Childcare strategies for work-at-home parents?
January 4, 2014 11:35 AM Subscribe
Is it possible to work at home with a nanny and 2 kids and actually get anything done? If not, can you suggest alternate strategies?
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am getting ready to return to work after the birth of Baby Architeuthis 8 weeks ago, and I'm second-guessing our childcare plans. We have a 3-year-old who is in half-day preschool, and we had initially thought that it would make the most sense to hire a nanny who could take care of the baby full-time and also pick our son up from preschool and care for him in the afternoons.
However, since shortly before I started maternity leave we've had a babysitter come 2 afternoons a week for basically this purpose, and it hasn't worked well. The main issue is that my husband works at home, and due to the size and layout of our 2-bedroom apartment, his desk is in the living room--there is no separate office space. This has meant that our 3-year-old gloms on to him as soon as he gets back from school and rejects the babysitter. This in turn means that my husband has to leave the house to go to a coffee shop to work or he gets nothing done. This is really suboptimal, as he can't take files with him, can't work on anything confidential, etc. It's OK for now since it's 2 days/week, but not once I'm back at work.
I had initially thought it was due to the babysitter--she has a tendency to throw up her hands and let my husband take over without putting much effort into reorienting the 3-year-old, and they haven't really bonded with one another. Given the short-term nature of the gig. though, we didn't want to find someone new, and otherwise she's fine--but now I'm thinking that perhaps working at home without a door to close is just impossible.
Other options I've been considering, all of which have other drawbacks:
1) full time daycare for baby--this is what we did with #1, but I honestly didn't really love his daycare (Frosted Flakes as snack for 2-year-olds? Really?) so we'd need to find a new place, and we would also have to find something for #1 as well as getting him there in the afternoons. Since we don't have a car, this would present some logistical challenges.
2) moving to a larger apartment--unaffordable in our current neighborhood. We may end up moving out of the city entirely, but that is a long-term possibility.
3) finding separate office space--possible, but the finances may not work out.
4) just ask the nanny to keep the kids out of the house for most of the afternoons--probably not a viable long-term strategy, especially in winter.
A few more details--I am gone at least 7:45-6 and usually longer, M-F, and I work 45 minutes away, so once I'm back at work, I will not be able to help with any drop-offs/pickups.
Has anyone successfully managed to work with in-home childcare without a separate office? Are there options I'm not thinking of here, or strategies for making things work better?