How can I work full time from home and take care of a baby?
August 24, 2013 10:30 PM   Subscribe

I am a 32 year old female and have a full-time job. I've been working from home for 6 years now. My boyfriend and I are talking about marriage and having a baby. We're trying to figure out if it's going to be possible for me to still work full-time from home while also raising a baby. I found a lot of articles about it being possible to cut back on hours or work part-time only, but I don't want to do that (insurance and financial reasons). He works full-time as well and not from home and we want to try to avoid day care (or at least use it minimally). Has anyone ever successfully done this? If so, I'd love to know how. What was good/bad about it?
posted by mlk915 to Work & Money (39 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
No way, just no way. Your baby is not going to play quietly in a corner with a teddy bear while you work. Babies require pretty near constant attention.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:44 PM on August 24, 2013 [51 favorites]

I have a two-year-old and in my experience, it gets harder and harder to be productive at home as the baby gets older. If you are serious about working full time at home, with a working partner, you are going to need some kind of substantial childcare. Either that, or magic pills that allow you to survive without sleep.
posted by daisystomper at 10:49 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Listen to Wordwoman.

My son turned one today, and I assure you: my spare time is spent doing things like cutting my toenails, reading five pages in a book, and stretching my over-worked upper back.

I so wish I was exaggerating.
posted by Specklet at 11:02 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another vote for no way. I'm the single mom of a one year old, and I work from home. Most of my work hours are after my son is asleep for the night (7 to midnight) and I have a few hours of childcare on weekday afternoons for face-to-face meetings, etc. Other than that, there just aren't any breaks in the day where I might actually be productive for work. I'm lucky to grab a meal or throw in some laundry when he sleeps. There's also the usual work of life - cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc. - and the fact that you have to have down time, and the fact that you're probably not getting much sleep at night for that first year and really aren't going to be able to function for 8 productive hours/day for some time. Memail me if I can answer more specific questions for you.
posted by judith at 11:02 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Day care for infants is expensive because they require a lot of labor and attention. Source: a former roommate who made a living caring for infants on a military base.

The good news(?) is that child care can be made tax deductible through employer plans. If you're on the fence on whether going back to work is feasible, maybe that help the calculations some.
posted by pwnguin at 11:08 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

No, this really isn't possible. You could manage part time with help from a nanny.
posted by moira at 11:09 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered having a caretaker come into your home to watch the baby while you work? This is very doable.
posted by JujuB at 11:09 PM on August 24, 2013

My friend at my old job worked full-time from home with two kids. She had a full-time nanny, but she still got to interact with her kids a lot more than most working parents, including eating all their meals with them, and breastfeeding when they were babies. She also hired a cheaper nanny than she would've otherwise, because she figured she could supervise the nanny and wasn't as worried about negligence or misconduct or anything as you'd be if you were leaving a person alone in your house with your kids all day.

Honestly, this sounds like an almost-ideal situation to me and if you can afford the nanny you should totally do it.
posted by town of cats at 11:14 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

From observing my sister and friends who worked full-time (at home, at least in part) after having their babies: if daycare is out of the question, then you will absolutely need to hire a nanny.
posted by scody at 11:19 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

No. You are asking if it is possible to work two full time jobs *simultaneously* and the answer is no. Not even badly.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:30 PM on August 24, 2013 [13 favorites]

Just piling on... nope! My wife is a full-time caregiver and I work from home. Even so, it's *still* hard for me to work full-time from home and I'm supposedly not even taking care of the kids during the day (ha!). And also agreeing, I've known people who've at least managed to work at the high-end of part-time with a nanny.
posted by Emanuel at 11:36 PM on August 24, 2013

When I took two months of paternity leave, I bought a thick book about a topic that greatly interests me, thinking I'd read it during naps and so on. Two months later I was literally 12 pages in. When I went back to work I started reading it on the train and finished it in like a week. Even allowing for the fact that you're actually used to working from home, I can't imagine a baby that would grant you eight hours of concentration time a day.
posted by No-sword at 12:07 AM on August 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

What was hard for me to understand before having a baby is that it isn't just time, though time is the main thing. It's also a shift in energy and a different kind of focus that happens when you're on baby duty. So it is very, very hard to quickly just click into efficient professional-type work during a baby's hour-long nap (which you know might end any second) -- it takes time to reboot yourself, in a way, especially when you have milk on your shirt and you're worried about the next time you have to suction the the baby's stuffed up nose...A nanny is necessary for the actual time you need with no distractions. But also necessary because it is hard to work well when you are on mom duty, listening with half an ear, not really in your professional-self-mind unless you know someone else is being responsible for your baby.
posted by third rail at 12:21 AM on August 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

