Advice for working from home with babe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello! I started back at work part time this week (thanks for all your support to my thread on Monday!), and am lucky enough to be working one day a week from home with my precious 2 month old.

Today was my first work at home day, and it was SO hard. It's only 4, and I'm totally exhausted and in tears. I feel like my brain is being pulled in two directions... one to my baby, one to work. And even though Carter is still sleeping a lot, he needs to sleep with me, so I had him in the Moby almost all day. it's a life saver, but my back is hurting! And then when he is awake I feel so bad putting him in his infant seat or something, like I'm ignoring him.

I keep reminding myself that I get distracted plenty at the office, and that that time I spend with Carter awake at home probably doesn't add up to the time I spend chatting with coworkers, etc., at the office. But I'm just afraid that I can't do this.

Any suggestions for ways to help work from home while still giving your baby what they need?

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#2 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 06:52 PM
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Although I work at home w/ baby I don't have to work specific hours, so that's easier for me... It sounds like you do?

If by chance I need to do a conference call or be around at specific times, there's a few things I do. Do something very exhausting for baby, like taking a walk or going to the store. That usually ensures she'll be tired and pass out for a couple hours (off of me!). Now that she's older we just got her an exersaucer, which she loves. She sits next to me in it which helps a lot.

I wouldn't be able to work a full day with her, though. I mostly work at night when she's asleep... because I found it impossible.
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#3 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 09:07 PM
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I work from home with a baby too. To be honest, I didn't do it well at all (I got fired actually) until she was 3 months. Now at 14 months (and from about 3 months on) I'm able to do a 4 or 6 hour day, but not 8 like I thought at first... Luckily mine is/was a good sleeper, I worked almost all of the time while she was asleep.
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#4 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 11:21 PM
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I work at home a couple of days a week with my 7 mo. He is a super active baby and a long nap is about an hour. I've had to hire a friend to come in and babysit him while I'm working at home. I can still nurse him and get some snuggles in during the day, but I'm free to get things done more easily. I can't really afford it (well, obviously I can, because I am) but it's the only way I can actually continue working from home... I'm just lucky I have a friend going through a career change who wants to come make a babysitting wage at my house!
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#5 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 11:49 PM
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When my baby was that age, I would nurse him to sleep and let him lie in my lap while I worked on the computer. Okay, he's a year old and I still do that.
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#6 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 07:47 AM
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HMM looking for some great suggestions. I work from home too and its 2:30 in the morning and I am up doing work while the kids sleep.

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#7 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 10:45 AM
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I do do most of my work while she's asleep, but there's an hour or so where she's awake that I have to finish up usually. I let her raid my computer cabinet and take out all the papers, that's a good 30 minutes. I get out her musical toy, the tuperware container. I'll give her snack in the high chair next to me. I've used the portacrib when she was really adamant about getting into the other room, but usually I don't need to.

When she was an infant she'd be pretty happy to play on the floor as long as I'd keep singing/talking to her (I do transcripton and apparently don't use my brain as much as I thought to do my job I can sing and type!). I'd also take a break for 10 mins every hour and we'd go for a walk, do laundry, let the chickens out, get the mail, start dinnner...

Working with her in the sling never really worked well for me. I could prop her to nurse sometimes on the boppy.

I don't know, it's a juggle.
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#8 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 10:48 AM
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I don't know if this is helpful but I found it enough of a juggle that I eventually hired a babysitter - for about half the hours I was working. Knowing that I had that time for sure regardless of naps, feedings, moods, etc., helped me so much. The rest I did fit in around our life - weekends, evenings, naps, etc. which made it economically feasible.

This is very personal but I just wasn't great at juggling - I was worrying all the time about getting things done and not enjoying my son, and it wasn't a good dynamic. Other people are better at it, I know, but I really needed the permission to treat WAHM as a real job, get a sitter, and be able to do one thing at a time.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#9 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 11:17 AM
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I'd totally hire someone to help out, maybe 3 days a week for a couple hours, if I knew anyone within a 10 mile radius who I trusted. I wish my mom lived closer, or a SAHM or homeschooled young teen or something...
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#10 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 11:33 AM
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DS is only 6 months old, and I try to work from home for my official job and I'm also trying to build a home business. I get very very very little done from home unless DS is sleeping. He naps for maybe an hour at a time. So, I try to do things that require less of my brain when he's awake : a) catch up on email b) catch up on news and current events and industry stuff, etc. He's happy to play on his play mat or his with his kicking bird piano thing on a blanket for maybe 15 minutes at a time, but after that he starts to get restless or I start to feel guilty that he's just staring into space.

When he's asleep I try to motor through stuff that requires more attention. I'm never as efficient as I would like, and it creates a huge amount of pressure to be efficient during the little down time his naps create - which is also when I would love some downtime for myself. Since I'm WOH 3 days a week, I don't kill myself over it, but if WAH was my only source of income, I would have to bring someone in at least part time to help out.

