Staying at home to raise children is an important job that many mothers enjoy, but it does have some downsides — the most obvious being the loss of part of the family’s income.
It’s never been more difficult to thrive on a single paycheck, so leaving the workforce isn’t an option for every mother. That’s why more and more women are turning to work-from-home jobs that provide a way to earn income while still putting family first.
Fortunately, there are good options that pay well in a variety of fields, whether you have a long resume or no experience. This post highlights some of the best stay at home mom jobs, broken down into five different categories. It features great online jobs for moms, as well as a few “real world” options that are a little bit less typical.
Our recommendations are based both on research and conversations with stay-at-home moms who have started successful side hustles, full-time careers and thriving small businesses.
We’ll also discuss what to look for, what to avoid, and why some of the most frequently recommended options lead to disappointing results.
What Makes a Great Stay at Home Job?
There are many online and remote jobs that allow people to make extra money from home, but not all of them are a good fit for stay at home moms. When considering your options, remember why you’re choosing to stay at home in the first place, and focus on opportunities that align with those reasons.
For most women, that means choosing something where:
- You can set your own schedule. As a stay at home mom, you’ve probably worked out a schedule that suits your family and keeps things on track. Your goal should be to find an opportunity that complements, rather than competes with, that schedule.
- You have the flexibility to change your schedule. No matter how carefully you plan your schedule, it will change when your kids get sick or otherwise need your attention. Look for an opportunity that gives you enough flexibility to roll with the punches and change your agenda on the fly.
How to Avoid Work-From-Home Scams
When you start looking for ways to make money from home, you’ll almost certainly come across scams. Fortunately, they’re fairly easy to spot when you know what to look for.
- Don’t rely on online reviews. Looking up reviews can be a good way to get a general sense of whether a job is legit, but you need to approach them with a healthy dose of skepticism. Some reviews are fake, and companies work hard to get negative reviews removed. Glassdoor is the best overall site for gaining insights into a company, as it features a large number of reviews from current and former employees.
- Don’t spend money for the opportunity to work. One of the biggest red flags when it comes to online job scams is having to pay money for the opportunity to perform labor. While there’s nothing wrong with paying to access a legitimate job board like FlexJobs or LinkedIn Premium, you should never pay for “supplies” or other “start-up” costs that supposedly lead to per-hour or per-project work.
- Do your research before investing in a work-from-home business. Of course, if you’re going to start a business, yes, it’s true: you may need to make an initial investment. But do your due diligence and research the opportunity just as rigorously as if you were opening a physical storefront.
MLMs and “Be Your Own CEO” Businesses
MLM stands for multi-level marketing, and these “opportunities” are often targeted to stay at home moms. Older examples of MLMs are Avon and Tupperware, while newer ones include Beachbody and LuLaRoe.
These businesses can be attractive for a variety of compelling reasons. They tend to revolve around types of products and services that moms use and like, and they’re designed to tap into your existing social networks as a starting point from which to build a customer base.
But they also come with costs. Sometimes you have to pay to join. There may be required training and certifications. And, most importantly, you almost always have to buy your own samples and inventory.
On top of that, most programs have minimum sales thresholds that you need to maintain in order to stay active, which can all but force you to buy yet more samples and inventory.
Do some women do very well with MLMs? Yes, and I won’t deny that fact. But the evidence shows that’s not true in most cases. For example, AARP found that about half of those involved in an MLM lost money, about a quarter broke even, and a quarter made money.
Of those who made money:
- 14% made less than $5,000
- 6% made between $5,000 and $9,999
- 3% made between $10,000 and $24,999
- 3% made $25,000 or more
- 0.05% made $100,000 or more
The same study found that the average number of hours per week dedicated to the MLM was about 13. For those in the 14% of people making $5,000 or less, their hourly earnings amounted to about $7, which is less than the federal minimum wage.
And that number doesn’t include the opportunity cost, which is the fact that those hours can be spent in other, more valuable ways — whether working for better wages or furthering your education so you can earn more money in the future.
As a result, I think of these programs as existing on their own plane — not exactly scams but not really worthwhile, legitimate opportunities for most people.
Writing, Editing, and Typing Jobs
Writing, editing, and typing jobs cover a wide array of skills and interests. While these three areas of work are distinct, you’ll often find them grouped together on job boards and freelancing sites.
