The Power of Mom: Mothers have gotten into the franchising game and in many cases it's a perfect balance for working and raising a family

Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs in the world - just ask any mom. It's often thankless, seems endless, and certainly lacks much worldly prestige. Life for mom can be even more challenging if she desires to work outside the home to boot. There are, after all, limited choices beyond the full-time job and requisite daycare for the kids. In a month where we stop for a day (May 11) to recognize all that mom does, it's interesting to note that more and more moms are finding a place at home and in franchising. Moms like Liz Norwood in Denver, Colo.

When Norwood graduated from college in 1985, she went to work in the field of sales and marketing. She spent time with ad agencies and local and national publications building her career. But when the time came to start a family, she left the corporate world for the simplicity of staying at home with the new baby. She had planned to go back to work but found the corporate options and inflexible scheduling left much to be desired for moms like her. And that just didn't sit well with Norwood.

"For a long time, women only had two choices - work or raise a family," she says. "Women who decide to have a baby often have intentions of returning to work after a certain amount of time. But there were few options." That was the impetus behind Norwood and three other "new moms" starting up a new company called 10 til 2 back in 2003 in Denver. The company is a and personnel organization that specializes in part-time placement of college-degreed professionals. It was all part of Norwood's belief that, "A woman can still have a career outside the home without abandoning her familial responsibilities."

As you might expect, the 10 til 2 franchise has been extremely popular with moms who are eagerly becoming franchisees and with the many part-time employees the franchise places in jobs. Norwood says the corporate staff is comprised entirely of women, most with children.

"All of our staff works part-time and the job seekers we place are mostly women," she says. However, she admits, there have been a few men and older professionals they've placed in part-time positions.

In the beginning, there was no intention of franchising, but the attention and buzz generated by the company caused the four partners to consider franchising, learn more about it, and ultimately, in 2006, begin franchising. Today there are 17 franchise locations of 10 til 2 in nine states.

Norwood says everyone in the organization "walks the talk."

"We get our kids on the school bus in the morning and see them off the bus in the afternoon," says the 44-year-old Norwood, who is the mother of an 11- and 16-year-old. "I personally drive a morning and afternoon carpool a few days a week. Our office hours are 9 to 4 but we take time for our kids and things like class projects and field trips."

And they're not alone.

Ali Maricle is another mom who was convinced there must be a way to balance raising a family and having a career.

A pilot with American Airlines, she grew concerned about the state of the airline industry following 9/11. Her husband, who's also a pilot, was furloughed following the September terrorist attack. Maricle didn't like the economic outlook and, as a new mom, was looking at second career options. While reading her airline's employee newsletter one day she saw an ad for INTERIORS by Decorating Den.

"I'd been thinking about doing something else, and I still wanted to fly, but I knew I didn't have the time or the knowledge to build a business plan," says the 37-year-old.

Maricle opened her franchise in Colleyville, Tex., (a suburb of Dallas) in the summer of 2005 and she hasn't looked back. She's become a successful home decorator and continues to be a mom who has a flexible schedule and time for her kids.

"It's been a great business for me," she says. "I have the flexibility to take care of my kids and I can schedule much of my business appointments during the day when they are at school." Her two children are now ages 4 and 6. She says a supportive family and group of friends have also been assets. Her parents, who live only 15 minutes away, can step in to help with the kids if necessary.

"Time management is one of the most difficult things. I love my family, I love flying, and I love this franchise business," says Maricle, who still flies routes eight days each month. She's got two part-time decorators and a part-time administrative person, who help her run the burgeoning decorating business. And she has a new studio office that's just minutes away from home. "It's great being so close to home and the kids and I'm always just a phone call away."

She says INTERIORS by Decorating Den has been very supportive offering her all kinds of business-enhancing and she really has liked the organization's family-friendly culture. "I've been able to provide income for my family without having to rely on someone else to take care of my kids."

Working and raising a family. Moms can have the best of both worlds - especially in the arena of franchising. Here's to you mom.

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