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As I take a laid-back approach to work (the work hard for a while, rest hard for a while model), I am wondering how that can work with a newborn.
Would staff be a help or a hiderance, depending upon their contract and their disposition?
If I had hired help to look after the newborn, how much time is realistically needed? Live-in? Working hours? Half days?
I'm a fairly modern person in terms of working practices and have no problem with most working environments and systems so long as the work gets done.
On the one hand it makes sense to have hired help for the newborn for all working hours, but on the other hand, work and child-raising have been combined in cottage industries for time immemorial and the work I do is, like most forum readers here, almost infinitely flexible.
Please give me all your advice, discouragement, encouragement, etc.
You'll be very blessed to enjoy the privilege of being with your baby those first precious years, seeing the first steps, when they first roll over, crawl and first sit up. Don't pass up the opportunity, you'll remember and treasure it for a lifetime.
Adapt - and if necessary, work some evening hours when mommy is home. The only issue I can foresee is if you have business calls, it might be distracting if the baby is crying in the background and you can't get off the phone. It also might "sound" strange to the person on the other end. See if you can schedule your phone hours for a certain set time, and if necessary you can hire a part time housekeeper to do work around the house, laundry, etc. and pick up the baby if she/he needs attention. There is a LOT of laundry with a new baby.
Get a bassinet or cradle or porta-crib to keep near where you work, and ENJOY!
HAHAHA! Thank you for that belly laugh. Please tell that to my 4.5 month old, who only recently has been able to sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch, with looooong periods of cranky wakefulness in between. Honestly, for the first three and a half months I could barely put her down in order to answer two or three emails a day (nevermind my own sleeping and eating needs).
I think it depends on what kind of newborn you have. Some babies are really low maintenance and you can get tons done while they sleep or quietly entertain themselves. Others are bottomless pits of need and sap every possible resource from the primary caregiver, leaving him or her with nothing left for "work."
I highly recommend a 9 to 5 nanny (or whatever hours most suit your prime working time), if you truly want to remain productive. That way you have consistent, in-home childcare, and you can hang out with the baby as little or as much as you'd like during the day when you take breaks, knowing that you can simply hand them back to the nanny when it's time for you to get back to work.
[edited by: Hawkgirl at 3:08 am (utc) on May 1, 2007]
If you don't want to consider taking at least the first month off while you get into a routine and get the lie of the land with your new one, then I'd seriously recommend taking on that full time nanny for that first month - by that stage you'll have an idea of your young'uns personality and schedule, and be able to decide how your work can fit around that.
Because... believe me... you will be fitting the work around the baby... not the other way around.
here is why
Half of your work you doing at present will be done by the baby itself :)
You shall be totally tension free from your present work
You shall be busy in other important work all the time with baby :)
enjoy your time , its golden period you shall be able to manage everything without any issues
When our kids got to be a little older, then they went to preschool in the morning and napped in the afternoon so it was easier to get other things done. We also hired neighborhood kids to come over and play with them when we were home just so we could get things done around the house.
You may be able to shift your work time around the baby's schedule - but you won't be able to determine that til you meet the new little person.
During the baby years: I've nursed babies while speaking to clients on the phone, done programming with the bassinet next to my desk, made extensive use of baby monitors. More recently, I walked outside to take a call, since it was quieter out there. On top of this I've been interrupted countless times. The best interruptions are when you daughter brings you flowers and a kiss - or when your son shares his latest turtle catching adventure. That said, 10+ years later, my advice is be flexible. :)
Just to throw in a silly idea... since I plan to be hiring staff, would it be totally unreasonable and out-of-line to put playing with and changing the baby into the general additional responsibilities of everyone?
I've been told by a relative that you get about four months of the baby being quite passive and sleeping a lot, after which they demand a lot of time and attention.
Also... is it true that girls cause more trouble as babies than boys?! The previous post seems to support this.
Any tips anyone might have would be 100% appreciated. I just got one of those Moses baskets which can be put next to the desk, and am getting a second-hand baby monitor.
Launch is T-4 months so I have time to plan...
Thing is, you don't want your staff to play with the kid, you will want to keep it all for yourself. You will have an emotional tie to the kid, they won't.
