From Stilettos to Sweatpants and Back

A note from Nicole: I asked my friend, Sarah Zengerle, to share her experience as a new Mom.  Like many women, Sarah had to decide whether or not to pay for full time child care (a salary of its own in the city of Chicago) or to turn in her business suit to raise her daughter at home instead.

For those of you who are faced with this huge decision (or fear it for one day in the future!), I think Sarah’s story will resonate with you.  There’s no doubt that being a Mom is the most rewarding -and the toughest- job on earth.  Yet at some point, many women feel disconnected with the outside world and miss the pace, challenges, financial rewards and social stimulation of having a job title outside of being a Mom.  Every woman deserves to fulfill her own needs and it is my belief that when they do, they are also better Mothers.  Sarah’s story shows that it is entirely possible to have the best of both worlds.  Enjoy! -Nicole

After having my daughter Lily last July, I faced the tough decision many new moms face: whether to go back to my corporate career and fork away Chicago’s standard $2500/month for a full-time nanny/daycare, or trade in my stilettos for sweat pants as a Stay-At-Home Mom.

At this point I had been working in TV Advertising Sales for 6 years, and while I enjoyed my job and the salary that came with it, I couldn’t see myself leaving Lily for 10 hours a day. I was looking forward to days full of playdates, and willing to adjust my lifestyle (from Nordstrom to Old Navy) to make the single-income household work.

I quickly realized that being a Stay-At-Home Mom really is the hardest job in the world, and the luxuries of client lunches, manicures and showering daily were a distant memory. After 8 months of focusing every bit of my energy on the baby, I realized I had started to lose my spark. Although I still wanted to be at home with Lily and watch her grow, I also needed something to satisfy my own wants and goals.

It was around that trying time that I was first introduced to Stella & Dot, a “social selling” jewelry company. I immediately discounted the opportunity. I had never been an at-home party girl myself, and had bad experiences in the past with a certain at-home company’s girls stalking me on Michigan Avenue.

But after a very short time (say 24 hours of watching the Stella & Dot “Our Story” video on replay), I realized how great the opportunity was with this company. The idea of being an independent business owner, making your own hours and no glass ceilings was very tempting. Not to mention the product and quality is gorgeous- and I fell in love with the jewelry line.

In less than 90 days as an Independent Stylist, I’ve promoted to Senior Stylist (on my way to Star) and now have a team of 6 girls who are amazing friends in Chicago. I’ve never had more fun or been so passionate about anything in my life!

Stella & Dot gives me an excuse to get glammed up, get together with fun women for a glass of wine and do a little shopping! Getting paid for it is just the icing on the cake. It feels great to bring in a paycheck while doing what I love and spending the majority of my time with my family!

Not only do I love hosting private trunk shows, but the coaching aspect of the business is very rewarding. Helping others create their own business and successes is my favorite part. I have girls on my team with full-time jobs doing Stella & Dot as a hobby or fun gig, and girls trying to make six figures.

As for me, I still wear my sweatpants during the day, I still have my standing playdates during the week, but 1-2 nights a week I put on my Stella & Dot jewels and have a girls night out! If you love fashion and are interested in working from home and/or owning your own business, I have a so-called “job” for you! Contact me about becoming an Independent Stylist and join my team:!

Another note from Nicole: Shoot! I just watched the “Stella and Dot story” video and this sounds incredible! I’m all pumped up just hearing about all of these women finding balance, helping other women succeed and being so passionate about what they do. I may need to chat with Sarah about this myself!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.