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Comments

Kat

My feeling is that there are very few jobs that will allow us mums to work and take of young children simultaneously. Whenever my son was sick in his first year, I'd call in and tell my boss that I'd work from home but in reality, I got almost nothing done. I'd have to work madly in the morning, during nap times and when hubby came home. Now, if he's sick, I just take the day off. I don't feel it's fair to my son or to my boss otherwise (unless work is very quiet).

But I have to stress, this is in large part because of what I do at work. Like Mary said, there are certain types of jobs that lend themselves well to WAH with a child.

We also have a small living space and I know that spending a day cooped up at home is not my child's idea of fun. Maybe a run around the park for half an hour in the morning will help make Farah's daughter more amenable to quiet, unsupervised play at home afterwards. Similarly, some kind of outdoor play after naptime (or even an hour of playgroup if there's one nearly) might provide enough stimulation to keep her happy for the rest of the day.

As for unsupervised play, my son loves Thomas the Tank Engine so the railway set (setting up the tracks, watching the motorised train go around, hitting the train, demolishing the track, etc.) provides some quiet time for me. I'm also going to start putting his toys on rotation so that every week, he has "new" toys again. Maybe a daily rotation would work? (I'm not sure, I haven't tried it yet.)

Laura S.

Good suggestions, Kat!

The other issue here is that a 22-month-old isn't going to spend huge amounts of time playing alone. 20-30 minutes for a child that age is a long time, but for someone trying to get work done, that's not very long at all! Not only is she going to want to check in with her secure base (the parent), but she may need help, or she may want her mother to see what she's accomplished with her toys/activity. Even little interruptions like this are difficult when you need a chunk of time to concentrate, which is often why parents opt for the tellie!

The problem with the TV, however, is that it's a passive activity, rather than proactive. And, too much time in this kind of activity is not very good for a young brain that is pruning its abundance of neurons and wiring together foundational pathways. That's why the American Pediatric Association recommends that children under age 2 watch NO television (but we all know that's a very, very tough goal!). That's not to say a child is being "harmed if they're watching TV, we just want to ensure they're not watching too much of it.

hilary

I feel for you. I was in a similar situation last year when my son was turning 1 - at the time it felt like I was completely juggling things and to top it off I was required to be on conference calls from time to time. The truth is I was "boon doggling" with work b/c I could and I was trying to ride out a great situation (work and being at home) for as long as I could things changed and I'm know at home. I couldn't imagine doing it with a 2yr old- my son can sense when I'm halfway checked in etc. I would suggest maybe breaking up your days in half- so someone could come for 3-4 hrs and play Piper out at the park, walk around the block, etc- so that you both could be together the remainder of the day for "down time"

Good luck, you do earn a super mom award :)

tpon

I have the privledge of working from home, but I also have full-time care for my son... I recognized early that it wasn't going to be fair to anyone to be stretched so thin... If you don't want your child in daycare, but need a solution try having someone come to you. I get to be around and present and experience some of his day, but if my day is hectic and out of control, I have the flexibility to walk away and leave it in the capable hands of our nanny.

That said, I also understand that I am veyyr lucky to be able to afford the luxury. But we do have friends in the neighborhood who use college students (usually from the education dept.) with flexible class hours or a nanny share to give them blocks of time to focus on what needs to get done.

I do agree with Mary that you may find that you can be incredibly productive in less time, if you are able to focus.

kathrynaz

I echo Kat on this one. I work outside the home, but have a very understanding boss who lets me "work" at home when my son is sick. Ive tried doing this, but find it absolutely maddening to try to cram bouts of productivity into the 15 minute intervals that correspond to my toddler's attention span. So, on those days when I need to work at home, I wind up trying to cram my productive time into the hours between when my husband comes home and whenever I just drop from exhaustion! It just doesn't seem possible to serve either my son or my work when I try to do both!

I empathize with you on the whole t.v. thing... elmo and the wiggles are like crack cocaine for my son... He will watch transfixed for almost an hour... sometimes it is very tempting to just leave it on and get things done, but ack! Laura and Mary- Id love to see a post on t.v. and toddlers, because even those of us who "know" it is "bad," often find ourselves "resorting."

Heather

I work at home with my now 4-year-old and 3 1/2-month old daughters. I first started staying at home a year ago.

I hired a sitter to work 12 hours per week so that I could have a few 3-hour chunks of time to get a bunch of work done. This way, I knew she was entertained, and particularly in 3rd trimester of my pregnancy with her sister, got some good exercise.

My sitter quit shortly after my second daughter was born, so now my oldest is in daycare 15 hours per week. She enjoys going there, it is a homey environment where she has the opportunity to play outdoors with a lot of other kids. I've had to divide my day into 2 hour chunks, and I find that makes me most productive. This way, my daughters have play time with me, and during their quiet times, I get work done. I don't try and put in a 40 hour work week, I do between 20-25 hours.

The business of running the household also takes some time, but I try to incorporate that into our together time - my oldest daughter helps sort laundry, and helps by opening all the doors between the upstairs bedrooms and the basement. She holds the dust pan when I sweep the floors.

I love being with my kids. Sometimes it is a little unbalanced and we have days where I work a lot and my daughter watches a movie until she goes to daycare. Other days, I don't work, and she rides her bike, and we take walks or go shopping.

Anyway, sorry this is SO long. I just wanted to say that Laura's point about good daycare is exactly right for this WAHM of 2.

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