Meet Stephanie Nelson, Atlanta resident and founder of the free money-saving website, CouponMom.com, which currently has more than three million members. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half.
Ms. Nelson, who has appeared on countless national television and radio shows, is also a wife and mother of two children. She shares with the Examiner her thoughts and strategies on being a successful working mother.
1. What made you decide you wanted to transition from working outside the home to in it?
I quit working in 1995 to stay home with my two sons who were babies then, and in 2001 I started my website out of my home as a hobby. I didn't have a paying job for nearly 10 years and enjoyed being a full time mother. The website turned into a job with an income in 2004, and I transitioned to a full time job with the website in 2007.
2. What are the benefits and advantages of being a working mother?
The benefit is having the flexibility to arrange your work around your family commitments, school activities, kids' sports and events. I also consider it a benefit that I do not have to commute to an office or spend any unproductive time off site.
When there's a lull in business tasks, I can always get family and personal details done.
3. What do/did you find the most difficult about being a working mother?
Being able to compartmentalize. It is a challenge to be able to turn the business tasks off to focus on home and family.
4. What new perspective did launching Couponmom.com give you in your role as a working mom?
I did not enjoy being a working mother when I had my first son and had to be in an office away from home all day, which I did for two and a half years. I felt too disconnected. I enjoy being a working mom out of my home because of the reasons mentioned earlier.
5. Looking back, is there anything you wish you would have known about making the decision to work and raise your children?
I think every parent, whether they work professionally or not, feels that they could have spent more time and attention with their kids. There were many phone calls and conference calls that probably weren't that important, and being more efficient with my work could have allowed more time to just play and relax with my kids.
6. What advice can you offer other soon-to-be or new mothers as they think about how to find happiness in being a working mother?
The best advice I've ever heard is to take your work, not yourself, seriously. Get the job done but recognize when you're making it more complicated or spending more time on it than it warrants. Do a great job, but remember that the people you're making the greatest impact on are your kids (positive or negative), not your customers, colleagues or bosses.
7. What's the best part about being a working mom in Atlanta?
I like living in Atlanta because there is a lot of diversity when it comes to "working mom status." I know an equal number of moms who stay at home full-time, work part-time, and also work full-time.