We’re listing this category first for a few different reasons.
- These jobs are relatively easy to get started with because (in most cases) you don’t need any particular training or special equipment.
- There are thousands of legit opportunities within these fields.
- There’s very little to zero upfront costs.
- Since many of these jobs are one-offs, you can easily tailor your workload.
#1. Freelance Writing
Freelance writers produce all kinds of content. Some of the most common projects include writing posts for bloggers, writing magazine articles, drafting newsletters and even ghostwriting entire books.
No matter what your area of experience or interest is, there are clients out there looking for skilled freelancers in those topics. Ideally, you want to market yourself in one or two niches rather than trying to be all things to all clients. If you’re transitioning from a traditional career into a stay-at-home role, try to zero in on the two or three subjects that you’re especially knowledgeable about and focus on those.
If you don’t have much professional experience, still think about a handful of topics in which you can bring a competitive advantage to the table. If you’re an avid CrossFitter, there are hundreds of blogs on the topic of health, fitness and high-intensity training. And so-called “mommy blogging” is a huge niche in its own right, with content ranging from cooking tips to homeschooling and more.
Resource: My guide to freelance writing for beginners runs down everything you need to know to get started.
In traditional media, the term “copyeditor” refers to someone who finds and corrects spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, and basic fact errors. In contrast, a proofreader is the last person to see a book or other content before it’s released, giving it a final review and fixing any errors they find.
But today — at least when it comes to freelancing and contract work — the two roles tend to cover the same ground. Most clients expect their copyeditors to turn in publication-ready work, and vice versa. So you can think of this as more of an overall editing job.
And there’s a ton of opportunity to get your foot in the door. Nearly all businesses have some sort of written content they produce, so it’s not hard to find work both online and in the real world.
One of the best places to start looking online is Upwork, the web’s largest freelance marketplace. Here’s a guide I wrote all about how to get started and win your first job on the site.
Training: Caitlin Pyle, the founder of Proofread Anywhere, offers a free 76-minute workshop that will teach you more about becoming a proofreader.
Transcription is turning audio into text. There are a lot of opportunities across the board, but the most lucrative tend to be in the medical field. Doctors read their medical notes into a recorder, and a transcriptionist types them up for insurance companies and law firms. While this job can be done at home it does require concentration, so moms may need to work when their children are sleeping or otherwise occupied.
Further reading: 10 online transcription jobs for beginners.
Translation can be one of the most lucrative jobs on this list, and the only reason we ranked it below transcription is because it requires a more advanced skillset. It should go without saying, but to work as a translator you’ll need to have high-level fluency in English and at least one foreign language — and the more in-demand, the better.
Translators work in a number of different roles. The most common is simply converting text from one language to another, but government contractors also hire researchers to comb foreign language internet results (which is referred to as open source intelligence gathering), and private companies sometimes hire translators to take at-home customer service calls.
You can find work as a translator in almost any language, but the most highly-sought are Spanish, Arabic and Russian.
As for where to find translation jobs: there are thousands listed on freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr, but you can also find more traditional (but still remote) opportunities on FlexJobs. Indeed and LinkedIn are also good sources to scan, but keep in mind that on-site work will be mixed in with the stay-at-home variety.
#5. Data Entry
Data entry doesn’t necessarily mean transferring data from one state into another, but often means compiling data in a format that allows for online storage and easy accessibility from any location. If you get hired for a large project, it can provide weeks of work, which is ideal for a stay at home mom as it means less time spent hustling for the next job and can lead to more work with the same client if they’re happy with your production.
Resource: Here’s a post that lists some of the best online typing jobs, including data entry work.
Administrative and Customer Support Jobs
With more and more businesses outsourcing their administrative work, at-home clerical, scheduling and customer service jobs are easier to find than ever. There’s a wide range of opportunities here — both in terms of the type of work and its earning potential — so it’s important to think through your short and long term goals.
For example, working as a virtual assistant may be more involved and time-consuming than working as a chat support agent, but it opens up more future opportunities. That makes it a much better choice if you’re thinking about jumping back into the workforce when your kids are a little older.
