In the Trenches: Working From Home with a Child

As you might imagine, there’s a new world order here in our house now that there’s a baby at home. He comes first, we come second, and the dogs take whatever they can get. That’s pretty standard, but what happens when you also work at home?

I’ve been able to slowly dip my toe into the waters here, because my wife is still off work after giving birth. But even with that, we’ve seen big changes. She’s awake throughout the night with feedings, so when I get up before 7, it’s my job to keep him busy so she can get a couple hours of much-needed sleep. This is a lot of fun for me (except when he’s screaming in my ear), but it’s also one of the busiest times of the day for me.

Mornings are usually filled me with trying to catch up on what I missed overnight as well as what came in from the east coast that morning. That means I see all the work ahead of me, but I can’t quite tackle it as quickly as I’d like. Instead, I’m working on becoming the world’s fastest one-fingered typist while simultaneously bouncing him and doing anything humanly possible to keep him calm. It’s not easy, though I’ve found he does seem to like the Beach Boys. At least he has good taste.

During the day, my wife is usually able to let me work while she takes care of him, though I had to interrupt writing this post when she asked if I could run in and see why he was crying while she cooked dinner. That’s not bad, and I don’t mind it as long as I can get work done much of the day.

This all changes next week when my wife goes back to work part time, with full time following just a couple weeks later. We’ve been frantically searching for a nanny, surprised to find that there are some pretty awful candidates out there. But even when we find one, I’m still afraid that it’s going to make being productive a much more difficult task.

Anyone else have experience with this?

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
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7 comments
Kathryn Hawkins
Kathryn Hawkins

I have a two-year-old daughter and remember those days well! We had 2 college-aged nannies over the first six months, who both came for 4 hours twice a week - other than that, I worked on my laptop with my daughter napping or nursing on my lap. It worked pretty well most of the time, except for not being able to get up to use the bathroom!

Nicholas Barnard
Nicholas Barnard

Hrm, you could also kick around getting some dictation software, so that you can work with one or both hands coddling the newborn.

Ralph
Ralph

Get a sitter to come in a few days a week understanding that you will still be working and entertain baby a few hours. You may have to dangle a nice money carrot but make sure you check everything out about the person ect. Or you could team up with another stay home dad and you both take turns with the kids. Just a though.

Mariah
Mariah

We have had both younger kids with us at work until they were mobile (about 6 months). The best solution we found was putting the baby in a front carrier (strap them across your chest), put your computer higher, and work standing up. That way you can use both hands and the baby is right where he wants to be.

Leigh Pinkston
Leigh Pinkston

I agree with Stacy, I try to schedule calls around times that I know my son is likely to be sleeping or at least quiet. Once I have a relationship with someone I have no problem saying, "Just so you know, I'm remote today, so.. etc." People are understanding. It would be unrealistic in this world to assume that people aren't virtual many times.In terms of balancing time, I'm still figuring that out. I have a lot of apps on my phone that help me work without being chained to my desk, but I also hate appearing (in my child's eyes) like I'm not paying attention to him when he's around. It's a tug-of-war between the benefits of working from home and having to explain that you can't give much attention right now because you're working.Once your child gets into more of a routine, you will, too. That may mean having to set yourself a work schedule that is odd hours (maybe you do part of your work during 8-5 hours while your child naps and part of your hours when your wife is home).

Stacy
Stacy

I had the same situation when my now 3 yr old son was born. I ended up starting a lot of conference calls with: "That's not me breathing heavy or squeaking - its my 6 week old." I found that most people are so understanding because so many work from home these days. I would try to schedule calls around naps, and gradually eased him into daycare. First one day a week with a family member, then once he got a bit older, I asked friends with kids for daycare recommendations. It's a difficult adjustment, but I was so pleasantly surprised at how cool my clients were - some even encouraged me to bring him to appointments!

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