Working From Home: With a Kid

Over two years ago I was lucky enough to land a full-time job where I worked from home, and then…

February, 2013

About 4 months after I began working from home, my wife and I found out we were going to have a kid. Well, she was going to have a kid, and I was going to do my best to figure out what to do with a kid.

I was still transitioning to the “work at home” mode from 10+ years in the work force, working from home was a new thing to me.

Working from home, what you should know

To preface, if you are new to my site, I do web development. The internet never sleeps, my applications never sleep, so at times I need to be available in case shit hits the fan, which it will and it did. Depending on your field, my experiences may not be the same as yours.

  • You’re never really “off work.” There may be times when you’re not working
  • Everywhere is your office, and nowhere is your office. When you are home alone, you can sit on the couch, sit in bed, sit at your desk if you need a second monitor, or even sit outside and soak up some Sun. As long as you have a stable internet connection, your company should just know that you’re being productive regardless of where you may be working. When you have family or friends over, people are going to see you are home and will naturally want to talk to you, ask you how you’re doing, catch up on the news, etc. Just because you’re in your office doesn’t mean it’s YOUR office. It’s your home, and you’re in your home, so you’re accessible to others who are in your home.
  • You are tech support. I’m lucky to come from a background of being a Director of Technology for a small non-profit, had managed 200+ computers across a city, and come to my senses and bought a Macbook Pro to do my work. Luckily that means I don’t have a large amount of downtime short of an infrequent reboot. If something does happen, chances are your work won’t be able to support you unless you take your equipment into the office.
  • It’s your responsibility to ensure your internet, phone and electricity is on.

I’m not going to lie, the first few months were a bit stressful getting into the “work from home” mode. I was the sole developer of an application owned by a company, and I was doing a rewrite of the codebase so if something failed, it was on me to fix.

Knock Knock, Baby is here!

So a few months went by, my wife went through the normal pregnancy phases. I had freaked out a bit pre-delivery (and post delivery) and bought a new car that I thought would be more suitable for our family (big mistake, but that’s a different story) but on the plus side due to my wifes job we were able to secure housing, for 3 years, a month before our Son was born at half the rate you would pay within a 15 mile radius. We were pretty estatic about that, we moved from a 2 bedroom apartment on a busy street next to a freeway to a more family focused community of townhomes with three bedrooms and an attached garage. It feels like home.

Then our Son was born, Aiden. I held him, I freaked out, and unfortunately 4 days later I was back working half time again because I was still the sole developer of not just one application, but another one as well now.

Luckily, my wife was able to take six months off of work which is pretty standard for California. Those six months went smooth enough, I was blessed to work from home, but unfortunately Aiden was born in October and due to the nature of my job the end of the year was the busiest so even though I was at home, I was working 12+ hours a day.

As my wife’s time at home was closing to an end, I was becoming increasingly anxious. We hadn’t figured out our child care situation, and my wife’s co-worker had a baby a week before we did, and my wife did not have senority, so she was going back to work.

A Helping Hand

My wife’s boss actually came through, she was able to work half days for another 6 months. That was the good part, the bad part was she was taking a pay cut for doing this. We were able to make it work, she went to bed at 7 AM, Aiden would sleep until about 10 AM, 12 AM on a good day, and that is when my wife would be coming home where she would take over and I would be able to concentrate more on work.

To say it was interesting is an understatement. There were a few times where I was on morning conference calls with a baby crying in the background. A few days where I had to just call out to watch my Son because I don’t know if he was just being fussy, or I was just being stressed trying to adjust being a new father.

We had gotten through the 6 months, we looked at a few different places for Aiden to go during the day, but something happened.

It takes a village to raise a child

We were able to make arrangements with my wifes Mom and her sister to watch Aiden during the day. That means that by 10 AM, someone would be here to play with him and watch him until my wife came home from work. This was a huge relief! My wife came home from work at lunch still, we were all able to have family together as a family since I’m home, and I didn’t feel as if Aiden was being ignored while I was trying to sneak in some work between changing diapers, heating up milk, and doing nap time.

Nowhere but up from here

In the end, things worked out pretty well. My wife’s Mom and sister are still watching Aiden, we were able to get on a good budget when my wife worked half time so we are able to help out her Mom and sister financially for helping us out, and I actually got some help at work which has lowered my stress levels, and helped my relationship with my family overall.

Is it possible?

So, is it possible? Yes, it’s possible. Aiden is going to turn 18 months soon, I’m still working from home, and we’re still in this kick-ass housing and hopefully going to be buying a house in early 2017.

Is there anyone else out there in the same situation? How have you handled the transition of working from home, to working from home with a baby?

Last Updated: 2015-01-20 08:57:14 +0000 UTC

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