{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "This one is for the moms: my husband and I are trying to conceive and I’m wondering what life will look like once we have a baby. I have a job where I work completely from home/remote, and I’m wondering if I will need childcare services of some kind. Is it possible for me to handle taking care of a baby while working a full-time job from home? Is it crazy to think I can do this myself? I’d like to think, if it’s necessary, I could adjust my work hours and do a little when my husband gets home.", "post_id": "6101664a7728050021e8f651", "reply_count": 41, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

This one is for the moms: my husband and I are trying to conceive and I’m wondering what life will look like once we have a baby. I have a job where I work completely from home/remote, and I’m wondering if I will need childcare services of some kind. Is it possible for me to handle taking care of a baby while working a full-time job from home? Is it crazy to think I can do this myself? I’d like to think, if it’s necessary, I could adjust my work hours and do a little when my husband gets home.

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I get it - childcare is expensive and it’s tempting to want to try to do it all. The biggest advice I have for new working parents is to outsource wherever possible. At this stage sleep and sanity are your greatest commodities. In the newborn stage for us, my husband and I each stayed home and worked one day a week, and had childcare the other 3 days. That’s lasted about 9 months and then the baby is just too busy and needs constant attention. Honestly, I did not get much work done on those days and it’s really embarrassing to be on a conference call and the baby starts screaming, or you can’t pick up for a partner because you’re changing a diaper etc. I strongly suggest getting in a childcare routine as early as possible.

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YOU WILL NEED ALL THE HELP. I have used all caps, in the hopes that you will see this and take notes. You may not be able to get childcare, or as much as you want given COVID, but my experience was that even with a fully supportive co-parent and loads of time off available, and relative able to safely visit and pitch in....you will want every single adult hand available!! Every meal that your neighborhood civic association or church will deliver? PERFECT. And every other bit of housecleaning help, and any other kind, will be MASSIVELY worth it. I took ALL the time off with my first, and didn't look for lots of other support. I did all of it. And we got through...but it was rough. With my second? I hired as much help as I could, got them started early, and had family etc. visit. I didn't take as much "formal maternity" that time, but I didn't have to clean and cook and take every overnight....and both me and my baby benefited! I was hesitant to ask for help until I felt underwater the first time, and I fixed my brain for the next baby. I wanted my priority to BE that baby, and next my job (that I love) and I paid for food and cleaning, etc. and welcomed every parent or in-law or nanny I could get....and it was AMAZING. I did great at my job, and skipped the ptsd from the "first-6 months" that mothers in this country sign up for ALL THE TIME. I wish more than anything that I'd spent ALL THE MONEY for help with the first one, so that I could have been better with her. It takes a village, and there is NO SHAME in paying for help to make that happen! (Also, those are the best folks to hit up again for babysitting when the kids are older!)

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You should listen to this. This is spot on. I was the same way with my first and hope to outsource everything I can with my second to focus on the actual baby!!

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You need childcare. You can't do two jobs at the same time. And you'll definitely want the childcare when the time comes.

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I can't imagine working with less than 5 hours of childcare a day even in an undemanding job, likely more. Once the baby starts consolidating sleep you can do work after bedtime. But infants are just hard, unless they're amazing sleepers. My kid wouldn't nap unless she was being held. So I wouldn't have been able to work at all without childcare. I had a full time nanny from when I got off maternity leave and she was amazing. And, frankly, outside pandemic times, most companies require that you have childcare while working, because they know you can't do two things at once. They're not wrong.

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Not a mom, but all of my coworkers with small children (none are babies, all at least a year and a half) use childcare at least a few days a week. On the days where they don’t have childcare, the toddler is in their lap on calls. It’s fine for our team/office.

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It’s not realistic at all. You need childcare.

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I also think some first time parents severely underestimate the time commitment and/or difficulties that takes to care for an infant. Not saying that’s you at all! But wouldn’t you plan for the worst and then if you realize you don’t need childcare, then end it, rather than be scrambling for someone and unable to find anyone? Just my 2 cents ☺️

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Absolutely! If you couldn’t tell- I’m a planner, and already thinking about this while not pregnant yet lol I’m considering how I can adjust my work schedule if necessary depending on how the day goes. Making a schedule of necessary tasks and meetings and just moving throughout the day, etc. Basically, I’m not opposed to hiring help if I need it. I just don’t want to underestimate what I’m able to handle with a very flexible job and being able (blessed) to wfh in this scenario

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I have two— a 4 year old and a new baby. I can’t imagine doing my job without having childcare. For us, it has been mostly daycare, but we did have a nanny for a year during the pandemic. Whenever I was home with them because they were sick etc. I knew I would maybe get 2 hours of work during nap time and would have to work after bedtime until late to make it up.

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I honestly don't know how you would ever sleep. Im still up and will probably be up until 3 or 4 AM because I spent 5:30-10:30 with my son tonight. I missed him and needed the break from work but im paying for it. There is no way to work and take care of your child.... unless you are doing a bad job at one of them.

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Maybe in the early newborn phase going without help is possible since you can just wear the baby and it’ll end happy (your days and nights are all messed up anyway so if you can work whenever and don’t mind missing a lot of sleep that’s your call). Once the kiddo is mobile and, even more so hits the toddler phase, forget it. That child will be want/need your attention and you will not be able to get any meaningful work done.

