The Truth About Working At Home With A Baby

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I've been a work-at-home mom for over seven years now and there are precisely two things I've learned along the way:

1. Working at home is awesome

2. Working at home sucks

I know, consistent, right? 

But it's the very real truth about working from home with a baby and I'm here to break it down for you. It seems like these days, more than ever, moms are wanting to carve out their own careers with the ability to be home with their children on their schedules, not an employer's time table.

 

There are all kinds of at-home opportunities for work-at-home parents, from direct product sales (I have a cousin who is making six figures, so those pyramid schemes really do work for some people, dang!) to technical skills, like writing (ahem) or data processing, that can be done from the comfort of your own living room. 

So I am a definite, firm believer that it IS possible to create a realistic career that you can do from home, but when you add a baby to the mix?

Well, things suddenly get a little more complicated. Here is a closer look at exactly the pros and cons of working at home with a baby. 

Benefits


Save on a babysitter. I won't go so far as to say that you will be able to completely eliminate a babysitter as a work-at-home mom, because I think that's just not helpful (it's still work, after all!) but I will say that it is possible to save a lot on a babysitter because you can eliminate a lot of the other time-consuming tasks that come along with daycare or a sitter.

For example, you can have a sitter come directly to your house while you work at home with some noise-cancelling headphones. It saves you time that you don't have to drive to a place of employment and it saves you money from gas, eating out, or buying special work clothes. Even a quick trip uptown to the coffee shop for me is  minutes lost that I could be making money.

 

Two words: flu season. Oh my gosh, I can't even tell how bad the last year has been for my kids and getting sick every other week. If I had a traditional job, I would have been fired by now because flu season hit our family hard. Working from home is an invaluable benefit, in my mind, because it gives you the ability to stay home with a sick baby without having to call in sick yourself. 

Flexibility. Every single con of working at home with a baby, to me, has been overshadowed by this #1 benefit. When the baby is teething and you can't put her down all day, you can make that happen with a work-at-home job that will allow you to work like a mad woman the second the baby falls asleep. (In related news, you may also develop a severe addiction to coffee.)

Cons

No insurance. If you are self-employed you will not have the benefit of employer-provided insurance, so you will (obviously) have to purchase your own insurance or depend on a partner for family insurance. There are some work-at-home jobs that do offer benefits, however, so if purchasing insurance will be a deterrent for you, look into options that allow you to still take advantage of an employer plan.

 

No work/life boundaries. For me, especially in the beginning of working at home, this was a huge struggle. There was one instance when I worked from home for an employer who would call me at all hours of the day and night and it was disrupting our entire life. Even my husband was constantly stressed. When my employer woke me up once at 3 A.M. to book dinner reservations, it was a wake-up call (literally) for me to set some serious boundaries in my life to making working at home work for me--and my family. 

Guilt. It can be incredibly frustrating to be at home with your baby but not really "be" present for him or her. Constantly trying to juggle playing with the baby or changing a diaper while answering emails is a recipe for disaster, so you have to understand the dangers of burnout ahead of time to avoid getting wrapped up in doing too much at once. 

The hustle. The drawback of working from home is that if you are starting your own career, you will probably have to log in a lot more hours and hustle a bit more than an office, 9-5, or shift work job. There are definitely some days when I miss the ability to just clock in and clock out of my hospital job as a nurse where I knew exactly what was expected of me on my shift. Working from home means there no one to tell you what to do, so if you want the paycheck, you have to make it happen on your own. 

If you are considering working at home with a baby, I say go for it! Just do it with the knowledge that every baby and every parent is different, so you may have to experiment a bit to find a good routine and schedule that works for you. 

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