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Internet Opens the Way for 'Dot-Com Moms'

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RALEIGH — The Internet is changing the way many women live, allowing mothers to look after childrenandwork at home.

For many moms, the day starts out like this: The kids get on the school bus, then Mom leaves to go to work. The balancing act between work and children is driving more women to look for an alternative.

Laura Newberg can be at home with her children, Cassie and Shawn, when they are out of school. As the web designer for IT Magazine, she works at the office during school hours, and at home when her children are there.

"The advantage is that I am with my kids," she says. "I'm able to go to a teacher's conference. I'm able to be home when my daughter gets in the door and when my son gets in the door."

Having Mom at home makes 9-year-old Shawn happy.

"I feel better because I'm not alone," he says.

That is the payoff for Newberg and thousands of other dot-com moms. Newberg says the most difficult part of working part-time at home is balancing work and the needs of her children.

The apple of dot-com-mom Jill Newbold's eye is her 19-month-old son, Lee. Babysitters and day care allow Newbold to run herWeb-consulting businessfrom home.

"He is all over the place, so it's pretty much impossible to get anything done work-wise," she says.

Newbold and Newberg use Internet sites to keep up to date with what is going on in their respective areas of work. Web sites dedicated to dot-com moms offer advice and ideas from other dot-commers.

However, Newbold says the advantage of working when and where she wants may not be for everyone.

"I have a ton of respect for full-time moms now, but I like it if I have just something else in my life to kind of give me a sense of accomplishment," she says.

Newberg stresses the need for discipline, ridding herself of distractions and staying in touch with her office-bound co-workers.

"It was communication and really learning that telecommuting was a communication effort between all of us," she says.

Does she miss being around her co-workers?

"I'm still going to an office part-time, so I still have some social aspects in my life," Newberg says.

Meanwhile, Newbold likes the flexibility of setting her own schedule and priorities.

"It's nice to be able to work with people you enjoy, choose a nice variety of work, and I like the sense of accomplishment that I've done something on my own," she says.

Hiring young women with children is getting to be hip, because they are dedicated employees.

"If you'll give a woman the same 20 hours a week to work, either at your office or from her home, you've got a great loyal employee," Newbold says.

Several Internet-based groups in the Triangle offer chat rooms and bulletin boards -- a big benefit for dot-com moms.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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