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I guess it depends on just how flexible your work is. I wouldn’t work at home even with a newborn without someone around that can assist. Even the chillest babies who sleep all the time (and I’ve never had one of those, only met one ever) can scream or have a massive blowout during a conference call or zoom meeting. I’ve also seen it backfire on several people who’ve tried it (ie, they’re slower than before baby in responding to requests/emails, always having the phone roll to voicemail, late for conference calls, and eventually everyone learned it’s because the lawyer was taking care of the baby during the workday instead of working at their “day job.”) Even if you just have someone come in to assist during “core hours” it may be worthwhile so you can power through work. That squishy newborn baby wearing phase doesn’t last long, so you’ll likely be looking for child care by the time they turn 6 months anyway. At that point you’ve developed a relationship with someone your baby is comfortable with.

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One of my best friends had a 10 month old when the pandemic started, private practice with billin requirements, no childcare. Her spouse was considered essential and had to go into work 5 days a week. She had no time to do any work during the day absent respond to some work emails. As soon as dad got home at around 5:30pm, she would hand off the baby to him and that is when her work day would begin until around 2am, and she would also make up the time on weekends. It was the most miserable thing I have witnessed in my entire life tbh. I was so happy for her when daycares opened up in August or whenever 😭 to be clear, it’s not that she wasn’t working or trying to work during nap times, but if you have a big motion or large project to get done, working in 1-2 hour increments at random times is very difficult imo, on top of trying to field phone calls and emails, etc.

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That sounds miserable 😩 I have some mom friends who were trying to do billing during the pandemic when I was in litigation (recently transitioned in house) and billing was so difficult. I felt badly. Totally understand how hard that situation could be

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You will need help. I have a two year old and my husband was deployed her first six months. If you work on anything that requires more then a ten minute stretch of focus you have absolutely no way of predicting if you will have that without childcare. My daughter was unfortunately a HORRIBLE sleeper and would have days with no naps starting at 5 months and those days would mean I am 100% mom and could work in ten minute increments which doesn’t work for my line of work. Also I’m due in September and know that I can maybe work up to 4 months old without full time care but only if this one sleeps half way decently.

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That sounds tough especially with deployment!! And of course, how they sleep will heavily influence how I go about it

I worked full time without childcare for six months at then beginning of the pandemic, and when we finally felt comfortable with having a baby sitter come, the sense of relief I felt when I could finally close the door and just focus on my work guilt free and uninterrupted was magical. I never want to go back to that, I legitimately think I have PTSD and I would never willingly choose that, even to save a significant amount of money.

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My husband was a stay at home dad, but for about three months when my son was about six months old he tried an evening job where he left for work about the same time I left work. He handed the baby off to a babysitter and I picked the baby up about an hour later. Then, it was just me and my son until my son went to bed (and then I immediately collapsed in bed as well because it was exhausting). I tried to do work in the evening but it really wasn’t possible. That baby wanted his momma. I eventually gave up and we spent the evenings watching scary movies while I fed him and rocked him and got him to bed. To be honest, that was my happiest time with him once I decided there was no point trying to work with him there. But, for the few weeks that I tried to do both, he laid beside me on the coach and scooted and scooted until he was on top of my lap and I would get so frustrated with that. It wasn’t fair to him to have a mom like that. Maybe you can have a teenager watch the baby for a few hours after school and then your husband can take over for a few hours in the evening and you can get work done then. If you have a mom or mother-in-law itching to come stay for the first few months to be with the baby just say yes. Even if they normally annoy you, you will find your standards of tolerance will likely decrease once sleep deprivation sets in. It is the hardest job you will ever have, but it is worth it. My son is six now and he is my buddy. He likes my jokes and we like watching the same shows and doing the same things. He is still lots of hard work, but he’s also amazing.

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Yes, you need some kind of childcare. You won’t be able to work while the child is awake, it’s just too distracting. You can carve out time in the morning and in the evening, but it’s exhausting. You can get some time during nap time, but it will be unpredictable. A part-time nanny is the minimum, but I really would encourage you to get a full day of childcare.

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No. Maybe when the baby is wearable, maybe. But, I would not advise it. There is a far deal of energy and thought you need to devote to both. I'm working from home right now, my daughter is almost 2, and if I didn't have care at home I would no be able to get anything done. If she can see me, I have to be paying attention to her. There is just no easy way to go between both and focus.

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FYI- I work in house for a legal tech company as a program attorney, so I’m not billing and my schedule is pretty flexible.

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Don’t do it. You might literally become suicidal from exhaustion.

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Yikes

Thanks everyone! Definitely have some things to think about here. One thing is for sure - momming is a full time job and I’m sure I’ll need help at some point. Good to know you’re all here with the helpful pointers!

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I think it would be extremely difficult and you’d end up sacrificing a lot of sleep (which is already in short supply with a new baby). Babies need a lot of attention all day long. For reference, I have a 2 a d 4 year old, have worked in private practice (billing) and as a law clerk (primarily remote) when they were even younger.

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Absolutely not. I have a very flexible role in my office without a lot of deadlines and my baby is a great sleeper and I couldn’t do it. We started with a nanny for five hours a day and it was still a struggle. I tried to work more in the evenings but missed time with my spouse. I now have my mom keep the baby a full 8 hours, even on days I work from home. As soon as the baby is awake more during the day (which is about when maternity leave ends) they need so much attention. And then they hit a separation anxiety phase around six months! Definitely plan for child care.

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I don't think it would be fair to your new child to try to work plus take care of him/her. You would not be able to give your full attention while working. He/she would be better off in day care where the environment is structured for them to excel while you work and then you can turn to him after you sign off. I am in M&A, so more hours than you have, but I honestly can't imagine working with my son at home. Maybe until they are 6 months, but after they start walking it would be absolutely impossible.

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I agree with everyone who said absolutely not. I promise you that even a baby who is relatively calm and sleeps a lot at first can keep you and one other person busy 100% of the time trying to survive and keep up with the baby. Moms at home consider it a win if they get a chance to shower before bedtime!

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