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Moms find ways to work at home

Staff Writer

Three Marion County moms supplement their household income, yet still stay at home with their children.

According to the Home Based Working Moms Network, a professional online organization, today, more than ever before, parents are trying to find ways to stay with their children, and many are finding it makes financial sense.

Amy Sterk of rural Goessel, Rachel Burkholder of rural Hillsboro, and Kelly Krch of rural Lincolnville have jobs that allow them to work out of home offices.

“If I couldn’t work at home, I wouldn’t be working,” Sterk said. “My priority is being available to my kids and their needs. I like being able to go to their activities during the day and being at home when they get home from school.”

Sterk works from her home office as a Christian resource distributor. She is the only customer service representative in the United States for a Canadian company.

“I have two bookshelves of material in my office so I do a little bit of shipping,” Sterk said. “But mostly I am linked to the head office with my computer and all work is done electronically.”

Sterk has worked two mornings per week from her home office since February 2009. At that time, the company closed an office in Hillsboro, then offered her an opportunity to work from her home.

“I generally put in 25 to 30 hours per week,” she said.

The nicest part about her job is that if a child is sick and needs to stay home from school, she can be right there with him or her.

“Someday when the kids are all out of grade school, I may want to pursue a job using my social work degree,” she said. “But for now, I don’t want to be tied down to a job that would keep me away from my kids.”

Sterk said her original plan for her at-home earnings was to start a special savings account for a new car, new refrigerator, or family vacation, but with the current economy, all money goes into the family living budget.

Sterk and her husband, Kent, own and operate the Sterk Dairy, located northeast of Goessel. They have four children ages 17, 13, 11, and 8.

Burkholder of rural Hillsboro pursued a work-at-home option five years ago, when her youngest child was only a year old.

“I really wanted to part of my kid’s lives,” she said. “Plus, money-wise, it didn’t make a lot of sense to pay a baby-sitter and deal with vehicle expense, including gas, and put in all that time, just to bring home next to nothing.”

Burkholder said she felt very lucky to work at home as a data entry specialist for a medical billing company because there just were not many jobs available for moms who want to stay home with their kids.

She said her work hours vary by week, but she typically puts in at least three to four hours per day.

“I have aspirations of going back to school for nursing someday,” she said. “But right now it’s really nice I can help with my son’s class at school one day a week, go on field trips with my kids, and be at home when they get off the bus.”

Burkholder and her husband, Brian, a flight safety instructor in Wichita, have three children ages 11, 9, and 6.

Krch of rural Lincolnville started making beaded jewelry nine years ago as a hobby when her first son was born.

“I found out real quickly that it just didn’t make sense to pay for day-care and make an hour one-way commute,” Krch said. “I decided to stay home with my children and save that money.”

Krch discovered her interest in making jewelry while shopping for rosaries.

“I wanted to give my friend some rosaries for her three children,” she said. “I just couldn’t find anything I liked until I discovered a store in Hutchinson where they were handmade, and I thought, ‘Wow, I could do that.’”

Krch said she spends an average of 10 to 20 hours per week making jewelry, though this week has been more as she prepared for an open house sale.

Several crafters are involved in the open house, which will be from three to 7 p.m., Saturday, at 1920 275th St. in Pilsen.

“I have been very busy getting ready for early Christmas sales,” Krch said. “But I love to do this and it definitely gives us some spending money.”

Krch maintains a website for her handmade jewelry at http://www.marysgardenjewerly.com.

She and her husband, Kevin, who owns Krch Automotive in Lincolnville, have two children ages 8 and 6.

Last modified Oct. 27, 2011

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