'Motherfields' providing unique way for Ore. women to work and parent

By Cathy Marshall, NBC News  |  Posted Jan 15th, 2013 @ 7:46pm


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PORTLAND, Ore. — A new Portland area business caters to moms struggling with working at home while raising an infant or toddler. It's called Motherfields.

"The vision I had when I started was just a field of flowers," said owner Kathryn Bereman-Skelly.

Her field is a simple office space and what she's grown is a place where moms are making friends and meeting deadlines.


I wanted a place where moms could just get comfortable, they could drop in and get some work done and know their child is safe.

–Kathryn Bereman-Skelly, Motherfields


"I wanted a place where moms could just get comfortable, they could drop in and get some work done and know their child is safe," Bereman-Skelly said.

For $4 an hour, moms rent a desk; and for $6 an hour, their children under the age of 3 are supervised while they work.

"I don't know why someone didn't think of this before," said Summer Collier, an acupuncturist with an active daughter. "She checks on me but then goes back with the other kids because that's way more fun than watching mom work."

Bereman-Skelly came up with the concept after 10 years as a therapist specializing in the mental well-being of women.

"Being a mom is really isolating at times, especially when you have a very young child or if you're working from home," she explained.

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That's why, along with the workspace, Motherfields also offers support groups including one for moms with infants.

"Probably the best thing is seeing: I'm not the only one who doesn't know what I'm doing, and that eventually it comes," remarked Katie Mansfield, who participates in a support group.

Mom Tara Lilley agreed. "I look forward to coming here every week and getting a break."

In fact, that's exactly what the owner had in mind. She believes it's the only co-working space of its kind in the country and hopes to create more.

"This is the dream," Bereman-Skelly said, looking around her first location, "I would love to be able to provide this to any mom who feels isolated and needs it."

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