No offence but this question is comically naive. This isn't posible; this isn't even close to possible -and that's assuming you have an "easy" baby.If you have a kid that is colic-y and cries a lot, or doesn't sleep much (like ours) you will be feeling very accomplished to get a shower in a day. I'm not joking. It can be so so hard. My wife was on maternity leave, I was working full time, and we both struggled. A lot. Not everyone is like this but no one would say you can do full time work. Spend some time with a newborn and stay at home parent if you don't believe me. Be sure to stay the night.
posted by smoke at 12:22 AM on August 25, 2013 [10 favorites]

When I went back to work part time after being home for mat leave (at 9mos, before Canada had 1 year policy), work was the easy time of my day. I only wished I could spend it sleeping. I did not really sleep through the night for 14 months after my son was born. It is hard to express how difficult that is to cope with. You just kind of get slower and slower and start feeling spaced out and stupid.

And I had worlds best husband who did all the cooking and cleaning because I was exhausted with breastfeeding, and a happy healthy kid who was really amiable and pretty easy to handle, not every kid has an easy time, some are colicky, and never sleep.

My sister in law was able to take her work to the lounge space of her childcare a few days a week, which worked pretty well for her. She did tech support through her laptop, and when she was at the office, the childcare was there. Requires childcare with enough space and staff who can cope with this. She eventually switched to a nanny.

It is also not just for you that this is an idea you might want to avoid. A baby needs stimulation and attention in order to develop. Face time, tummy time, holding, walking about and singing. If at all possible taking the time to be home with the baby is very worthwhile.

I do know one family where the guy works construction by day, and the mom works at a restaurant at night, but this is because childcare is not affordable on their salaries. If she were working at home I imagine it would be hard for her to have the ability to do the job with the child around.
posted by chapps at 12:39 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Where you are living makes a big difference as well -- if you are in Canada and your (or partner's) work is EI insurable, maternity leave is covered, with a guarantee to return to work? If you are self employed, you can pay into the EI system, and set this up for yourself as the employee of your own company--or set funds aside to pay for time off.

I also was wondering about the type of work. Thinking/writing/research might be hard, but perhaps other types of work are more manageable because they can be done carrying baby in sling while you walk or ...???
posted by chapps at 12:42 AM on August 25, 2013

Adding to the chorus of No. However. If you were able to to do a nanny share with another family or two, you could cut down on the cost of childcare and have the care at whichever house was best for everyone. If you have good separation of space - a private office or something - and if your child isn't going to be upset that you're at home but not with them, then you could take advantage of having them at your place and take a break to nurse or hang out with them.

When my daughter was a baby, we did a care share with another family where each parent was responsible for 1 or 1.5 days during the work week. We all worked about 80% time. It was like having part-time twins, they were two weeks apart. We met the other family in our childbirth class. One of the other parents ended up hiring a sitter for her portion. This worked great for a year, from when they were 5 months old until they started a toddler program together.

So there are plenty of creative ways you can arrange your lives so you can work, spend time with your little one, and save money too. But as was mentioned above, you cannot do work and baby care at the same time.
posted by expialidocious at 12:51 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll be the voice of (slight) dissent, I guess? It's not impossible. When I had my daughter, I was a single parent attending college full time (online) and doing a decent amount of freelance work. I had her in the middle of the semester, and was working from my hospital room while she was in the NICU. We kept that up for the better part of two and a half years.

For this to work, you need to have the following things in place, in my opinion:
  • Easy baby. As mentioned above, if baby is colicky or fussy or whatever, you're screwed.
  • Flexible work hours and environment. If you're doing data entry or research or whatever, and you can do it at any time, you're in a much better place than you are if you're taking customer support calls from home and have to be presenting As A Professional between eight a.m. and five p.m. (Really, anything client-facing is, in my opinion, out.)
  • The ability to sleep in three hour chunks and feel relatively rested.
  • The willingness and ability to ignore your child, to some extent. My theory is sort of that children, for most of human history, have been strap and go--you put them in a sling, and you go back to foraging for berries or whatever. And that's what I did--I popped her in a sling, and she stayed in it. She walked on the late side of normal, but outside of making my mother a crazy person, there weren't any negative effects.
  • The understanding that this will buy you a year. Once your child is mobile, all bets are off--you'll be able to get something (pick one: a shower, eating, making a phone call, working) while they nap, but that's about it. Other work will get done while they watch Dora the Explorer, or at night, or while your partner is feeding your child supper.

