I am thumb-typing this blog post with my left thumb while a baby sleeps on me. And that’s basically everything you need to know about time management from the perspective of working moms — especially the ones who work at home and have small babies.
The problem with balancing work and parenting is that it’s impossible, at least in a country that doesn’t subsidize childcare or offer maternity leave or meaningful financial help for families. Your choices are basically:
- Someone, most often mom in hetero couples, stays home. You miss out on her earnings in the short-term and take a financial hit for years after when she returns to work and gets mommy-tracked.
- Both parents work full-time. You pay for childcare, which will most likely cost more than either your rent/mortgage or a college education.
- One or both parents goes part-time and you either pay for a bit of childcare or stagger shifts. You are poor and/or never see each other or spend time together as a family.
We chose the last one. We’re lucky, in that Adam works three 12-hour days a week and I’m a freelancer, so I have flexibility. We’re not lucky, in that making this work means that I’m often at my desk at midnight or (mom of the year here!) plunking my six-month-old down in front of Netflix so that I can squeeze in half an hour of work.
When I was pregnant and people asked about my childcare plan and I told them about our alternating schedule, everyone agreed that I was insane. However, childcare for an infant costs about $400 a week where we live and we just don’t have $1200 extra dollars a month.
Plus, it took me years to get this baby. I’m not bagging on childcare at all but I’d like to spend as much time as possible with her, now that I have her.
So, for the foreseeable future, we’re just going to be pretty tired.
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