Some local mothers are breadwinners

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Mothers wear many hats. They're caregivers. They're cooks. They're tutors. In some families, they're also the breadwinners.

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After getting home from work, Jane Floyd takes time to help her nephews Tavares (left) and Tyree with their homework. Floyd's husband cannot work because he takes strong medication for pain management.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
After getting home from work, Jane Floyd takes time to help her nephews Tavares (left) and Tyree with their homework. Floyd's husband cannot work because he takes strong medication for pain management.

Here are the stories of two local women who are "bringing home the bacon" for their families, each with a unique set of circumstances:

Tara Chokshi

Tara Chokshi, an art teacher and the head of the art department at Augusta Preparatory Day School, earns most of the money for her household. She's supportive of her husband's dream to become an artist and business owner. His income fluctuates from month to month.

Her husband, Shishir, has a passion for pottery and owns Frameworks & Tire City Potters on 10th Street, which has a pottery studio and frame shop.

She believes that one day he'll reap the rewards of his hard work.

"He's an extremely hard worker," Chokshi said. "Even if he's not bringing in money, he's still working as hard as he can, and I really respect that. I want to support him as an artist. If it means me having to bring in the bulk of the money to make the monthly bills, I'm willing to do it. As long as he works hard, I have no problem with it. Nobody can work as hard as he does and not at some point see success."

It's not always smooth sailing, she said. They have occasional arguments about money. They allocate the money to meet their needs, but there's not much left over from her teaching salary.

The Chokshis have two daughters, Meera, 5, and Priyanka, 1.

Though Chokshi sometimes wishes she could stay at home, her teaching job is the best situation possible for a working mother. She gets holidays and summers off and completes her workday before the late evening.

"I couldn't have a more perfect job. I have the absolute next-best thing," she said.

Chokshi has worked at Augusta Prep for 17 years. Because she teaches there, her children can attend the school without having to pay tuition.

She has worked since she was 16 years old and wants her daughters to realize the value of working. There are important lessons to be learned, such as gaining discipline and respecting authority, she said.

She is a certified professional framer and also owns part of the family business.

Her husband said that he appreciates his wife's support. Without her, he wouldn't have been able to pursue his dream. Some men are self-conscious about their wife making more money, but he sees money as a resource.

He wishes that he could make more money, though, to fulfill his wife's dream to stay at home with their children while they are young.

"It's really difficult for me to generate enough revenue for me to be able to pay our mortgage, have health insurance and deal with all the issues that come up financially," he said. "I wish I could make more simply to allow her to do what she wants to do. It's the nature of the type of work I do. It's unfortunate, but it just is."

Even if he were earning more money, he wouldn't be able to afford to send his kids to Augusta Prep, he said. He is proud of his wife's accomplishments.

"I think what she does is vital to our community. She built that program up from nothing, and it is by far the best program in this area," he said. "Kids go to some of the top art schools in the country, almost yearly."

Even though she works full time, Tara Chokshi always makes time for her children.

"She's a great mother," her husband said. "It's pretty impressive what she does."

Jane Floyd

Six years ago, Larry Floyd had surgery and has suffered from painful muscle spasms ever since. To manage his pain, he takes strong medication, which makes him drowsy and renders him unable to work.

He is retired from the Army, and before his surgery, he was a manager at a NAPA Auto Parts store.

Since then, his wife, Jane, has had to take over the financial responsibilities of the household. She is a client associate for four brokers at Merrill Lynch, where she has worked for 31 years.

They have been married for 21 years and have five children and 10 grandchildren. Floyd said she knows that her husband would work if he were physically able. Sometimes he gets discouraged that he can't support his family, she said.

"I just let him know that everything will be fine. We'll make it," Floyd said.

Her husband helps out in other ways, she said. Her two nephews, Tavares Powell, 6, and Tyree Kaylor, 7, live with them, so he's there when they come home from school each day. He also cooks all the meals.

It's a challenge financially, but they manage, she said. Her husband is applying to receive disability because of his medical condition.

Her income is higher than the requirements for the free-lunch program, so her nephews don't qualify. They must take their lunch most days unless there is extra money for them to buy their meals at school.

The 58-year-old woman is at the office each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After work, she goes home to help her nephews with their homework, along with her sister's help. She is hoping to retire in the next four or five years.

The Floyds have a tradition each Mother's Day. The fathers in the family prepare dinner for all the mothers. The gatherings can be large -- as many as 50 people, she said.

"They serve us," Jane Floyd said. "We feel like queens when they do that."

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tncc0770
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tncc0770 05/09/10 - 12:03 pm
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CORRECTION: One thing in

CORRECTION: One thing in this article is false. Prep faculty DO pay tuition, just at a reduced rate. The statement by the writer that Tara's children go to Prep for free is wrong. Other than that, lovely article.

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