Let's just say the skillsets for each requirement are contradictory, good web developers aren't necessarily good child-minders, and vice-versa. :)
Are boys easier? Not in my experience. My son slept through the night (6 hours straight) for the first time when he turned two years old. ;)
the first while changes quickly, just as you get set on something the kid will mess it up, the nature of children ;)
you can do it, I have some trouble with my almost 3 yr old but she has some extra needs, my time has to be a little more fluid, which it can be. It is difficult to find large chunks of time, upwards of 2 hrs solid, but aside from that it works.
We get to hang out whenever and she is getting much better at playing if I am busy "not right now Daddy is working, I will play with you after Dora is done". As long as I make timeframes that she can understand and stick to them as much as possible then it all goes very well.
Newborns, should be ok, not too sure about staff being around but I get paranoid sometimes. As bunltd said, make your schedule around the baby. It blows my mind how many people don't this even though they think they do and you can watch them struggle and fight it and get more and more tired.
Don't think it to death, just see how it goes, you can make arrangements if you find things are too difficult. Be happy you have the opportunity to spend the time with the little one, a lot of people don't.
I can guarantee one thing, it won't work anywhere near how you think it will, but that doesn't mean it won't work. ;)
As bunltd said, make your schedule around the baby. It blows my mind how many people don't this even though they think they do and you can watch them struggle and fight it and get more and more tired.
Yes! It's not so much about schedules by the clock, as it is about having a routine and consistency. Kids love the consistency, then they know what to expect - and even a baby gets this. For a new baby, it might go something like this: "I wake up, then I get changed, then I eat, then we play, then I sleep." Even now, at 5 & 10, my kids expect a routine - and it makes a difference in the whole family's sanity. Having the routine will also let you have some idea of when your best time for work will be, well, it worked for us. :)
Don't think about it too much - enjoy the journey, parenting is definitely a learn as you go position. Kids are an incredible amount of work, but they are so worth it.
My husband and I had sort of thought that our baby would kinda fit in with our lives... we wouldn't have to change too much. Yeah right! :)
Boys can certainly be as difficult as girls! Right from the start our son slept very little and for very short periods. In fact, to get him to sleep most nights we had to walk the streets with him in his pram for an hour or two, just so he would fall asleep and we could drop exhausted into bed for a couple of hours before... yep, awake again! Ready to go! What are we doing now?! :)
At about 3 months old he stopped having daytime naps at all, and the night time wakefulness continued, sleeping only 1-2 hours at a time. He also tended to be cranky and demanding a fair bit in the day time, as he wasn't really getting enough sleep. But he obviously thought sleeping was a waste of time, and he had better things to explore and discover. :) He was such a bright inquisitive little boy, and apparently this kind of sleep pattern is often found in very bright children. Even at the moment of his birth he was inquisitive... there was no burst of crying like most babies... he just opened his eyes wide and turned his head around looking at the world, laying there on my chest where the doctor had placed him. It was like he was saying "So, this is the world I've heard so much about. Where do I start?" Places to go, things to do... no time for sleep or silly baby things. :) :) 12 years later, and it's still the same, although he does sleep through the night now. :)
But then, I've known people whose babies have slept peacefully most of the time, and required much less input of time and attention.
So... play it by ear I guess.
I would suggest having a nanny at least in the beginning, if you have the option. I wish we could have had one! You can still do as much as you want to... and make sure you do, so that you can bond and share the development and special moments... but she/he will be there to help out as you learn the ropes and give you time to delight in the discovery of this new little person, as well as get some work done!
As for asking staff to help out with the baby as part of their general duties... some employees may feel this is not an appropriate request for someone who isn't specifically employed as a child carer, and may resent it. Also, some people don't like babies, or are terrified of handling them for fear of dropping or hurting them. And some people just aren't much good with handling babies. Many will have had no experience with babies, and may not provide the attitude or care that your baby deserves. I see nothing wrong with the idea in theory, as long as the people you hire are people who love babies and are thrilled with this being a part of their job. And there are probably many people who would enjoy that. Just make it absolutely clear what is expected. However, you'd probably be better with an actual nanny, or at least someone who is experienced with caring for babies, at least to start with.
Good luck and congratulations! Keep us up to date with how things progress... and introduce us to your little one when the time comes!
or are terrified of handling them for fear of dropping or hurting them.
That sure is true.
Just to throw in a silly idea... since I plan to be hiring staff, would it be totally unreasonable and out-of-line to put playing with and changing the baby into the general additional responsibilities of everyone?