The downsides are, I assume, obvious: it's harder to concentrate on work; you feel guilty for not giving your child your full attention; you worry you're not stimulating the baby enough (even if you spend all your non-work energy doing this, you still worry); you have zero personal time, ever; you worry that you're not working enough; you worry that you are failing as both a parent and an employee/service provider. Further downsides can include not being taken as seriously at work, people assuming that your work is subpar because you're doing it with a child around, and people assuming that your parenting is subpar because you're doing it while you're working.

The upsides are money saved, the ability to breastfeed on demand, and the knowledge that your child is being cared for in a way that you're comfortable with (assuming, obviously, that you can get comfortable with this).

I won't lie--I wouldn't trade those first few years with my daughter for anything. But this sort of arrangement isn't something that you should rely on. Take as much maternity leave as you can, and, after the first bit, try to spend a few hours a day doing something mentally taxing while you have the baby. Go read Dostoyevsky, or bug check some code, or something in your field(ish). You'll figure out pretty quickly if baby + work is a thing you can do. Even if it is, I strongly suggest having a backup babysitter in the wings--someone, anyone, who can step in if Easy Baby is suddenly Teething And Miserable Baby, or Colic Baby, or any number of other things that can turn easy babies into screaming terrors and difficult-but-doable situations into major disasters.
posted by MeghanC at 1:21 AM on August 25, 2013 [14 favorites]

I pitched something like this to my partner when she was approx. five months pregnant. She has a five-year old from a previous marriage. I knew plenty about toddlers but nothing about babies. I am writing this post while rocking our three-month-old with my foot.

She shot me down. Cruelly. I now understand why.

People in this thread are not exaggerating. Little BLF jr is an easy baby; I could totally put in five hours a day while taking decent care of him, if i was doing something like Mechanical Turk. I mean, I've managed to post this, right? Little bits of piece-work, no prob. My full-time job requires serious concentration, and if I go freelance we will totally get a nanny as already suggested. But no, a thousand times no.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 1:24 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

It was fine for me until my daughter was properly mobile, then it became impossible. She's two now and I have her at home one day per week, and I work when she's sleeping. There's no point even trying to work the rest of the day.
posted by goo at 1:56 AM on August 25, 2013

As MeghanC points out, it IS possible. But the stars have to align AND you have to be a really efficient, list-making, planning person who can also roll with the vagaries of baby's whims.

Give it a shot, but have a backup plan.
posted by gjc at 2:00 AM on August 25, 2013

I don't see why daycare is the lesser option in this situation. A child deserves a caregiver whose attention is not divided. For that matter, so does your work.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:57 AM on August 25, 2013 [11 favorites]

I agree with ThePinkSuperhero. Why are you rejecting day care? Our daughter started fairly young and still, at 3 1/2, goes to the same day care, and will go through pre-K. She loves it there, and we love the fact that the school and its employees are trained and licensed for such care. She has some great friends. The different teachers for each unit separate by age do have different personalities, and for her, learning how to get along with them (and the different kids) has also been helpful.

For example, when she switched up to the 3-year-old room, one of the teachers is very quiet, which was hard at first, because she had a hard time dealing with my daughter's very high energy and outgoing personality, which does sometimes veer toward bossiness. We met with her and discussed strategies for restraining some of that; the teacher implemented them, and the problem was solved in a way that was beneficial to the teacher, the other students, and our daughter.
posted by miss tea at 4:23 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I should say that I had to chance to try this part-time at the end of my maternity leave, when my son was about 3-4 months. Even then when was he was not mobile, it was very stressful the days I was working and caring for him, because I didn't feel like either was getting the proper amount of attention. My boss didn't seem displeased by my output, but he knew the situation was temporary. I'm not sure I would do it again; I think I would want to use that transition time to start the child in daycare earlier.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:24 AM on August 25, 2013

Imagine you and your husband taking shifts. You care for baby while he works, he comes home and cares for baby while you work with No Interruptions. From 5pm to 1 am. Then you sleep until 5am. Not good.
If you have family can you lean on them?
If you are super efficient at work you may be able to pack 8 hours of productivity into 6 hours, but depends on your job.
posted by SyraCarol at 4:37 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered having a caretaker come into your home to watch the baby while you work? This is very doable.

