Career and children: Can Latter-day Saint women have both?

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Ali Carlile does freelance product design work from her at-home studio in Vineyard, Utah. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
Ali Carlile, a full-time mom, does freelance product design work from her at-home studio in Vineyard, Utah. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

Many LDS women consider the question of whether to work outside the home. Being mothers, homemakers and employees is an ever increasing lifestyle for women.

Ali Carlile is a young mother with two kids, but she is also a highly successful entrepreneur and founder of Aqua Product Design in Vineyard. Designing for top corporations like Nike, Adidas, Hewlett Packard, Novell and New Balance, Carlile is top-dog in the design world and also successfully balances being a full-time mom.

“If you are good at something and you love it enough, you are going to be successful,” Carlile said. “Don’t hesitate to do what you love because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

As a BYU industrial design graduate, Carlile has always loved designing, but after the birth of her first child, she was faced with the important decision of whether to work outside of the home.

“When I had my daughter, I was faced with a decision,” Carlile said. “I was the breadwinner, so it was a huge leap of faith for us.”

Carlile decided to do freelance design and work from her home office, allowing her to spend time with her children.

“I hated the idea that I was gone all day and I only had a few hours in the evening with my kids,” Carlile said. “Having that time with my kids is so valuable.”

Carlile said the benefits of working from home far outweigh the costs. She said she has noticed a trend for Mormon mothers to work from home and attributes it to the fact that more and more Mormon women are obtaining educations.

“Because we are encouraged to get all the education we can, the next step is to do something with that education,” Carlile said. “The nature of work is changing, but you have to find a balance.”

Ali Carlile does freelance product design work from her at-home studio in Vineyard, Utah. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
Ali Carlile, who works from home, is a highly successful entrepreneur and founder of Aqua Product Design. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

Athelia Woolley LeSueur, founder of Shabby Apple, lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter. After seeing a need for modest dresses, LeSuer created a highly successful business while still being home for her family.

“I love working from home,” LeSueur said. “My baby knows that I am there all the time, and I love that she knows that.”

LeSeuer said Mormon mothers are increasingly working from home, but it is not a huge change from past decades, because work and motherhood go hand in hand.

“I think that women like Mormon moms have always had a lot to do, but I think with our day and age, that type of work changes,” LeSeuer said. “I like to create, and as an entrepreneur I get to create, and as a mother you get to create your child’s life, so in both ways you are creating.”

Tiffany Dansie, a full-time mother and an independent team Beachbody coach from Eagle Mountain, said she loves working from home because she can balance the demands of being a mom with the opportunity to bring in some extra income.

“Working from home has given us so much flexibility that we never had before,” Dansie said. “It’s nice for people to have a little bit of a buffer to alleviate the burden.”

Although it takes self-discipline to set boundaries between work and motherhood, Dansie said work has given her an outlet to relieve some of the immense stress of being a full-time mom.

“I know not everyone feels the same way, but as a mom I kind of lost myself,” Dansie said. “Everything I did was surrounded around my kids; this gave me something for me.”

Finding the balance is the biggest challenge, Dansie said, but working from home has been the perfect balance of motherhood and personal time.

“I get to be a mom,” Dansie said. “I get to stay home, and I get to set my own hours.”

All three mothers said working from home allows them to utilize their skills, have an outlet for the stresses of motherhood and give something to themselves.

“It makes you a better person, to not just sit around and let life happen, but to make it happen,” Carlile said.

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