I think you might meet some heavy resistance on that one. Now, I'm not the type to accept employment, but I used to apply for jobs now and then a long time ago. If I were applying for a job as X, I would probably not like the idea of baby care being slipped in. I know you'd say so up front, but I'd just think it was weird. The exception might be if you were working me so hard, that baby care felt like a vacation. "Hey, I'll play with the baby while you guys finish digging that ditch."
I'd say you'll get better staff by making them understand that part of your responibility is the baby.
As for asking staff to help out with the baby as part of their general duties... some employees may feel this is not an appropriate request for someone who isn't specifically employed as a child carer, and may resent it.
That too. I've known people to get resentful of getting coffee for a boss.
Regardless, I think you should be VERY careful about mixing this aspect of your family life with your employment of staff, for child-safety and staff-respect reasons.
Any though I generally enjoy looking after children, not everyone does so at all, and I wouldn't while trying to concentrate.
and for the other - the hours I have spent at the desk with the baby asleep in the pram beside me. To be able to stick one foot out and rock the pram while continuing work - bliss :)
You might also find that if you having kids around means that your employees have the flexibility to bring kids in on school holidays, or when childcare breaks down (*not* when they are sick, if you have your own around!) gives you that little edge in hiring :)
I recall presenting a case in court where teh defendent brought in her young child must have been 18 months old any this 'thing in a nappy' kept trying to climb over the judges table in chambers.
He was trying to be restrained he was really! You should have seen the look on his face.
The first three months are critical between parent and child because the newborn is not done "cooking" yet, even though he/she is out of the oven. There are still other things developing in terms of how it digests food, feels, sees, hears, etc.
Take a birthing class or five
Possibly the best thing you can do before the child is born is to seek out a well reviewed class on the birth process and dealing with newborns. A good teacher will also be able to tell you about the good and bad birthing practices of the local hospitals. Definitely check out several hospitals and take their walk-throughs and ask lots of questions.
Definitely educate, educate, educate yourself before having the baby so you will be an informed parent. I found that a lot of what my family and friends told us was not always the best advice.
A good teacher will put you through pain management exercises like dumping your hand in a bucket of ice water for x amount of seconds, will teach the fathers how to respond to mothers during child birth in order to give them the feedback, caresses, hand holding, vomit bag duty etc. that they need. Fathers have a role to play, you don't just send the mother into an operating room with your best wishes. A good teacher will show you dozens of films showing actual child births and will discuss many different scenarios so that after the classes you will feel more knowledgeable about what is about to happen. A good teacher will go into depth about the importance of breast feeding and how to go about it. Our classes were something like a six week course meeting three times a week and a couple times on weekends. I can't imagine how fearful and out of control we would have felt without having taken those classes.
We took several classes. We took a birthing class, we took a breast feeding class, first aid class, we even took a class that went over the basics on diaper changing. Later on we took a class on Baby Signs.
You may even want to hire a Dula to be there at the beginning and a few post-birth follow-ups to help you along. Our dula helped out tremendously with keeping us calm and wiping up the pre-birth vomit etc.
Mommy support groups
Post-birth your wife may want to consider joining a local mommies support group where she can discuss issues going on with the kid. It's a good way to find like-minded people and even friends. My wife found a very good friend this way and three years on our kids get together once a week and our families get together for evenings or days out every once in awhile. After the support group it will be great to look for a play group for kids your age, usually by the time they're around six months old. We've picked up good friends this way too, and three years out our families are socializing and the moms have each other for support. We even have a vacation planned this summer with one of the families we met from play group.
There tends to be a misunderstanding or a loss of understanding about the role and importance played by breast feeding. Definitely don't let breast feeding fall by the side due to convenience etc. Breast feeding is hugely important to newborns and infants, up to age two. A side benefit is the baby liposuction effect to mothers (helps get rid of those extra pounds). Breast feeding calms the baby down, helps infants and toddlers get over pain, as well as get them to sleep. Breast feeding played a huge role in my daughter's first two years. I accidentally stepped on her foot last year and she was crying like crazy until she hit the breast and five minutes later she was running around the room as mischivous as ever as if nothing had happened: it works that well for calming and soothing as well as nutrition and keeping them healthy with antibodies passed from mother to child.
Why am I talking about breast feeding? Because where is mommy going to be post birth? After the first three months she can go back to work but she'll probably want to purchase a breast pump to keep the milk coming. It's a pain but it's the only way to juggle maintaining the flow of milk while at work. The extra milk is then refrigerated then heated the next morning and afternoon for the baby while mom's at work.
