How to manage working from home with a newborn?(23 Posts)
I only just joined MumsNet and this is my first post so forgive me if I am repeating anything that's already been discussed! I am 18 weeks pregnant (first child), due on Oct 2nd. I have been self-employed since 2014 and work from home. I am (tentatively) planning to return to work part-time in Jan/Feb next year after having 3-4 months off with the baby. My partner and I are undecided re. childcare and I'm wondering if it's crazy to think I might be able to work for a few hours a day at home with a 3-4 month old to look after? Unfortunately we don't have any family who can help us out with babysitting (I lost my mum 3 years ago and my partner's mum is seriously ill, rest of our family are not local). I am starting to panic a little and feel pretty alone right now - any advice from anyone in a similar situation would be greatly appreciated!
Pretty crazy, yes. I suppose if it's the sort of work you can start and stop every 5 mins and you don't need to call into meetings, you could make it work if you had to. Could you work in the evening when your partner is home?
"A few hours a day" is extremely optimistic. Depends what sort of work it is and what sort of baby you have - some sleep loads and are 'easy', others are Velcro-d to their mum most of the day and cry a lot. Some sleep really well early on, meaning you are physically capable of getting stuff done during their naps, others are rubbish sleepers meaning that at 3/4 months you may be barely functional and might collapse in a heap whenever baby is asleep/as soon as DP is home in the evenings.
If you don't have to go back that early because of losing clients or whatever, I wouldn't, or keep it to an absolute minimum, or get some childcare in place.
Thanks for the advice - it's kind of what I expected. My partner is currently looking for a new job so things are a bit up in the air at the moment, childcare may be too expensive.
Yeah, I understand some people may have no choice but to make it work. If you had to, a sling would probably be best so that you had your hands free.
I did this from when DS was 3 months old- although I was employed rather than self employed. No family nearby and DH worked away most of every week.
Depends what it is you do and whether or not your baby likes to sleep. I have a desk based job which meant I could do some things (but not all) from home (not something which can be done when baby is awake) and my baby was a good napper / sleeper.
I would do an hour or so a couple of times a day when he was sleeping, and then a couple of hours in the evening. Not every day and not every evening, but it was something.
Tbh, if I had my time again I wouldn't do it - but that is purely because my boss turned out to be a total prick. If I was self employed I totally would.
But, if your baby is unsettled, you'll struggle. Good luck!
I worked from home, but employed not self-employed - I couldn't have done it, DD was a cling-on baby who didn't like sleeping, and my job is one which requires concentration. OTOH my SIL managed it - she had 2 18 months apart <respect> .... it really does depend so much what your baby is like and what your work is.
Honestly, I could have done it with my second baby and did do a semi successful buying and selling business with him. I'm now self employed with my fourth who is 14 months and it's difficult even though DH is at home all day. I end up working odd times at night and not having a reliable routine.
If you don't have core hours and your job is such that you can dip in and out in 1-2 hour segments you might be ok,
You'll find people who have made it work, but they will be in the minority.
It will, of course depend on what work you do, and how 'bitty' it can be in picking up and doing 20mins here and there, and it also depends on how much your baby sleeps and how happy they are when not being held, and, of course, what sort of birth you have, and if you get any PND, and also how you react to being a parent, and how you cope on a lot less sleep than you are used to.
No-one else can tell you for sure, but, for most people, it would be extremely difficult.
If your job involves concentrating for longer than 10mins at a time (some jobs from home don't....like running an online shop) during the day job part, it is possible. Almost anything else, don't do it. The stress and resentment is phenomenal. When you are trying to concentrate on something important it's infuriating to have to stop and start. It will make you furious with the baby and deeply stressed yourself.
I was a lawyer - so def a job that requires concentration. Just was able to do it in hour long bursts.
Spring, assuming your baby sleeps and you have flexibility to do you hour whenever in the day.