Sorry these aren't strategies per se - just letting you know that you aren't alone.
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#11 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 11:36 AM
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I've done what GreenBeanMomma suggested. I would let DS into my cabinets around my computers. DD's not as content with that, and trying to work around an infant and a toddler - arg. I finally have gotten childcare part-time, and it's made a tremendous difference. With DD, I really had to take longer off, and at 2 months, I wasn't working much at all. She was a preemie and then wanted to nurse constantly - and stay latched while she slept. It was impossible to work because my typing woke her. So, I ended up not working for a while when she was a wee little babe.

I know we're not offering helpful advice, but to be honest, I know a lot of WAH parents, and most of them either are nuts all the time or have help. If you're only doing it 1 day a week, I would make sure you have nothing planned except the baby - no cooking, cleaning, etc. to distract you and just go with it for a while.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#12 of 19 Old 11-18-2007, 11:00 PM
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I WOH only one day a week and do my other four here at home. Its been a struggle and I can totally understand the mamma's who feel guilty for "ignoring" their kids to get work done. But here's my advice (and what I'm trying to learn too!): save the guilt for when its really important! Like, if your baby is screaming and you are ignoring them so you can get work done, you should feel guilty. But if your little one is laying contentedly staring around, its OK! We don't have to make every second of the day an educational, stimulating experience!

I know last quarter I had major guilt because I put "Shrek" on repeat for my two-year-old so I could finish three different papers during finals week (it was raining all week). I think he watched it four times one day : (OMG, its hard to even put that in writing!!!). I'm usually pretty good about getting him outside and doing lots of "learning" activities and I was sure I was letting his brain rot while I did my school work. But after finals, we went back to our normal routine and he doesn't seem brain damaged from so much TV time.

Now with an infant as well, I'm having to be more creative with my work time. With the days getting shorter, I've started getting them to bed by 7pm, that way I have plenty of time to get work done. The only thing I have to do during the day is answer phone calls, and I usually put the baby in her bouncy seat when I get a call, since they are usually only a few minutes long. It cracks me up that I answer in my pj's but have a professional greeting ... if only my clients knew!!

Anyways, my last piece of advice would be to ignore the housework. My mom was a SAHM who unschooled all 5 of us. I think the only time our house was really cleaned up was when family was going to come for the holidays and stuff. We always had dishes in the sink, a slightly messy floor and books and toys everywhere. But our house was the most welcoming, and all my friends and my siblings' friends felt like they could come over and just be at home. It wasn't dirty... mom did what she could when she could get to it... but she made us kids her priority. Since I work and will return to school in January, housework is WAY down on my priority list. But I refuse to feel guilty about it, because my kids come first and my job is an important supplement to our income. DH understands and helps out where he can to. Put your family first!!!

28-year-old SAH/Homeschooling Mamma to DS5, DD3, DS16mo. Helpmeet to DH since 2003. TTC #4!
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#13 of 19 Old 11-19-2007, 10:35 AM
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I know what you're going through as I am going through this myself. I have a 4 month-old boy. I only took 2 weeks maternity leave and started working from home full time since then.

It's been a constant struggle. I learned to let stuff like housework go for a bit. When I take a break, I'll either sit outside and get some air or just chill with my baby. When I work, I put my baby next to me. It's easier than putting him in a separate room. I won't have to run back and forth.

Good luck.
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#14 of 19 Old 11-20-2007, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MommaGreenBean View Post
I'd totally hire someone to help out, maybe 3 days a week for a couple hours, if I knew anyone within a 10 mile radius who I trusted. I wish my mom lived closer, or a SAHM or homeschooled young teen or something...
I understand that completely, BUT, remember that the true beauty of this is that you are home to oversee/supervise anyone who comes in.

I also work from home, luckily I'm only scheduled for about 4-5 hours/day and it's extremely flexible. But, like so many others, I've found it extremely difficult (mostly keeping the baby off my laptop!). My son is almost 17 months old and I've been working my job for about 4 months. After the first month or two, I was so stressed that I grabbed the first teenager I saw and offered her a babysitting position. I only pay her $6/day b/c I also watch her little brother when he first gets off the school bus (nobody's home at his house yet b/c the older kids' schools let out later). I don't really like her - she's kind of a spoon in the knife drawer of life if you know what I mean. Even my son doesn't really like her - for example, he LOVES the outdoors, but when he knows she's taking him out and I'm staying in the house to work, he pitches a fit (he's alright if I take him out, spend a few minutes and then kind of sneak back off into the house). This girl is trustworthy to the extent that she will keep an eye on the baby, simply supervising which is what he most often needs. Unfortunately, she's not great at interacting/playing with him.

