Working from home - does this sound possible?

(26 Posts)
KD0706 Fri 28-Sep-12 12:41:27

I have two children. 2y 5 months, and 7 months old respectively. I've been out of the workplace since I had eldest.

I've been approached about a two day a week job. Which I would be interested in if it was in 6 ish months time. But I don't want to put my 7 month old in childcare two days a week yet.

The employer has asked would I consider home working in the interim. In principal I'm really keen on it. I'm eager to get back into work at some point and two day a week jobs are like hens teeth so I don't want to let this pass me by.

Eldest goes to playgroup three mornings a week. My mum is able to help out one morning a week, which is one of the mornings eldest goes to playgroup.
I was thinking of getting in a mothers help for the other two mornings she's at playgroup so I can do a bit of work then but not be away from my baby, if you know what I mean?

The work will probably be half quick emails, calls, letters etc which I can do while children are happy watching Disney etc, and the other half I will need to concentrate for periods of time, examine documents, write reports etc.

Am I being naive to think I can do this... Any experience of home working?

Thanks for any thoughts.

newplan Fri 28-Sep-12 12:44:01

I think you need proper childcare.

If your mum can do one morning, that's only 1.5 days with a childminder.

Or could you do 3 short days, finishing around 2/3. Then the baby will be having naps for most of working day.

PrincessOfChina Fri 28-Sep-12 12:45:02

Our company wouldn't allow you to work from home and have sole care of children so young. Are you proposing to do that for one morning a week?

I've tried to do bits and pieces while DD has been off nursery and can only really get anything done when she's napping. Could you work in the evenings?

newplan Fri 28-Sep-12 12:45:26

Sorry, I got confused about what hours your were offered. blush

Trills Fri 28-Sep-12 12:46:47

You can't make work phone calls while looking after a 7 month old and/or a 2 year old.

Trills Fri 28-Sep-12 12:48:17

If you are happy to be in the same house but have someone else looking after them (and that person will know that you are not to be disturbed at all during your "working hours") then it could be doable, but you won't be able to get stuff done while they watch TV nearby, you have to have someone else be responsible for them.

nilbyname Fri 28-Sep-12 12:50:34

Even with a home help your house will be noisy and chaotic with kids stuff. Your 7mo will be wanting you if she sees you over the helper.

My DH works from home occasionally and if me in the kids are at home it is just too noisy for him to work well. He has his own office in the house.

Wont work I am afraid.

becstargazeypie Fri 28-Sep-12 12:53:38

I work from home one day a week (in office three days a week). I have one 6yo who is at school. So he's much older than yours, capable of getting himself a cold drink and snack, going to the loo alone, knowing not to talk to me when I'm on the phone etc. Even so most weeks I have someone come in to look after him while I work in the other room. I think it might be difficult and you need to find a part time nanny or family member to do that 'looking after kids while you're in the other room' thing.

bruffin Fri 28-Sep-12 12:56:34

I did it for 10 years. I had ds already, he was 2 when dd was born. When DD was born company suggested that I worked from home. DS went to nursery 2/3 days a week and dd stayed at home with me until she was 2 and started at a day nursery. I went back to work when dd was 6 weeks.
I worked 20 hours a week around the times dd was asleep etc. It is perfectly doable. I was an accounts administrator for a charity

KD0706 Fri 28-Sep-12 12:57:02

Thanks for all the posts.
Sounds like a bit of a resounding no there!!

I can do evening working but was hoping to only maybe do a couple of hours 2-3 times a week. Toddler not in bed till 8.30pm so I don't want to be working every night as I think I'll exhaust myself.

Maybe I am being stupid about it.

My thought had been that with a mothers help (and my mum the one morning a week) I could get on and work but could be there is baby needed me, eg she has a breastfeed at eleven so I could pop up and do that.

So I would do maybe three hours each of those mornings. And then two hours three evenings a week. Making about sixteen hours. The working day in the place of work I'm talking about is seven hours, so I should be able to do two days work in those sixteen hours. Plus a few more hours on the weekend if it's a particularly busy week.

