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Has anyone successfully worked from home with a toddler?

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#26 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:39 PM

I couldn’t do it. My kids are full on, id resort to iPads pretty quickly.

Instead of child care, have you looked at getting a parent helper for half a day? Often called a mother’s help. It’s like a nanny but because you are there as well, they’re generally younger and less experienced, and therefore cheaper. They can take your child for a walk, play with them, feed them, while you get some solid work done. Compared to paying for a full day of childcare, it would probably beak even or be cheaper.

#27 PrincessPeach

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:40 PM

I could have easily (& did do half days work from home) with my eldest - he was the epic of sleepers.

He would sleep for 4 hours a day right up until he turned 3, so i could do majority of work when
He was asleep & then the rest at night once he was in bed.

My second - well any work I do had to be done at night - he won't reliably sleep during the day, he can entertain himself ok for short blocks of time, but gets into mischief a lot as well.

#28 InOmniaParatus

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:41 PM

View Post~LemonMyrtle~, on 20 May 2019 - 12:39 PM, said:

I couldn’t do it. My kids are full on, id resort to iPads pretty quickly.

Instead of child care, have you looked at getting a parent helper for half a day? Often called a mother’s help. It’s like a nanny but because you are there as well, they’re generally younger and less experienced, and therefore cheaper. They can take your child for a walk, play with them, feed them, while you get some solid work done. Compared to paying for a full day of childcare, it would probably beak even or be cheaper.

Yes...looking into this. I guess I just want to be prepared too for the days they can't make it

#29 MrsG2

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:45 PM

I don’t think I could. I work from home but ds is in childcare. He wouldn’t let me do a thing if he was at home and he’d likely destroy my computer

#30 tomson

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:50 PM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 20 May 2019 - 12:12 PM, said:

Do you have any tips? My 8yo still does this if she knows who is on the line :no2:


I don't know if it would work for an eight year old, but I would just tell them that I was making/taking a call before I did it, and please be quiet while i did so; i would be able to talk to them once I was done......

Because my kids knew no different (I have a very straight forward office based professional role, that I continued through pregnancy, and went back to almost straight away, with the kids in tow), it was relatively easy.

I was talking to them/explaining what we needed to do from when they were very small, so they always knew what was going on.....

Obviously every single call was not without interruption etc, but they were mostly pretty good, especially when they knew what was happening.

I guess this reflects my general approach though - i would sit down and help them set up and play a bit with the wooden trains or whatever, and then say "i just need to go and do (some small job, house or work related), and I will come back and keep playing with you in 5 minutes". I gradually increased the time doing the job, but always told them what i was doing, so they rarely chased after me, and gradually increased the length of time they could play independently.

#31 Jane Jetson

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:10 PM

Yes. And for a couple of years I worked at home with a toddler and a baby (not recommended)!

I had a three-day job, during which time they were at LDC (two days) or their grandparents' place (one day). But I was also running my own business the other two days a week (technically the in-office job was a cilent of this) and those two days, the kids were both home.

I think the only reason I managed it was that I was the boss and the only person who cared when and how I worked was me. Lots of evening and weekend work (when DH was doing the childcare), lots of working via email rather than the phone, lots of manic work bursts when DD1 was napping and DD2 was either napping or having a quiet moment. Too much TV time.

I still work from home a lot (different job though, not my own business) and the kids are both home with me a couple of afternoons a week after school. They are nine and 12 and still demanding. If I had a dollar for every time I've said, "I'm at work, go use this time to do your homework" I wouldn't need to work.

#32 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:19 PM


#33 Beancat

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:21 PM

No because

My employer would not permit it (and neither would I as a manger)  - if you are working a half day its work time not child minding.  I needed to be available for client calls or staff phone conferences etc and not have a screaming child in the background.

On the odd day I tried it when kids were sick or cc had fallen through I got nothing done and it was very stressful.  You need decent period of times without interruption and skipping from one mode  (parent - employee) to the next

#34 Wahwah

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:38 PM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 20 May 2019 - 12:12 PM, said:

Do you have any tips? My 8yo still does this if she knows who is on the line :no2:

I would hide in the bathroom or garden shed to take work calls because my DD always felt that me being on the phone was the perfect time to interrupt things to explain that teddy and dolly were having a fight and that a unicorn had just dropped in for a cup of tea.