Hiring a nanny to take care of the kid is a huge process. Don't hire someone who is economically forced to take care of children. Hire someone who does it because they choose to care for children. Interview, interview, interview. Discuss how they deal with crying children, discuss different scenarios etc.
Spend enough time at the local playground and you will be shocked by the neglect some of the nannies show to the children they are supposed to caring for. And I'm talking about kids walking away toward the sidewalk while the nanny is chatting with their friends and an infant who is crying alone in their stroller, probably because they have a poopy diaper. My wife actually witnessed one nanny who was asleep on the grass while the infant was crawling around on the playground unattended. I would never hire someone who is a nanny for economic reasons. Don't cheap out, this is a person who is going to be shaping your child's experience of the world.
We interviewed around ten different nannys and settled on a wonderful woman with many years experience. She's an artist type who was on top of our attachment parenting method of raising the child. We receive nothing but positive responses from activity leaders that encounter our daughter in the various day activities we send them to and from mommies who know our daughter that encounter them at the various indoor and outdoor playgrounds and play spaces.
Happiest Baby on the Block series of books as well as the Dr. Sears attachment parenting books have been invaluable in developing a strategy with dealing with the challenges of raising a newborn/infant/toddler.
Doing this parenting thing is way hands on. And there are many approaches to it. Definitely do your homework before you have the baby, then do more homework so you can find your own best way from an informed position. As far as babies in the workplace is concerned, the baby has to be out of the workplace. I can't see focusing on both simulataneously.
But, one thing to take note is not all mothers can breastfeed. It may not be convinced based,it may be medical on the part of the child/mother or both.(I am not talking about nipple confusion or other common problems)Medical issues commonly get misdiagnosed and parents who are already tired from a newborn;can not find the help. There is plenty of ways to provide a child the perks of Breastfeeding without the milk. Slings, provide that attachment as well as using Supplemental Nursing Systems (either by using the tubes with bfmilk or formula).This allows the baby to have the same attachment and comfort. If the mother does skin on skin the sling is not even needed.
In regards to antibodies, if the child can bf for the first month that is enough for the first year of life. According to doctors who are pro Bfing.
If you are looking to breastfeed great, if not that is ok too.Whatever works best for you and your baby. :) It was common practice to not breastfeed since the mid 40's up until late 90's. Even still to this day because of the amount of Formula Fed vs Breastfeeders laws are just changing now.
(Again, please do not take this as a pro/con post. Just informational.)
After the support group it will be great to look for a play group for kids your age, usually by the time they're around six months old.
I would also agree that some kind of play group, part time day care or preschool is really important. We had some friends where the dad stayed home while the mom worked. It worked out well for the parents, but the dad never joined any play groups because they were usually all organized by moms or and he also didn't put the kids in any other kind of social setting like preschool where they could be with other kids their own age. When the kids got to grade school they did well academically but had a really hard time making friends because they had no experience at it. Even as they got older they still had problems fitting in - I suspect because the other kids in school had a several year head start in developing social skills.
Hawkgirl, please see the site TOS when talking about the site owners:
>>>>># Always be respectful of other users, the system, and the moderators.
I work from home with my spouse - who also looks after our children through the day. The understanding we have is that my first responsibility 9-5 is work, her first responsibility is the kids 9-5. Within that framework I occassionally take breaks to be with the kids. Within that framework my spouse also takes breaks when she can to do 'work'. But those are the priorites, I believe you'll find they work well. If the kids need attention, they come first. If there's work to be done, but the kids demand attention, the natural inclination is to get stressed. When you prioritize it like we do, we know what comes first and don't worry about 'work'. Work comes when the kids allow for it. In other words, the kids are the 'work' and are prioritized.
In short, looking after the kids is a job, an important on, and we prioritize it as such. They come before billing or sending emails or whatever. If you think about it, it doesn't make much sense to do it the other way around.
I admit I struggled with taking time off here and there to be with the kids. I eventually prioritized as well and now don't sweat it if I take 15-20 minutes away from the computer to do something with them. I won't always take a 1-2 hour break through the day (because my main job is still 'work' 9-5) but I don't worry about it. It's one of the joys you have of being self employed in this business. Taking a few minutes to administer a bandaid or play a quick game is a luxury you can well afford - if you take the time.