#1. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant does a lot of the same things a real-world assistant does, like send and respond to emails, make travel arrangements, perform light bookkeeping, and schedule meetings and appointments. A single client can provide a full-time job, but many VAs work part-time for a few different people or businesses.
For a stay at home mom, having multiple clients who don’t need a full-time dedicated VA can offer them the opportunity to create their own schedule and tailor their workload to their availability.
Further reading: Here’s a post that runs down the skills you need to be successful as a virtual assistant, and one that lists some of the best websites for finding VA jobs.
Every business needs bookkeeping services, but because of programs like QuickBooks that make accounting tasks fast and easy to handle, many smaller businesses don’t require a full-time employee. This means there are many opportunities in this field. Keep in mind that if you work for local businesses, some clients require their bookkeepers to come into the office periodically, so those jobs may not be 100% remote.
Training: Here’s a link to a great resource where you can get three free online classes that’ll teach you how to get started.
Sales may not be the easiest job on this list, but for the right person, it can be the most lucrative. Companies of all types and sizes utilize salespeople, and since you’re usually paid on commission, the earning potential can be nearly unlimited.
For traditional sales jobs — like selling air conditioners — you have to be on-site so you can visit the customer’s location and write up an estimate. But there are plenty of online and service-based companies for which your location is irrelevant. Some examples include businesses like internet marketing agencies and online publications that are looking for advertisers, but another common category is high-end brokers of luxury goods like boats and airplanes.
Plus, getting started in sales is easier than you might think. Most people hate making cold calls, which means your pool of competition is more limited than in some other fields. And since your employer is most likely only paying you when you sell something, they’re more willing to take a chance on someone with limited experience.
FlexJobs and Upwork are both great places to find remote sales jobs. It’s also worth noting that many clients would love to hire a virtual assistant who can make effective sales calls. If you can add sales to your skillset, you can up your value in that role.
#4. Telephone Support
If you need a full-time income, a telephone support/customer service representative job can be ideal. Many large companies allow these jobs to be done completely from home and some hire on an employee (rather than contractor) basis, offering stability and (sometimes) the same benefits as their on-site staff. This job is probably better for moms of older children who won’t interrupt while you’re on the phone with a customer.
Further reading: This post lists some of the best work-from-home customer service jobs.
#5. Chat Support
Many people dislike talking on the phone. If you’re one of them, chat support might be a great option. Chats are easier for customers too, as they have a record of any steps or instructions the support agent has given them and can reference it if they have a similar problem in the future.
Chat support jobs are also better than telephone-based jobs for moms with younger children, because while you still have to be present to do your job, the person on the other end of the chat isn’t going to hear any interruptions your child might make.
Amazon utilizes chat support agents but doesn’t always have openings, so you have to monitor their jobs page. One thing to keep in mind with chat support jobs is that you’re often competing against outsourced positions (i.e., people working in places like India and the Philippines), so the wages can be quite low.
Further reading: Amazon work-from-home jobs: what’s available and how to get them.
Creative and Design Jobs
As with freelance writing and editing, many of the jobs in this section are great work-at-home opportunities because of the overwhelming demand for new online content. Just like people need blog posts and website content, they also need graphics, videos and other audio/visual assets. This category also includes a couple of offline creative jobs that are a little bit less typical, but which could be great for a mom with the right skillset.
#1. Social Media Management
Companies small and large realize the potential value of a good social media presence, but that doesn’t mean they know how to best utilize the various platforms. If you have previous PR experience, transitioning to social media management can be a natural fit, require fewer hours, and allow for remote work — all the things a stay at home mom is looking for in a job.
You don’t need to be an expert in any particular tool or skill to succeed in social media management, but you do need some proficiency in a few different areas. For example, you don’t need to be a professional writer, but you do need to be able to draft clean, compelling copy for posts. Similarly, while you don’t need to be a graphic designer, most clients are looking for someone who can create good-looking — if basic — visuals.
Further reading: Learn about the different types of social media jobs (and how to get them) in this post.
#2. Graphic Design
While many companies still hire in-house graphic designers, you’ll find no shortage of remote and freelance work in the field. And if you’re talented, you can make great money — over $100 per hour, in some cases.