Seconding this - this is what my brother and sister-in-law, who both work from home, have always done - they save the really high-octane work for one or two days a week, and that's when my parents come to either spend the day there with the kids, or take them to their own place for a visit. Granted, in their case it's not "day care" so much as "grandparenting", and you may not necessarily live 20 minutes from your parents, but that kind of "pick some portion of each day or week and have someone come over to babysit while you get work done" is definitely a doable thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 AM on August 25, 2013

I'm n-thing getting a nanny. At least for your work day hours. The nanny can also help with household stuff while the baby sleeps, which will be absolutely helpful.

If it's cost of a nanny coming to your home, there are always families in similar positions as your own, so maybe explore a nanny-share. Two babies to one nanny is about maximum. We know families who did this, and it was great for the kids as they grew older.
posted by mamabear at 7:55 AM on August 25, 2013

No way.
posted by mzurer at 8:12 AM on August 25, 2013

A friend tells me she did this for her child's 1st year. She was able to do her paid work and care for her baby, who was pretty quiet and docile. My child was very not easy or docile, so this kind of boggled my mind. I was home with him for the 1st 6 months, and any day I was able to take a shower, brush my teeth, and wear relatively clean clothes was an achievement.

Can your work be time shifted? When your partner gets home, can he take over baby care so you can go work? Is there a relative who can come in for part of the day, or a retired neighbor? Nanny-sharing sounds like a great idea.
posted by theora55 at 8:27 AM on August 25, 2013

The only way you can do this is if your schedule doesn't require you to work at the same time as your husband. So, if he is working 9-5, and you can start work when he gets home and work in the evening, than you may be able to do it, but only if you are capable of living on 0 sleep. It is hard enough trying to get any house work done at all when taking care of a baby, let alone do something that requires real concentration.

Anyone who tells you that you can do this either doesn't have kids, or is a super-being from another dimension.
posted by markblasco at 9:02 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I work part time to the tune of 5-10 hours per week while watching a now 6-month old baby. Some weeks, I can't get my hours in. Some weeks I can't get ANY hours in.

Why? Because he had a sleep regression and needed 1.5 hours of soothing for every single nap and 3 hours of soothing for bedtime. Because he learned to roll over one way but then gets stuck and starts crying. Because he started solid foods, which adds even more time to feeding and also requires a daily bath. Because he has a day where for whatever reason, he is inconsolable unless I'm walking around holding him. Because teething. Because illness.

I can't emphasize enough how often random shit comes up that will ruin your day (or more likely week) and prevent you from getting anything done.

You can't work full time with a baby unless you have help. Hire a nanny.
posted by annekate at 9:27 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

When we had a baby, I worked full-time and my husband worked full-time. We worked separate shifts. He worked M-F, I worked Su-Th. Our daughter went into daycare at about 18 months old.

We had to do this for reasons that are irrelevant here, but I would like to point out that we found infant daycare and nanny-sharing to both be cost-prohibitive. A babysitting co-op arrangement with other families probably would have helped, but we were unable to find something like that at the time.

It was tiring, but it was doable. If you both intend to keep your jobs as is, have a backup plan and an end date, and don't beat yourself up when you use either of them.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:02 AM on August 25, 2013

Yeah, in addition to all the above, snickerdoodle's comment is astute: your employer may not even let you do this, assuming that your desire to work full-time = keeping your current job, or having a similar FT job with another employer. My employer is pretty friendly to parents in terms of allowing telecommute arrangements, etc., but if you are doing regular telecommuting and you have a child you have to show proof to HR that you have some sort of childcare arrangement in place before they'll allow you to do it.
posted by Kosh at 10:50 AM on August 25, 2013

Also want to add that yes, in most societies through most of human history, moms strap babies to their backs or fronts and go about their day. That is ESSENTIAL to remember when your baby or toddler is demanding entertainment. The little one really can watch and learn instead of you always dancing around with puppets on your fingers. HOWEVER, also remember in those societies where moms integrate babies into their lives and work, THE MOTHERS ARE NOT ALONE IN A HOUSE WITH THE BABY ALL DAY. THe new mothers have sisters, mothers, aunts, and friends who take the kid off their hands, or take over the work for a bit while they nurse. It is really different being alone in a house with a baby and a computer and having to meet a deadline while your baby cries, your milk is leaking and no one is there to help you.
posted by third rail at 11:17 AM on August 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'm sorry, I haven't read through all the answers but here's my thoughts on the matter.

