, not being in charge of my future and knowing there was something better out there,” she said. “I left corporate America because I realized I deserved to be in an environment where everyone wanted me to do well, not an environment where it was what are you going to do for me today?” Now Marni is an area manager and independent consultant for Arbonne International, a venture she started during her fertility treatments but only ever used as residual income. In addition to more income potential and the flexibility of working for herself, Marni’s new career benefits her son. “I am present in my son’s life. I get to drop him off at school and pick him up every day. I am able to volunteer in his classroom when I want. I don’t have to ask a boss for time off so we can travel, when he is sick or just to have a day for me. I realized the more time I have with him, the more of an imprint I can make on his life.” After three and a half years in her new position, Marni couldn’t be happier. “My son is watching me as I grow a multimillion dollar business. He sees the hard work and dedication it takes. He sees how I deal with challenges and disappointments and celebrates my successes with me. He is seeing lessons in life that school and books will not give him.”

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