But I think the message I'm getting from you guys is its not as easy as I'm trying to convince myself!!

KD0706 Fri 28-Sep-12 12:59:08

Ooh bruffin I cross posted with you. I like your reply best!!!

I am having a chat with them next week anyway and I might suggest a couple of months trial of the working from home. See how we go.

Might look into a nanny rather than a mothers help too.

TheseGoToEleven Fri 28-Sep-12 13:00:07

I have worked from home full time for the past 11 years and in that time I have had 4 children. They are all in school now but I did work from home while they were small, right from the day I came home from the hospital (self employed = no mat leave). It has been hard at times, I have worked a combo of very early mornings/late nights/weekends to get this done but I never had anyone come in to look after them. I didn't have to work regular office hours because of the nature of the job so that was very helpful to me, I could (and still do!) get up at 3am so by the time everyone else gets up around 7am I have already done half of my work for the day, I only need to fit in another 4 hours throughout the day somehow. It IS do-able, but it is very hard sometimes.

newplan Fri 28-Sep-12 13:05:38

Bloody hell, when did you sleep !!

TheseGoToEleven Fri 28-Sep-12 13:06:55

Thankfully I don't need a lot of sleep! I usually get 4-5 hours a night.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 28-Sep-12 13:07:42

Another vote for proper childcare.

My company would happily let me work from home but even with an office and a nanny it is impossible. I much prefer to get my head down out of the home knowing my DC's are being well looked after in my absence

Numberlock Fri 28-Sep-12 13:11:49

I know you weren't planning on using childcare yet but for two days a week, I would bring your plans forward, take this job and work from the company office.

IMO you can't work from home without proper childcare and if you're having to use that, you may as well work in the office.

Taking a long view, I think this would be worth considering.

bruffin Fri 28-Sep-12 13:14:01

I Agree with Thesegotoeleven that it can be hard at times, but it was worth it. DD was a particular good sleep and like clockwork with her naps. I did have a few 2 or 3 ams finishes when i had deadlines.
I would also say it was my male managers (I had a new one every 2 years) that were far more understanding of me working at home than the femail ones.

osterleymama Fri 28-Sep-12 13:16:48

I work from home and look after my two year old. I have to fit it all into evenings and naptimes and very occasionally if I am behind on a deadline or something I will try to work while he plays or watches Cbeebies. I obviously have to stop what I'm doing to respond to his needs frequently and it's hard to concentrate.

It's do-able, but it's very hard and you miss out on some of the upsides of work like disengaging your brain from childcare for a few hours/staying clean/hot coffee/adult company. Having said that it sounds like a good and rare opportunity to pick up your career again at an almost ideal time, so might be worth just toughing it out for a few months? I do it because clients offer me a piece of work and I see pound signs instead of weeks of not enough sleep!

Pavlovthecat Fri 28-Sep-12 13:23:24

of course you can do it! If you want to make it work, and it sounds like you do, then find a way. It is only for a couple of months, until you feel comfortable with your 7mth old going into more formal childcare. Work in their nap times, when you mum is visiting, half hour when they are in front of the tv, do the report writing etc in the evenings instead of watching shite tele - yes it might knacker you, but it is not for long, it is your ideal job and as you say they don't come along very often, 2 day jobs.

Working is always tough with young children, but they won't be this little forever and you might not get another chance for a while. You might look back and kick yourself.

juneau Fri 28-Sep-12 13:31:27

If you have someone coming into your home to care for your LO while you're working I don't see why it can't work. I was an au-pair to a WAHM and it was fine. She shut herself in her study to work and I entertained her DD. I'm sure you could find someone locally who could do that.

Landy77 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:38:20

I have continued to work throughout my maternity leave. I am an account manager and due to the products it was decided that I would continue to look after the customer base. So since my baby was born I have aimed to work 2days a week and I would say it is more than possible.

