View Full Version : Looking for advice from work-at-home moms
10-07-2003, 07:59 AM
Of course, EVERY mom is a work-at-home mom!
I am due to deliver our first baby in five weeks. I have opted to quit my full-time job in favor of staying at home with the baby. I am a graphic designer, and I have opportunity to work part-time from home starting after the first of the year. It is a perfect situation, and a real blessing to us.
My question is for any moms that work from home. What has worked for you? Do you get in-home childcare? Child-care elsewhere? Do you just work during naptimes or when DH is available to help? As a first-time mom, I have no idea what to expect, and I know everyone's experience is different. I just wanted to start thinking about the details now, before the baby comes and everything gets crazy!
TIA for your help and advice!
10-07-2003, 08:30 AM
Okay, so I don't work at home full time, but I do work from home every Monday and when one of my children is sick. On Mondays, I only have to work half a day so I can squeeze in 4 hours between naps and all. I generally start work before they get up, have breakfast, do a bit of work while they play, then we have lunch. After lunch, it's naptime so I get a couple of hours in, provided they both nap at the same time. If not, DD is content to watch a video for a bit while her brother naps.
It's not too bad if you're working part time and only need to put in a few hours each day. If you have relatives or friends nearby who can help out on occasion, that's great too. If you're planning on working full-time (40 hours), however, you'll probably need some type of child care, whether it's in home or at a center. Everyone has their own preference with that. My kids love their daycare center so I don't worry about them while they're there. It's a great place where they learn new things each day and get to interact with other children their own age. Some people prefer someone to come to their house. That works well if you're home because you'll still be there. I wonder, however, if it's a bit distracting. For instance, will you still want to run everytime you hear the baby cry?
Whatever you decide, don't beat yourself up about things. Moms these days are stretched so thin with having to be a good mom, good employee, good wife, etc. It's not easy!
10-07-2003, 08:51 AM
Ugh, I could write a dissertation on this.
I work from home/telecommute for a company in New York. I am expected to work 30 hours a week and keep fairly regular hours. I don't have to necessarily be sitting here working from 10 to 4, but do often need to be available for client phone calls and questions. But I do have some flexibility to work at night and on the weekends. I can mostly get my 30 hours in whenever I want with a few exceptions (notably I need to be available 10 to 12 every day and most of the day Tues and Fri).
I think what kind of childcare you may need depends on how flexible your schedule can be and what your boss expects of you. If you're self-employed, it would depend on how much work you have.
I had many, many well-meaning people say to me, "Oh, it's so great that you work from home; you won't have to put Alex in daycare.":rolleyes: Let me tell you; I tried to do it and just couldn't. DH is a teacher, so he was off for the summer. But once September rolled around, it was a whole different story.
Alex is a really good sleeper, and fairly easy-going baby in general, but I still can't get a full 6 hours in if he's here. I have started to put him in daycare three days a week (Tues, Thurs, Fri). I don't leave him for the full day, but it is nice to have some uninterrupted time to really concentrate.
What I have read (written by others in similar situations) is that 3 to 4 hours of work a day (with no childcare) is doing pretty well. I think this is a pretty fair assumption. If you wanted to work late every night and all weekend, you might be able to make it without childcare. But then you probably wouldn't get to spend much time with your husband. And again, it depends on what you can get away with in your job situation.
It also depends on how predictable your child is and how old they are. I wouldn't expect a baby to be on any kind of schedule until at least 4 months. Alex is now in a routine at 5 1/2 months, but it's still not totally predictable. It's usually a 2 hour nap in the morning and about an hour and a half in the afternoon, but yesterday it was 30 minutes in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.
Someone wrote on another board that the problem with working from home and trying to be a stay-at-home mom at the same time, is that you have all of the challenges of doing both, but none of the support system. I find this to be totally true. I don't feel like I can join any kind of sahm mom's groups. But I am also not in an office environment where I can get support there. I feel like I am trying to do both (sahm and work), and am doing neither very well.
So that's my take on it. I don't mean to sound negative and say it can't be done. But I found that I really can't work more than 15 to 20 hours a week (with no childcare) and still keep my sanity.
Please let me know if you have any more questions. Obviously, you've hit on a subject that's very touchy for me!
Well I am not a work from home mom, but I can offer some prespective. I needed to return to work when DS was four monmths and DS daycare wasn't ready for another two and a half weeks. Well DH and I talked about it and decided since DH could work from home and could be fairly flexible with his schedule (work on weekends and at nights) DH would stay home to cover those weeks. I would say we went in with our eyes open to the fact that DH would have to do some work at night and a little on weekends, but were in for a very rude awakening. On a good day DH got about 31/2 hours of work done a day. He would work every evening from the time I got home until we went to bed and had to work most of Saturday and Sunday. At the end of two weeks we were exhausted and hadn't seen each other for more than 20 minutes a day. I was so worn out from working all day and then having to do everything for DS and DH was exhausted from working all night and then having to be with DS all day and not being able to nap when DS napped.
So my advice would be to look into childcare in your home if nothing else, because without it you won't get much done
10-07-2003, 09:37 AM
I'm work-away-from-home mom (at least 95% fo the time) so don't have too much to offer other than to second what others have said about how difficult it will be to get stuff done during naps. If you need to be able to focus on your work and do it for set periods of time, I'd highly recommend having some kind of assistance with child care.
I have a friend who is a graphic designer and her son is around 19 months now. A few months ago she took on some work (she's SAHM) and she was so stressed trying to get the work done. And her son naps for 3 hours at one time and actually plays by himself for an hour easily (or will sit glued to Baby Einstein). Of course since she doesn't regularly work-at-home she also hasn't set up routines to support getting that done etc.
I think at least in the beginning you'll find it very helpful to set up some child care time even if it doesn't cover all the time you need to do your work it will at least give you scheduled/un-interupted time. When considering in-home think about your house layout and if you have an office you can disappear into.
Sending you good labor vibes!
10-07-2003, 01:26 PM
Thanks for the feedback. The job I am considering would be around 20 hours a week, and the timing of when I work would be flexible. I think DH and I could swing it (he is very willing), but I don't want it to take a toll on our marriage - i.e. one of us is working and one with the baby, and never together. I will probably look into some kind of childcare situation. I would love to do it in the home, but I can see how it would be really difficult to separate myself mentally.
Please keep the advice coming! And thanks for the good labor vibes!
10-08-2003, 01:09 PM
The hard part about the stay at home working mom thing, as others have said, is that most new babies won't settle into a rhythm of any sort untill they are about 3 or 4 months. And the 2 years after that they will change into a new phase every couple of weeks. So getting into any sort of predictable routine is pretty impossible for the first few years. Most jobs, even the work at home kind, require at least SOME sort of reliable schedule.
Of course, the great part is that you don't miss any of those preciously brief phases either. Also the sense of satisfaction in accomplishing something beyond food, laundry and a shower is very good. Helps to slay the dreaded "baby bubble brain" too.
My last bit of advice is to take a hard look at your budget. Figure out exactly what your weekly TAKE HOME pay is going to be. Then subtract any potential childcare, work expenses, travel costs etc... Don't forget to take into account that your working income might bump you into the next tax bracket. We discovered that, since our insurance and benefits came from my husband's job, I was actually working for less than $10 a day! ugh. Needless to say I didn't work long. We got creative with the finances and squeezed by without my income instead. My girlfriend did this exercise before her first child was born and realized it would actually cost her $$ to work, at least on a part time basis.
It's great that you have options and are thinking about them so carefully. Good luck with the baby!
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