I am sure she knew exactly was she was doing even at 4. It's a case of 'if you're not paying me attention, then I ain't letting you give anyone else attention either'.

#35 Mollycoddle

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:53 PM

I'd go with childcare.  If you are going to be needing her in for a greater amount of time in the future anyway then a half-day is a good amount to start with.  Though you will probably end up paying for a whole day regardless if you go with a long day care centre.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 20 May 2019 - 02:18 PM.

#36 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:58 PM

no - i either wouldn’t have been a very good worker, or i wouldn’t  have been a very good carer ....one would always have to take precedence over the other. i would find some good quality day care, and go down that path.

#37 jojonbeanie

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:59 PM

I worked from home for years. I had a nanny. It doesn't work otherwise unless you want to do all your work in the evening hours after your partner gets home.

#38 jojonbeanie

Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:01 PM

View PostWahwah, on 20 May 2019 - 01:38 PM, said:

I would hide in the bathroom or garden shed to take work calls
I had an extremely biddable child who knew you never crossed the threshold into Mum's office but I still have recollections of taking calls in the car parked in the street while he screamed in the house.

#39 lizzzard

Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:44 PM

I do find it a bit funny that 90% of the responses are ‘no way’ and yet the OP says ‘thanks, I think I’ll try it’ 🤣

#40 cardamom

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:08 PM

I take my hat off to anyone, with kids or without, who can successfully manage the deceptively evil trap that is working from home.

It sounds great. No commute, fewer distractions, etc.

In my head I always think "ah, I'll be so productive!"

The reality always ends up being that I sit around in my pyjamas and procrastinate away the majority of the day, failing to achieve anything, either work or domestic related, beyond answering my emails, and then 5pm hits and I feel so guilty and self-loathing that I work late through the night to make up the time and feel like a half-decent employee. It's like being at uni when I would do last-minute all nighters to make a deadline, except that I'm meant to be a functional grown up now.

I have a lot of flexibility within my role but I very rarely take up the work-from-home opportunity because I know for me it ends up being more trouble than it's worth. I don't have the discipline for it. Nope, nope, nope.

(Can you tell I'm working from home today? :laugh: )

Anyway, if you can make it work OP, good for you! Good luck with whatever you decide.

#41 Orangecake

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:11 PM

I've done it on occasion and could manage half a day work over the full day. The main things were getting up and doing a decent block while DH at home in the morning (he left a bit later) and making most of naptime. It also worked better if I could give some solid time to toddler mid morning, go to park etc so they were more settled at home afterwards. I would definitely check out a mother's helper if doing regularly.

#42 MarciaB

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:24 PM

Is it work you could do outside of regular business hours or do you need to be available for phone calls etc during your half day?

I have done it occasionally by doing it on a weekend when DH was about.  

Otherwise - hiring help (either in your home or at family daycare etc) is the way to go.

#43 Meemaw

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:41 PM

I do it three times a week with a 6 month old and a 3 year old. Not easy but can be done as long as you can organise your work accordingly. After a while, like everything you adapt.

#44 Lady Gray

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:44 PM

I do this, it isn't ideal and can be really stressful at times.  My perfect example of this is my toddler screeching at me to 'come and do a poo with me mummy' over and over again and then throwing a tantrum screaming 'poo mummy, poo' whilst I was trying to have a call with a client.

Luckily, the client was also a mum and understood but it was embarrassing and stressful.

It used to be so much easier when she was younger as she'd do 3 hour naps and I'd save all my calls for then or when I was pushing the pram and knew she was happily entertaining herself or eating her lunch.

I have to say, I find the days were I'm trying to work and entertain her the worst.  It's infinitely more tiring, you feel guilty and I usually end up loosing my temper over something that isn't really my kid's fault.

