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Working From Home With Kids

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So after some discussions with my DP, human resources, and some of my mother friends, it was officially decided that when DP and I move, I will begin working from home.  I was wondering what everyone else thinks about the benefits and challenges of working from home with little ones.  One of the biggest incentives for us was that we didn't want to put a 3 month old in childcare.  Especially considering that next January, we'd be expected to work late and travel often, so not only would our little baby need to be in childcare, but we'd have to pay for late childcare...I just don't want to be away from my baby that much, and the pay increase between my current position and the position I was going to take, would be completely eaten up.


Ideally I'd like to just keep the baby at home with me while I work, but, from talks with the HR director, it seems like that might not be doable?  What do you ladies think? What are the challenges of trying to get work done with a baby at home?  Also, would it make sense to maybe consider part-time childcare? 

post #2 of 18

I can only tell you about my experience, and that requires a bit of backstory. I was a telecommuting software programmer before I had Cecilia. I figured I would continue to work from home and have her with a nanny part-time (I was planning on cramming as much work into 3-4 hours as possible and then doing more work when she was home as I could). As I got further on in my pregnancy, I came to realize that it wasn't going to be feasible for me. Something was going to suffer for it, and it wasn't going to be her-- it was going to be the work. So we made a family decision for me to stay home with her instead. I felt such RELIEF when we did.


Now, my story won't be the same as other people's for a few reasons. One, I never liked my job anyway, and like I said, I was thrilled to leave it. Two, there was no possibility of me working part time, so it was all or nothing. It was hard on us financially, as I made as much as my husband did (at that time, now he makes more than I did then), so our income was effectively cut in half. But it's the same choice I would make over and over. This is where I feel like I belong. I do nanny part time now, so I bring in a little disposable income that way.


So for me, it wasn't feasible.

post #3 of 18

I would tend to agree with Aimee.


Again, this is just a personal experience, but it would be impossible for me to work from home full time without some sort of childcare help.  I am a software tester and I need to be able to sit at a computer and analyze things for long periods of time without interruption.  So I work in an office, and my son goes to a daycare center that's about five minutes away.


Think of it this way: you already have a full time job.  Caring for a baby is also a full time job.  Expecting to be able to do 2 full time jobs simultaneously is pretty ambitious - you're only human, after all.


I think it can be hard to conceptualize just how much work babies are before you have one.  I remember a conversation I had when I was pregnant with my first.  My coworker was advising me not to plan on getting too much done over maternity leave, and I told her that my only goal was to sweep out the garage.  Yeah, when I finally got the chance to do that?  My son was 14 months old.


What are your childcare options?

post #4 of 18

Alas, I have to agree with the previous posters.  For me, working from home without childcare is completely impossible and has been through all stages so far (my daughter is now almost 2).  I hate trying to get work done when I'm caring for my daughter, as it induces a lot of stress for both of us, and am lucky if get 30 minutes done on days when I am home with her.  I do work from home some, and love having that flexibility, but I only do so when I have my nanny or mom there to take care of my daughter.  On Fridays, when I am home with my daughter--I make very clear to everyone at work that I am off, not just working from home, and if something does come up, I usually arrange child care, even if only for a hour conference call. 


That said, depending on your child, your parenting style, and your job, you may be able to get more done than me, and I know one person who made it almost a year "working from home" two days a week without childcare (and in the office three days a week), but she only made this work by working long nights and weekends and being able to not have meetings or other need-to-get-it-done-now things on the days she was home (I think she only ended up working a few hours a day when she was home, mostly during nap times) and in my experience even this is the exception not the rule.   


I would definitely suggest at least looking into various child-care options.  Good luck--I know it can be really stressful figuring it all out. 

post #5 of 18

I've tried this, and it doesn't work. Trying to work from home with kids means neither job gets done well -- the kids get ignored and the work gets done in distracted fashion. I ended up putting my son in daycare three days a week, which was fine since he was preschool age anyway. Just means our budget is stretched waaaaay too tight. When this baby comes I don't know what I'm going to do. I definitely don't want her/him in daycare for the first year.