Depends what your work is but personally I think it's impractical
My ds is 6mo he doesn't sleep more than an hour in the day and that's 2 short naps. I spend a lot of the time doing washing, bottles etc I certainly don't spend my time entertaining him every minute of The day but wouldn't be able to sit at a laptop or anything like that for a decent period of time either. I imagine would be even harder once they are mobile too
I work from home as a freelance writer and marketeer. I do so with my dd at home with me. I'm very lucky that she is quite happy to play independently and I have a role that I can dip on and out of, don't need to be on the phone etc. I'm expecting dd2 in July and am currently forward planning to continue with some of my work via KIT days but also take the full time off as maternity allowance allows.
It is doable but you need to be flexible. I am fortunate that my he's job is flexible and he often comes home early and I have my in laws if I'm really really stuck.
Congratulations by the way!!!
As glitter says, you may be able to claim maternity allowance from the government. That might give you a little more wiggle room with your work.
Do an advanced search OP, there was a similar thread a few months ago with lots of perspectives.
FWIW I'm in the same boat - due in Sept, self-employed from home, want to continue to some extent - and what I took from the other thread and this one so far is that it might be possible, in short bursts, depending on what kind of baby you get.
It depends what type of work it is. You'll never be able to guarantee you'll be free at a certain time to attend a meeting or make a call, but if it's something that you can dip in and out of and are prepared to work when baby is sleeping (which could be a couple of hours early morning or late evening) then it could be doable. My dd is now 7 months and does usually take one good nap of up to 2 hours during the day but that time quickly goes by the time I get a shower, put some washing on, have a quick tidy up, prepare something for dinner etc and of course have some time to enjoy a coffee and watch a bit of This Morning! When baby is awake you'll find it very difficult to get any work done.
I think I would find it hard, and if you could, I would look at getting childcare for one day a week so you at least you get one full day working with no distractions.
I did this from new born to about 4 months working hours equiv to about 3 days a week. It worked OK, but work calls were a bit of a problem if the baby cried or needed something, but all my work was with a client I knew very well and was generally OK with the odd interuption. I worked mostly 5am to 7am weekdays and then during naps, calm times, and an hour or so some evenings (mostly for calls). It was a very easy job to pick up and put down though which helped.
4-8 months me and OH bother worked PT, about 60/70% so we could fit around each other hrs. This was the hardest most stressful phase though as both jobs 'forgot' we were PT.
9-12 months OH tried to fit 40% work around being the main carer, but found ths was much harder due to less naps, shorter nights and generally LO being more awake and demanding. So I worked compressed FT over 4 days a week to give him a long day, and some hrs at the weekend, and he worked evenings to get most things done.
Disclaimer; It was an easy birth, the baby was a good sleeper, bottle fed from 6 weeks, in a routine from 2 weeks (due to feeding problems).
I'd give it a go but have a plan both finacially and for your clients if it isn't possible.
My eldest and my youngest (both girls) did not sleep during the day, except for one nap mid morning. The rest of the time they were awake and wanting to be entertained. No way could I have done anything resembling work. DD1 also went through that phase they say is colic where she screamed constantly for several hours around 5pm every single day from about 3 months old.
Looking after a small baby is a job in itself. Unless you are very lucky and get a sleepy baby (I'm told they exist ) it isn't going to be easy.
I couldn't even get the cleaning done with my first born, never mind thinking about a job, but my DS was very clingy and liked to be held constantly.
I work for myself from home and I just about managed to keep my business going while having a newborn but it was really hard.
The best thing I did was to buy a stretchy newborn wrap - think it was a Moby one. My DD was the sort of baby that could hardly ever be put down so I would put her in the wrap on my chest and be hands free to get on with things.
I didn't have to do anything that required a huge amount of concentration though and I was able to stop and start fairly easily so it does depend on what work you're going to be doing.
All children are different and all mothers are different. But your child will surely show you what you can and what you can't
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