Not sure how staff fit in there though. Regular employees might find children a bit distruptive. The right ones might not though, if they've got similiar types of flexibility which it sounds like you're on top of anyway.
I took about 18 hours off (for labor/delivery and recovery) with my first baby -- literally left the hospital and went straight back to the office because there was no internet connection in the birthing suite and I knew I had a ton of voicemails accumulating.
I took 2 weeks off after the birth of my second child, but I was able to check mail and do work from the hospital and from home the whole time, so I didn't get behind at all.
I kept my first baby with me at the office most of the time, and it was easy and great until she was loud and mobile. Then we expanded our office space and made one of the new backrooms a baby room and hired a girl to come to the office and mind the baby during the day. In case we had meetings or phone calls, etc. It was a huge help.
My S.O. was a SAHD with the second baby, and he got next to nothing done during the day. Cleaning much around the house was a miracle, though he was very good about keeping the dishes and laundry done. He totally couldn't do anything work related. He was very good with the baby though... carried him around in the Baby Bjorn until he was too big for it, was very cuddly and hands on.
My grandmother used to come over two days a week to play with the baby while he caught up on cleaning and email and whatever else he could squeeze into the few hours he had to himself while grandma was there.
I think if he had actually wanted to be able to get any work done during the day, we really would have needed to hire a nanny.
To answer your specific questions, staff specifically to help your newborn and support the parents, can be wonderful if you find the right people and can afford it. As someone said earlier, each child is so individual, you'll have to make the acquaintance with your little one first- before getting a good sense of what your working hours might be, independent of help. But yes, you can make it work, given the flexibility and also the ability to bring on good caregivers at the right times.
I've found my son to be much more demanding in his first 2 years than my daughter has been these past 6 months. While I did take an extended break from work (and I work from home), I found that having assistance for at least several hours per day (anywhere from 3-5 hours)- allowed me to work on client projects and handle calls (without fear of being interrupted and still conveying that professional appearance throughout). Sleep's important, too!
I don't know (and wouldn't presume) about your priorities- or your wife's. But mine are family and children first, then my business. So my work tends to be structured around their needs (though time, being what it is- there's never *enough* play time for my son, and that's just life). I also found that raising my prices and being very selective about my clients (and the projects I took on) didn't hurt me.
I served many extended tours of duty as a WAHM&F, taking care of 2 children and mom, when she wasn't well, whilst attending to a law practice and an inchoate web business.
All it required of me was a fierce commitment, a willingness to work 112 hours a week, a willingness to sometimes "shut the door" so I could get things done, a capacity to multi-task, great planning ability, flexibility despire planning, cooperation others who were made aware of my circumstances, honesty in working with others ("Here's my situation . . ") and a few other qualities.
In retrospect I did what I had to do in order to be myself. If we are prepared to lay down own lives for children - jumping in the path of the proverbial bus - then anything less that life demands of us, as a parent, is a walk in the park, isn't it? I mean, if you'd jump in front of a bus for you son/daughter then attending to the 2d or 3rd poopie diaper call of the night is small stuff by comparison, right?
You just have to keep things in context and perspective, which may include training or only accepting clients who understand and accept the circumstances and demands of your life.
The most sanguine guidance I can offer to anyone contemplating having children or about to have children is to ask themselves the following question: Am I ready, willing and able to make the next (middle) 25 years of my life not about "me" but, instead, about the children and their interests?
A couple that undertakes that perspective on life - that "the next 20-25 years of my/our life do not belong to me/us" - as a voluntary act - finds that raising children is no real burden, no source of deprivation - just a choice - to do or not do whatever is called for to bring your child into adulthood as a adulthood-ready person. The "this time is about them, not me/us" context is also great dismantle-er of conflict. "I volunteered for this. I am not resentful of giving up or not having or having to do (whatever)."
I strongly recommend the dialogue with your wife to be. Make it concrete. I say this, in part, as an attorney who has seen the fallout of so many failed marriages where "I" or "me" became more important than "them" - their children. It is something to always hold onto and to guide you. It is also something to reflect upon when confronted with "an opportunity" that might pull you away from your family and parenthood. I've seen all manner of trouble where "me" rose up in the form of "my career advancement". Get that nailed down, too, early on. Life can be pretty good without the trappings and emblems of success. You may just need to validate that before starting off on the journey of child raising.
P.S. Sorry for all of the above if it's just not responsive to what you are going through and has expanded the issue beyond your original intent.