#45 foofoo

Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:53 PM

I did it for 13 years and 2 kids, but it was flexible which worked for the company and myself.  I had to be strict with the hours otherwise it was chaos when the kids were left to their own devices.  On one occasion they squirted honey throughout the pantry.

When they were very little I would get up at 5.30am and work for 2 hours.  I would then work for 2 hours mid morning while the youngest napped and then 2 hours in the afternoon while they both napped and then an hour or 2 in the evenings.   Everyone knew my hours and booked meetings in those times.

My boss supported it as it worked for him as well.  He would often ring late afternoon and say can you spend a few hours doing a report, proof reading etc for a meeting first thing in the morning.

As they got older it was easy as I worked school hours and either early morning/at night.

I ended up moving to a job in the office as the line between work and home life became blurred.  I felt like I was never off work.

#46 just roses

Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:18 PM

Try it. Pick a random day and spend five hours at your computer on a work-like task and see what happens. Log how many times you get interrupted. Assess how difficult it is to refocus after an interruption. Be honest about how long it takes to work a solid 5 hours (hint: it will be a lot more than 5 hours).

It can be done ONLY if you’re able to work independently and across the day, rather than within a set five hour timeframe. My experience was that I had to work 20 hours a week, shared between home and office. Work at home was when DD was asleep or late at night when everyone was asleep. I learned very quickly that trying to work when she was awake was a pathway to tears and frustration for both of us.

#47 Mands09

Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:39 PM

ETA- I should preface this by saying DH and I run a business and I do the back-end functions so I don’t have a ‘boss’ to answer to as such.

Over the last 5 years I have. Kids are 6, 4 and 18 months. I try to not take phone calls because my 4 year old starts screaming at me ‘I want the phone, I want to say hello’ despite everything I have tried and been doing it since he was born.... my computer has been smashed twice by the kids. At 18–24months they just seem to be attracted to the computer and want to ‘help’ so they mash the keyboard. I do all my emails on my phone instead now. I’m getting frown lines from always squinting at my phone.

I have a nanny 2 days a week but I’ve actually started leaving the house and running my errands on those days and attending any meetings I need to. Otherwise I basically work from8.30pm - 1.30am in between re-settling the 18month old.

The kids watch far too much tv. Any ‘good’ time they hve during the day where they are playing nicely is spent with me quickly working to get something done and then I’m left with all the feral/tired/hanger time to deal with.

So basically I juggle work aroaeound the kids not breaking my computer and then my interactions with them are all during their sucky moods. And I’m severely sleep deprived..

Edited by Mands09, 20 May 2019 - 07:40 PM.

#48 hills mum bec

Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:50 PM

I get that some people don’t like to put their kids in day care and would rather be at home with them but if you are trying to do paid work while you are at home with the kids then I would think that it would be more beneficial for everybody for them to be at day care.  I don’t see any benefit to them being at home when you would be distracted with work and not available to give them your full attention when needed.

I used to work from home.  It was my own business so I had flexibility but the kids still went to day care.  Working with them around was impossible.  Any work I couldn’t fit into the time they were at day care was done after they went to bed or on the weekend when DH was with them.

#49 Daffy2016

Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:52 PM

I work (in an office) four days. Last week I had to pitch in with an emergency task on the day I don’t normally work. I was able to do it while DD was napping, but of course she napped shorter than usual and I just managed to finish as she woke up.

I felt like I had no break that day and was (even) more tired and impatient than usual by the end of the day. No way would I do that every week.

Try daycare. You might be surprised and she enjoys it!

#50 NeedSleepNow

Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:58 PM

I’ve worked from home quite a bit with young children, although they have all been in daycare by 18 months. Unless your DD has additional needs, you would probably find she really thrives with the socialisation/stimulation, and nw activities, so that would be my first choice. However, I do think working from home (without help) can work well IF you can do the hours whenever you want. I would typically manage 1-2 hours when they were awake (broken up and mood dependent), 1-2 hours when they were asleep, and then I’d finish my work after DH got home, and then once they went to bed. If you are expected to do the 5 hours through business hours then I’d get a nanny for at least 3hrs, or use care.

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