BUT, all that said, having her come over does allow me to spend 1-2 hours of concentration on work that I otherwise wouldn't get. I also work during my son's nap time (I used to compute while he nursed to sleep on the boppy then keep him in my lap as he slept) which, now days can be as long as 2 hours, as short as 30 minutes. And once my husband gets home from work, I spend a good part of the evening working if I still have unfinished tasks.

Wife to one amazing man, unschooly mama to 2 boys daily (8/99 and 6/06), mom to 4 boys (6/94 and 2/00) and countless exchange students, praying to someday homebirth a daughter...
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#15 of 19 Old 11-20-2007, 05:46 PM
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I just took a job working from home part time. I have been working in a childcare part time, and taking DD with me, but this new job is in the field that I want to go into after I finish school, so seems like a better long-range opportunity. My biggest concern about taking the job was whether i could get school and business work done from home in a timely enough manner to feel like I was doing a good job with both, and still spend time with the baby. I have reconciled myself to the fact that I will probably need to continue to take my daughter to the child care I currently work at a couple of days a week for an hour or two to make sure I have time to do work. That way I know she's somewhere that she enjoys and where they take care of her the way I want. It may not be the most cost effective option, but it's not too bad either, and I think it will save my sanity.

Maybe you have a community center nearby where you can drop off you child for an hour or two, and stay on the premises to get some work done. This way you are nearby if anything is needed, and yet not having to focus on childcare for a while. Getting out of the house also removes the t.v./telephone/housework distraction factor.
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#16 of 19 Old 11-20-2007, 09:19 PM
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OK I thought I was going to be able to do this but it never worked out. The 3 mommas I know that work from home either have some childcare (not full time but a day or 2), a husband who works odd hours or they work odd hours like the middle of the night.

At 2 months remember you're still physically recovering from giving birth. It's very easy to be physically exhausted without trying to work. My suggestion is try to mix up the way your child is being held. Say 20 minutes in Moby, 20 in bouncy chair, 20 mix of tummy and back time on blanket. You might think of other things you child likes as well. Point is to not be carrying them 12 hours day.

I might be hard. My guy loved being snuggled.

To all the mommas who talked about doing things so they could finish school work, remember you're going to school to improve your and your child's life. Within reason this good outweighs any short term bad things you have to do to get the work done.
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#17 of 19 Old 11-23-2007, 10:30 PM
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I worked from home 2 days a week from when DS was 3 mons till he was 18mons. What I did was, days in the office I made a list of the things I did each day. On the days home I did the same thing. That was, if anyone asked, I could prove I'd been productive. Mostly it was helpful for me personally (no one ever asked to see my list)--I would feel like I wasn't accomplishing anything but was able to compare the at home list to the at work lists and see I was fine. You'll be fine too!

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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#18 of 19 Old 01-28-2008, 04:13 PM
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I know this thread is a couple of months old but wanted to answer since I am in the same boat...

I work at home and do not have any supplemental day care. It is hard but can be done - depending on your job I think.

My son is 6 months old. I work 40 hours per week and have a set schedule. MWF I work 8 - 5 with an hour for lunch. On T and Th I work 8 - 8 which gives me 4 hours to get out of the house and do stuff with my cub.

My job consists of me answering emails all day long. Luckily, our daily goal is low and we've got some real slackers on our team. Also, my teamleader works at home with 2 children to take care of so she is very understanding.

To keep DS busy:

What I call a "playstation" which is a bumbo on an overstuffed chair with an overstuffed ottoman in front of it. I please a boppy around the bottom of the bumbo and then put a bunch of toys on the boppy. This setup is very safe and keeps DS entertained with all the toys.

I have a Jumpster that hangs from the door way next to where I work.

Blanket on the floor with toys - I bring my laptop down on floor so I can have a bit of interaction with DS while he plays.

Nurse while typing then DS will nap.

Wear DS in carrier while bouncing on exercise ball and typing (takes a little getting used to) - especially handy if DS does not want to nap...

It's been 3 months now since I've been back to work and I just take it day by day and keep looking for new things to keep him amused while I type. I'm sure he thinks the laptop is part of my body since I'm always dragging it around with me when I am with him. Once he starts to crawl, I plan to just put us both in a completely baby proofed room and just fill the floor with toys. I'm also trying to train my dog to always want to be with DS since DS is entertained by the dog.

Since DS is my first child, I have no idea if this will get harder or easier when he is more mobile. I keep telling myself it will get easier since he will be able to go where he wants instead of needing me to move him from place to place.

I hope this helps! I'm always looking for more things that might entertain my DS if anyone has any suggestions, that would be great!
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#19 of 19 Old 01-28-2008, 09:29 PM
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I work from home every day with little kids around and I really like IndieMamma's advice.

Berkeley mom of 3 and President of Tender Cargo Baby Gear
and The Nurture Center Store and Resource Center 3399 Mt Diablo Bl Lafayette CA 888-998-BABY
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