Don't think about this issue as an "all or nothing" and please, for the love of pete, don't be terrified of daycare. There have been a lot of bad press about daycares lately and it's terrifying. I assure you that quality daycare can be found -- and quality even in the middle incomes!

First off, all those suggesting that working from home while minding a child are deeply at odds are correct. If you want to work from home and have a nanny in your home also, I suggest that you think about separating your office from your home -- build one in the back yard. Set up your office in another part of the house -- repurpose the garage, the attic, the basement. Anything that hopefully has space between where your child will be (with a nanny or trusted relative) and where you will work.

Think about the first two years of your baby's life as separate from the rest of your career life. During that time, you might cut back your hours and your husband/partner should absolutely figure out how to cut back his hours as well. I see a lot where women quit working and then their partners start working like dogs to make up the slack and it is a horrible, not-balanced, way to live. Although, obviously, there are status quo systems in place that make it the most likely route. Try not to do that.

My house has two bedrooms and is very small. I split my baby's room in half -- one half was my office, the rest her bedroom. But! I rarely ever worked in this space while she was home (other than the occasional emergency or crazy work load). For three days a week she was in full-day daycare. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday was my schedule. This enabled me to cover quite a lot of ground for my clients and feel mostly available to them. I often answered emails at the playground on Wednesdays on my phone, etc.. (Yep, one of those evil moms looking at her phone – sometimes – while her kid eats dirt.) Wednesday was our rest/playday. Usually, we'd do one "big" activity in the morning and then putter around the house together cleaning, playing, etc. Fridays were often similar but Daddy could sometimes join us on Fridays so we'd do other things or he'd take her out and I'd work, etc.

For me, this was the perfect balance. This kept my head in the game (architecture), kept my portfolio fresh, and still allowed me lots of quality time with my child. Now that my child is nearing pre-school age, there are more options for childcare. A few moms in my mom group who have been primarily stay-at-home-moms are now enrolling their 2-1/2 - 3-year-olds in half-time daycare/preschool. So, five days a week but for maybe five hours a day. I had decided to do the same but then I got full-time work and so now my daughter, nearing 3 is at full-time care.

She loves it. She is social and loves the teachers and she has special friends that she talks about all the time and she learns new things and is excited to show me the stuff they make. What I'm gunning for now, is to establish myself at this new company so that when she starts kindergarten in a couple years, I'll have enough clout at my office to ask for a 3/4 time job. I want someone to be here at 3 (some kindys are even less hours!) to care for her. Ideally, I want to split that time between me and my husband. Maybe: I get home at 3 on Monday & Tuesday, he'll do it Wednesday & Thursday, and either we'll both be off on Friday afternoons or we'll split it. He is so mentally resistant to this (another big reason we can't get work/life balance is that men are resistant to it) that I'm not sure it'll work unless I do it but that's my 100% goal.

Otherwise, we have to turn to aftercare and if we, her parents, can't do it them I'll be inclined to hire a nanny for aftercare so that she'll be at home when we get there.

So, the bottom line is this: you will get creative. You will find a way that works for you. It's not easy. But, it also evolves -- with your career, with your baby, with your needs, etc.. Working while childminding is near impossible. But, there are ways to do what needs to be done and make it work. Especially if your partner is supportive and willing to be creative and stretch as well. Put money in the bank to make this all easier.

You can tell I've done a lot of thinking about all this. Too much, maybe. ;) But, I've seen lots of different setups over the last few years. Feel free to memail me with any questions.

*I also needed full-time work because my daughter needed her whole room. My plan was to turn the bedroom closet (very small) into a closet office and then give over the room to her so she can have a "big girl" bed and some of her toys in there and a cozy reading nook. Other than my printer, I had a pretty great design going for the closet office. But then I got this job which will enable us to save for a bigger house and even put money in her college fund! And now she has a "big girl" room and I'm trying not to get too hung up on the fact that, yes, full time daycare is a lot of care happening for her outside of our family. It's tough but I'm keeping my eye on the big picture right now and I truly believe that her middle school years will be better served by having me or her Dad available after school than right now.
posted by amanda at 12:12 PM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The woman I used to be with managed it with infant / toddler children before I came along but only with the help of a huge family who had a lot of children of similar age and a grandma that loved to watch the babies. They basically had a sort of a day [and evening] care co-op.