My dd is 9mth old (so I appreciate I only have one) but I do phone calls while she sleeps in the afternoon, sort out emails while she is playing in the living room with laptop on my knee. (and I found that breast feeding and typing was great very easy) Emails reports etc can be done morning and evenings while the house sleeps, I have horses so I generaly like riding first thing and sorting them out before dh goes to work. My mum generaly has dd half a day a week and mil comes down alternate wednesdays. But I would say that I work far more than the 2days.
Good luck and go for it! organisation is key

megandraper Fri 28-Sep-12 13:41:53

Definitely need proper childcare - not fair on your kids or your employer to try to do both work and children at the same time.

I work roughly 3 days a week from home. Some of it with a nanny and some of it with my mum. Works for me. A few lessons I've learned though

- have a room you go to, which is shut off, and you are effectively "NOT HOME" while you're in it - so your au pair/mum/whoever deals with everything, and you don't come rushing out at every cry.

- be prepared that your time will get eaten into, and all sorts of things will crop up that make it hard to work - you have to find a way to deal with those. Somehow, working from home is not as "official" as going to an office, and people encroach on the time.

- turn off MN while you work <goes to do that now...>

forevergreek Fri 28-Sep-12 14:16:10

If they both nap in the afternoons I would say yes. I get all little ones not of school age to either nap/ rest in bed with a book/ or play quietly alone between 1-3 every afternoon. IMO if they are too old for naps they should be old enough to occupy themselves quietly for a few hours

So every afternoon nap 1-3 is 10hours a week ( more if they nap longer). You say nursery 3 mornings a week for eldest. So if baby if with your mum one morning that's another 3 hours child free ( 13 hours total so far)
At 7 months you say you don't want nursery for you youngest, so I would say you can easily make up 3 more hours over the week either on nursery mornings if baby sleeps for an hour, or evening or emails etc part could be done whilst they play for a little while in afternoon
( I used to put baby down for nap at 4.30 for 30 mins at 7months, and set up some play dough/ drawing for 2 year old, and we would chat a little, listen to music and he would play at table with me whilst I replied to emails- this every day is 2 1/2 hours over 5 days so def cuts down on eve work)

Then maybe when your youngest is a bit bigger they could also go to nursery a few mornings and you could get the work done in bigger chunks at a time.

I think if you really want to then 16 hours ( actually didn't you say was 7 hrs of 2 days, so 14 hours a week can def be found )

Haberdashery Fri 28-Sep-12 14:56:33

I work from home three short days a week (about 18 hours) and have one 6 year old. I can now work sensibly from home but it's only really since DD was school aged that I haven't had to get someone else over (just in the holidays now) to take care of her. These days I make her a space on the end of my desk, give her the netbook and she plays on CBeebies/Moshi Monsters/Mathletics for an hour or so, watches TV or reads for another hour and plays next door to my office in her bedroom with her toys (schools, mummies and babies etc) or draws/makes things. She is quite capable of getting herself a snack (fruit and yoghurt low down in fridge) or a glass of water and she quite often brings me one too. Occasionally I pay her to do some filing at a rate of 10p per piece of paper correctly filed.

I've been working from home for about 13 years and dh also works from home. Offspring are now 14 and 7. My advice is: you can't do it properly without childcare, especially with 2 littlies. One or other of them will - inevitably - sometimes refuse to nap when you most need them to; they will throw a huge tantrum at some point when you are in the middle of an important phonecall and they will suddenly decide that sitting and watching a dvd is the last thing they want to do when you have to concentrate on getting that very important doc out the door by 4pm. Also, bosses/customers need to know that you are properly focused on your work and are unimpressed by small children answering the phone or shouting in the background during phone calls. Having a mother's help to look after the children is fine as long as everyone knows you are not available except in a real emergency.

I actually think you might be being a bit hard on yourself by trying to do it without organized childcare - you will inevitably end up spreading yourself too thin. And I speak from bitter experience.

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