Maybe you could pay a high school or college student to come for a few hours a few days a week and watch the kids?

post #6 of 18

I work from home successfully. But it's not easy. There have been times when I've needed outside help. But the main thing is that my husband and I tag team parent like crazy. He gets home at 3 every day and from then on is when I do most of my work. I do a couple hours in the morning of the clerical stuff that has to be done. But clients cannot be done when kids are home. I work until usually around 10 in the evening. Sometimes less. I've gotten good at squeezing a lot in, in a little amount of time. 

Although, my biggest complaint is that everything takes me 10 times longer with the kids around. For sure! They interrupt a lot! 


But we want the kids home and so we wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, I love what I do. It is what I'm passionate about, and very good at. I've been doing my work for a long time (over a decade), but only officially started it in the business format it's seen as now, 4 years ago.  My oldest was 2 and my youngest was less then 1. And in four years I've hosted my own radio show, written a book, hosted a medium size Expo, and have regular clients. I completely self-run it. It's all up to me. It's grown a lot and soon it will completely provide for my family and I'll have more help...like an assistant and stuff.


Anyways, I tell you all that to let you know that it's totally possible. But it can be tough at times, it can be draining and I couldn't do it without an awesome partner that does just as much at home as I do.


I will be with you though in experiencing the newborn stage while working out of home.  It should be interesting! 

post #7 of 18

It also helps if you have a really flexible job that is fine with you putting hours in here and there. I definitely didn't have that option with my telecommuting job.

post #8 of 18

When I first went back to work after my son was born, I worked part from home, part from office.  From that experience, I would say - if you can swing it - work from home and have childcare (a nanny in house who can bring you the baby to nurse) - but only if you have a space in your new home where you can get away from the noise and interaction with your child.  Otherwise, it is so so so distracting.  And, I find it stressful to work around my kids - especially newborns, because they are not predictable and seem to need something every 5 seconds! 


For me, I need the clean break being at work or the space within my home away from kids to really accomplish anything.  When my kids are in the vicinity - they tend to be my focus - it's not purposeful - just my natural tendency.  I don't do my best work with them around ;). 


You can try to work when they are sleeping - but if you don't have any help, then that's the time when you should either also be sleeping or you're going to need to be doing housework - making dinner, folding laundry, etc. 


Bottom line - working from home can be really nice - it would keep you and your baby close.  I would not try it without help in some significant form - especially during those sleep deprived first few months.  And have a designated area to work. 


With one baby - after the 4-5 month mark - you'll be in more of a routine and may be able to accomplish more with less help.  But every baby is different. 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice!

post #10 of 18

My partner works from home, and even with my job being to take care of the kids, it's hard for him.  They don't understand why they cant just go ask him a question- especially the 2 yr old.  He usually ends up doing work during nap time and then staying up most of the night to finish his deadlines.  If you think you can get it all done while they sleep it might work.  Or if they do play really quietly and independently most of the time.  It also helps to have a job where you can stand a lot of interruptions.  He is a programmer and he says he is often doing long equations in his head, and as soon as a kid interrupts him, then he has to sit back down and think, ok, where was I? And it will take him a couple minutes to get back to where he was. If your brain is good at jumping from thing to thing, maybe it will be fine :)  I bet people who are used to being the primary care giver are more used to that anyway!

post #11 of 18


Originally Posted by Veritas Vitae View Post


Ideally I'd like to just keep the baby at home with me while I work, but, from talks with the HR director, it seems like that might not be doable?  What do you ladies think? What are the challenges of trying to get work done with a baby at home?  Also, would it make sense to maybe consider part-time childcare? 

Also, I was just thinking, this is much easier in the beginning I think.  If you can work and nurse at the same time, then they sleep the other 3rd of the time, you'll probably get a lot done.  My above post was about older children- a 2 and 5 yr old.  Newborns are pretty easy for awhile.  I think I remember starting to get overwhelmed around 5 months when they start wanting to move around on their own.


post #12 of 18

(if you stayed here, I could watch your baby while you worked, even if you just worked half days or something.)