Most clients who hire graphic designers online are looking for a few very specific things, such as creating images for social media (and especially Pinterest), creating infographics, and creating visual overlays to use in their videos. If you can master those niches, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Resource: Learn more about how to get started as a Pinterest VA, a role that blends social media management and graphic design.
#3. Voiceover Work
You’ve probably heard that an increasing proportion of internet content is video rather than text. However, that doesn’t mean the video content is a person’s face on the screen. Every day, there are literally hundreds of thousands of videos produced that utilize voiceover artists — from slideshows to advertisements and everything in between.
Think you need to have a pleasant-sounding voice? Think again… you just have to have the right voice for the client’s project.
Finding clients is easier than you might think. Fiverr has an entire section dedicated to voiceover work, allowing clients to come to you. You will need a good microphone (about $100 on Amazon) and recording software (from free to $20 per month) to get started, but you don’t need a lot of experience — just the ability to read text the way the client envisions it sounding.
One of the reasons this job is great for moms is because many of the projects you’ll be working on are aimed at moms, who are one of the highest-spending consumer groups. That means there’s strong demand for your type of voice, because it’s relatable to potential customers.
Check out what people are currently offering on Fiverr.
If you have some talent and training as a painter, this can be a shockingly good side hustle, as a single piece of original artwork can easily sell for $500 — even if it’s not exactly going to find its way into a museum. Farmers’ markets and local galleries are great places to sell your work, but you can also sell it on websites like Amazon and eBay, where people buy millions of dollars of original art every year.
Obviously, this is only a good fit for a small subset of women. But you don’t have to be a master to monetize your talent — and you probably don’t need to be as talented as you think.
#5. Interior Design and Decoration
Instagram has fueled a booming demand for interior designers, with people willing to pay good money for help making their space photo-ready. It’s a crowded field, so you may have to hustle for clients at first. But it’s also heavily fueled by word of mouth, and many small-scale designers and decorators stay as busy as they want by working for friends and their extended social networks.
Keep in mind that this job will require a lot of time out of the house, as you’ll be going to the job site and shopping for furniture, art, fixtures, etc. It also requires a lot of coordination with clients and any tradespeople involved, so this is one for moms of older kids or those who have the option of part-time daycare.
Those who have given up teaching careers to stay at home may long to work with students again, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so. But even if you don’t have prior teaching experience, it can be a great way to work from home, make solid money and gain a sense of fulfillment (though you will need a bachelor’s degree in most cases).
Online tutoring jobs like the popular English as a Second Language (ESL) sites Education First and VIPKid don’t allow tutors to set their own hours, but they can provide some substantial extra income and allow you to work remotely from home. If you need more flexibility, tutoring kids in your home may be better (although you’ll have to find your own clients and prepare your own materials).
When you work for a site like Education First, you can make $20 on average to start, and you don’t need a teaching degree or prior experience. Learn more about how to get started and apply with EF here.
#2. Music Instructor
Teaching music or voice lessons has been a long-time job for stay at home moms. If you were a music teacher or musician, giving lessons from home can be a great way to bring more music back into your life — and with average rates of $50 per session and higher, you’ll be surprised how fast the extra income adds up.
#3. Cooking Instructor
You don’t have to be a professional to give cooking lessons! You don’t even have to be a “fancy” cook. Sure, it’s fun to learn how to make complex dishes, but given how many people rely on processed and fast foods, just some basic lessons would go a long way towards helping them improve their cooking skills.
There are a couple of main ways to set this up.
First, Airbnb now allows people to offer “experiences,” like cooking lessons. Guests won’t stay at your house — they’ll just come for the lessons and the food.
As usual, those who are most successful on the platform are those who work within a niche. If your grandma immigrated from Poland and you grew up eating homemade golumpki and pierogi, there are people who will pay a pretty penny to learn those recipes and techniques.
The second way is to set up events on the website/app called MeetUp. Many people advertise cooking classes on the site, although “dinner clubs” are also popular. With dinner clubs, people pay a set fee to come to your house and eat a freshly-prepared meal. One way to further monetize this is to charge people a little extra to come for the cooking part of the experience.
Small Businesses Moms Can Start From Home
If you have young kids, it can seem like they need all of your attention all of the time. Even if that’s true, they won’t need so much attention forever. If you start a business now in the free time you do have, by the time the kids are older, it can grow into something that provides a full-time income.
