Mom entrepreneurs balancing work, family

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- Erin Owens spends her days in the business of beauty. She opened Mesa spa Fuchsia in 2006 after she and her business partner, Lisa Vukonich,  wanted to spend less time at work and more time with their families.

“We were looking for a way to find a balance,” said Owens.

Both Owens and Vukonich had careers in higher education that pulled them away from time with their kids.

“It was long hours. You didn’t have the freedom and the balance,” said Owens. “There could be a parent-teacher conference at two in the afternoon, and you can’t go.”

Owens and her partner opted to start their own business, which has allowed them more flexibility.

“She wasn’t able to be here today because she had commitments with her kids,” said Owens of Vukonich, “So I’m able to come in.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of women staying at home to raise children is at an all-time low of 23 percent.

Brent Kleinman, an Arizona attorney who helps small businesses get started, says more moms are opting for the small business route so they can achieve a work-life balance.

“The successful ones really forecast what their chances are. They’re realistic as far as knowing they may have a good product or service, but they’re not going to retire off that in six months,” he said.

Owens says she has certainly had her share of long hours, and six years in she is not looking to retire soon. Still, she doesn’t miss the pace of her old 9 to 5 life style, which had her missing out on some of life’s most important moments.

“I was running a thin line between getting to work, commuting to work, and getting home to make dinner for the family,” said Owens. “The next thing you know it’s two years down the road and you feel like, 'oh my gosh, I’ve missed a lot.'”

Owens says her new role as a small business owner allows her more flexibility and a better work-life balance.