Knowing your personality, I think you could hire a nanny to come to your house and totally pull this off. You are very task oriented. With a nanny and determination you could get all your work done in less time then it takes you to do in the office.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

There is some really good advice here about possible options to keep the babe at home and the realities of doing this.  Moremadder/Lizbiz, that is a good idea about paying someone to come help out. IntuitiveJamie, your situation is impressive, how wonderful to have that level of support. Unfortunately, is it absolutely certain that DP's job requirements are going to be extensive, including long hours during busy seasons and travelling. Somethinganon, that is the advice that my friend gave me as well, about when they're younger ('just stick him on the boob"). Aimee/Rebecca, thanks for the reality check on the requirements of trying to juggle both a job and a baby.  I think a possible solution might be to bring my mother up to NC sooner than my DP and I had anticipated.  My mother has health problems (epilepsy/diabetes/lupus) and is in the process of going on permanent disability, eventually DP and I had planned on building her a little 1-room cottage on our property (that we don't have yet), as she really needs someone around to help with heavy lifting, etc.  She is mostly self-sufficient, and would do fine to help with the baby, but she could't be a sole caregiver.  As I'm working from home, it might just work out that she could kind of look over the baby for the most part, and then when I'm needed, I'd be there.  The only downside to this plan is getting my DP on board, he's accepted that at some point we'd bring my mother up, but wants more time before that happens.  My mother can be super needy and acts like she can't do as much as she is capable of.  I know she has a hard time, but I think that having (a) some purpose and (b) more company, would help with her slight depression over her current situation, living alone and not being able to work.  Also, knowing she doesn't have to worry about paying her bills and things like that would help with some of her stresses as well.


Thursday, (this is my twin), you and your family could move to NC :D  I've already postponed moving as long as possible because I didn't want to leave you, but this is absolutely the next step in our careers at this point.  Come with me!!!!  You could move onto a farm right by us and homeschool all the kiddos!  And your hubs could definitely get work up there...we'll talk him into it yet winky.gif.  Once we have some land, how can he say no? I purposefully picked a place where I knew he wouldn't mind moving.

post #14 of 18

Veritas, you know I'd move in a second but Hubs is far too cautious to ever do something that isn't planned out. So you are taking mom now? Makes sense as Hubs and I won't be in a position anytime soon to take her in. I think that could really work out well.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

No decisions, just mulling over options

post #16 of 18

DH and I both work FT and we don't have paid childcare. I can work about half my hours from home. When LO was little, it was intense but I could manage. Now that is interactive, I don't feel like I can give my best parenting to him while also working. I'll give you an idea of what we do. It is very unique and probably doesn't apply to your schedule, but it may get you thinking. On Mondays, I am off and LO and I hang out. On Tuesdays, my parents watch him a few hours at their house and then a few hours at my office so I can nurse him, visit, etc. DH works a modified work day and takes over at about 3. On Wednesdays, I have the morning off and then work from home during naps and in the evening. When LO is awake, I try to log hours with things that are engaging to him--anything creative or involving shopping, one-on-one casual meetings with people who don't mind him there, etc. On Thursdays, I work a full day at my parents house while they watch him. Again, I can nurse him and be there for him if he needs me, but have space, too. I also log hours at night after DS goes to bed. On Fridays, I am on-site at work, but it is a creative, active day so LO comes with me and I set up play stations for him and try to involve him in my work. That can be intense!  DH works a modified schedule that day, too. He gets LO at 2-3 pm. Some days, I have a "mother's helper" come and play with LO in the room with me while I work. DH and I both have special needs siblings, so that is a good way for them to spend time with LO while being supervised. I work half days on Sat and Sun and DH is with DS while I go to work. It works for us, but is intense. Every time LO is awake, I have to thing about what I can do while he is asleep (like computer work). When he is asleep, I need to plan the next thing we'll do when he is awake (active work or chores or playing). Because I log hours in the evening, I try to fit some chores into the day and involve LO with them so we can do active things together while still being productive. When LO2 comes along, we'll have to see if this set-up still is sane

post #17 of 18

pandd06, congrats on making this work. I am curious, what is your field? must be very parent-friendly if you can take your son to work.

post #18 of 18

I am a children's minister--very family-friendly indeed!

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