There are so many platforms for reselling — eBay, Amazon, Poshmark, Etsy — that you can sell almost anything. But to make things easier on yourself (not to mention more enjoyable), choose a niche that you have some knowledge of. If you don’t know anything about antiques, you’ll have to do a lot of research before buying something to resell — and you won’t have much fun shopping for inventory.
Dropshipping means selling products but not keeping them in stock, shipping them out, or handling returns. For example, you could create an online shoe store using a service called Shopify. Then, you would find a dropship supplier (which is not difficult). When an order comes into your site, you simply create an order with your supplier, who then ships the product directly to your customer. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as they say.
Training: Shopify has its own training program that will teach you how to get started and create a profitable dropshipping business.
Because clothing sizes and fits vary so widely from brand to brand and are mass-produced, it can be hard to find clothes that fit well. And even if you’re not a master seamstress, people need all kinds of basic alterations like hemming pants legs and fixing broken seams.
This job makes the list in large part because tailoring can be done from home, as there aren’t likely to be many restrictions on a from-home tailoring business. Places like Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are good places to advertise your services, but avoid print newspapers and local classified ads — they’re no longer widely read and not a good use of your advertising budget.
Setting up an Etsy shop is easy, and you can sell anything from jewelry to candles to bath products. Depending on what you choose to make, you can even involve your children in your work. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create dozens of products — you can just produce one of each thing you sell, post photos and descriptions, and then make additional items as orders come in.
Non-Job Ways to Make Money From Home
If your kids are young or you have a few of them, you may not have enough time to devote to even a stay at home job. With that in mind, know that there are other ways to earn a little extra money that aren’t all that time-intensive. You won’t make six-figures with these methods (let’s be honest… not even four-figures), but you also don’t have to invest much work to produce a little extra cash.
Way #1: By Participating in Surveys and Market Research
Before the internet, when companies needed to conduct surveys or market research they sent out mass mailings and conducted focus groups. Only a fraction of those mailers got a response, and focus groups are expensive to organize. The internet has made this kind of information much easier and less expensive to gather — in large part, via survey sites. In return for your participation, you can earn some money or gift cards.
- Survey Junkie: Users like this site because, among similar sites, it has more surveys than most. And more surveys means more money. Users can redeem points for cash or gift cards.
- Lifepoints: This is a site that rewards users with points for taking surveys. The points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal, gift cards from places like Amazon and eBay, or can be donated to a charity.
- Swagbucks: This site is great because it has so many ways to earn, including surveys, internet searches, watching videos, playing games, and shopping online. Users can redeem points for cash or gift cards.
- Vindale: This site is one of the higher-paying survey sites and users can earn money watching videos and reading emails. Payments are in cash via Paypal or check.
Way #2: By Maximizing Your Savings, Cash-Back and Rewards
If you’re a stay at home mom, you’re probably doing most of the shopping for the household. These apps can help you save money on the things you buy for your family.
- Fetch: This app rewards users for uploading photos of their paper store receipts with points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
- Swagbucks: In addition to the ways to earn listed in the previous section, this app also has an online shopping portal that gives users cash-back, and a separate feature called Swagbucks Local that gives cash-back when you shop in participating local brick and mortar stores and restaurants.
- Ibotta: This app gives users cash-back when they redeem e-coupons and upload a copy of the receipt showing the purchases.
- Rakuten: This app gives users cash-back when they shop online through its portal.
Other Frequently Recommended Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms
Our main goal with an article like this one is to help you find realistic options that will actually work. And frankly, we think some of the most commonly recommenced “jobs” for moms fail to fit that bill.
Here’s a list of a few common suggestions that most people should skip.
- Baker: This appears on almost every list of “mom jobs,” but it’s somewhat unrealistic in most cases because to sell your goods as more than a hobby you need a health-compliant kitchen and proper packaging/storage procedures.
- Beauty: It’s one thing to do your friends’ hair and makeup as a favor, but practicing cosmetology from home is almost always illegal — especially if you don’t have a license.
- Child Care/Day Care: This can be a legit stay-at-home job, but the licensing and liability concerns are enormous. If this is something you’re interested in doing, you need to take a much deeper dive into your state’s requirements (and plan on making serious investments of time and money).