By the time I came along the youngest was five and in school and the SO and I both worked from home so we had about seven hours a day to focus on work and we could tag-team when they got home. Even then in the summer months when the kids were out of school it was quite hectic and I have to confess to using electronics too much in order to keep the kids occupied.

There are of course websites for people in a situation similar to yours. I hesitate to link to any but if you look up "baby care co-op" you will find plenty.

Please don't be discouraged. Lots of people manage in similar and less tenable situations.
posted by vapidave at 12:56 PM on August 25, 2013

I did it - by having my retired mother live with us after I resumed work, when my daughter was four months old. This was very difficult but we stuck it out till my daughter turned 18 months and we were comfortable with putting her in daycare full time.
posted by Dragonness at 9:37 PM on August 25, 2013

I had three months of maternity leave, and after that I basically worked from home about 35 hours per week for another eight months, at which point our mortgage was paid off, the baby was mobile, and I quit my job.

During those eight months, the baby was napping two or three times per day, and that is when I did most of my work. I was lucky to have a great deal of phone interview work to during those months: calling people to get factual information from them, scheduled in advance to coincide with her nap times, followed by writing up the notes to those interviews and their legal implications while she was in her bouncy seat or napping again or miraculously otherwise occupied or sleeping at night. So I would bill three to four hours during the day and then another two or three at night. I had some very close calls with her nap times and some stressful interview calls where I was still on the phone but my daughter was awake. I remember one time she woke up unexpectedly in the middle of a call because she had wet her diaper, and so I kept up with the call, note taking and all, while I both kept her quiet and quickly changed her diaper, then she went back to sleep. I felt like a fucking ninja afterwards, but it was extraordinarily stressful during. And I would not have been able to keep it up for an extended period, particularily after about the 1 year mark when kids start walking and things get a little crazy.

That time period was, I think, tough on my marriage. I was counting the hours til my husband got home so I would have a break from care taking; if he was ten minutes late on a tough day I'd feel like I couldn't cope another minute. I was also getting my sleep interrupted at night for breast feeding, and that sleep deprivation added up over a period of months, especially when you don't get to "nap when the baby naps" during the day because you are working. And I was pretty isolated compared to the person I had been before the baby; I just needed more human contact than my baby, my husband, and the odd baby yoga class here and there, but there wasn't time or opportunity. With the benefit of hindsight, I honestly wonder how I ever did this. I did not realize at the time, because my judgment was impaired from sleep deprivation I think, how totally and completely nutty it was to keep this up for eight months. How the fuck did I do that?

When I started it, I thought I was doing the right thing for my child by being the one to care for her. I wanted to spend time with her during those years before school sucks up so many of her hours, so I would be the one there to love her through skinned knees and milestones reached. I still feel that way to some extent -- after all right now I'm a stay at home mom -- but I urge you to hear the other people here who are recommending day care and nannies. My daughter struggled in preschool last year in a way that the daycare kids hadn't, because she wasn't used to dealing with so many other kids for hours at a time. Our bond is strong, but she also has a strong bond with her father, and loves and obeys him just like me, even though he hasn't put in all that at-home time with her, so you needn't worry your kids won't love you etc. as much if they are in daycare. There are many social benefits to daycare that you can't really provide at home. And trying to provide full time baby care yourself while you continue to work full time will definitely take a toll on your mental and even physical health and, I would guess, would also put a strain on your partnership.

I'm not sure what I would do if I could do this over, since we were looking to maximize our income for a limited time to pay the mortgage off and I always knew there was an end date in sight. But you don't have an end date, you want to do it indefinitely. I can't recommend it. I think it will be stressful and hard. It was like being a frog in a pot of water getting hotter and hotter: It wasn't a good situation to be in but I couldn't see clearly enough to recognize that and jump out of the pot. Anyway, good luck to you!
posted by onlyconnect at 1:24 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

For me and my kids, this wouldn't even be possible with a nanny, I think! I do work from home and a lot of people tell me when I mention that I telecommute that it must be great to be able to work from home and be with my kids. When I tell them my kids go to daycare, they look at me like they don't understand this concept at all. There is absolutely no way I would get 8 hours of work into a day at home with my kids, even if someone else takes care of them! Ymmv.
posted by freezer cake at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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