- Event Planner: This is often recommended as an “at-home” job, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since much of the work involves scouting locations and staffing them on the day of the event.
- Life Coach: There are many (many) people on the internet who want you to believe that you can make a living as a life coach. And all you have to do is sign up for their course. But for most people, this ends up being a money pit.
- Matchmaker: There have been ads for this job in women’s magazines forever. And while the positions do exist, the chances of landing one are one in a million and usually require a degree in a related field (like psychology).
- Online Stylist: This is a real job, but there are too few companies that hire for it. The main one is StichFix, and you have to live within one of a few specific areas to qualify.
- Renting Baby Gear: This is another suggestion that inexplicably pops up on almost every list. But just because you happen to have a baby doesn’t mean you want to get into the equipment rental business.
- Secret Shopper: Secret shopping is real! Market Force is a great option for getting assignments that will pay you a few bucks here and there (along with some free food or products). But it’s a hobby, not a job, and should be categorized as a way to make extra money.
- Travel Agent: It’s hard to imagine you’ll have much success as a stay-at-home travel agent in a world where people have access to travel aggregators like Expedia. The one exception might be if you have a ton of travel experience and can market yourself as an expert in a particular country or region.
The Downsides to Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom
You’ve probably already thought about the many great reasons to become a stay at home mom. But as you consider the options on this list, and think about which ones best-align with your desires and goals, it’s important to also recognize a couple of the downsides and take steps to avoid these potentially negative outcomes.
- Being a stay at home mom can affect your mental health. A 2012 study of 60,000 U.S. women found that they were approximately 5-10% more likely to report depression, sadness and anger than the general population, with women from relatively low-income households faring the worst. In other words, the degree to which staying at home affects your emotional well-being may be directly linked to financial stress.
- It can be difficult to re-enter the workforce. A Harvard study found that stay at home moms were three times less likely than working moms to be selected for a job interview — even when their overall skills and experience were identical. Plus, stepping away from your career means that you’ll lose opportunities for promotion and advancement, significantly impacting your overall earning potential.
There can be enormous social pressure to become a stay at home mom. A common refrain is that “it’s the best thing you can do for your children.” But these studies (and many others) suggest that it might not be the right move if it leads to significant financial sacrifice.
Choosing to work from home is the first step in preventing that from being the case, but it’s crucial to think very specifically about how much you need to earn to offset the negative effects noted above. If your partner earns six figures, that might be very little. But if your household income is on the lower end of the spectrum, you may need to focus more on jobs with higher earning potential — even if they cut into your time with your kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to a few common questions. If you’re wondering about something that wasn’t addressed in this article and doesn’t appear below, please let us know by leaving a comment.
Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” While it may in fact be one of the hardest jobs in the world, it doesn’t qualify as such in the eyes of a potential employer.
As we discussed earlier, one of the main downsides to becoming a stay at home mom is the potential for problems re-entering the workforce. That’s not fair, but it’s true: gaps in employment are viewed negatively. And the longer the gap is, the more of an issue it will be.
So, if you think you might want to return to work at some point in the future, it makes sense to find a way to work from home so that you have a realistic way to account for the gap on your resume. A three-year stint as a virtual assistant looks much better than taking three years “off,” and allows you to talk about the professional skills you’ve developed over that period.
The unfortunate answer is that virtually any employment gap will negatively affect both your chances of being hired and the amount of money you’re able to earn. However, societal views on this are changing (very slowly), and taking anywhere from three to six months off to care for your new child is no longer always viewed as a career-ending decision.
Many people ask about Amazon jobs because the conventional wisdom goes that the company has thousands of good-paying at home customer service positions. While those positions do exist, they’re far fewer (and far more difficult to get) than most people realize. You can learn more about what’s available with Amazon in this article.
Best Work-at-Home Jobs for Moms – Conclusion
No matter what your schedule or skills, there are legitimate online jobs that will allow you to make money from home so that you can do the job that matters the most: raising your children.
In some cases, your children can even participate in the work you’re doing. This allows you to spend quality time together and for your kids to learn new skills. And you never know — maybe what started out as a side hustle will evolve into the family business!