I sorely underestimated how difficult it would be to work full time from home while caring for a newborn. I had recently gone full time with my business and was convinced that my sweet, perfect little girl would sleep like an angel and I’d be able to balance work-life, home-life and family-life. But I was clearly in denial, and was wearing way too many hats. Everything and everyone around me was suffering. It turns out I can’t do it all, and around the six month mark I hired a caregiver to watch Chloe in our home while I blissfully worked uninterrupted. It gave structure to my day, and for the first time in six months I had found an amazing balance with my home, work and family life.
We had a full time caregiver watching Chloe in our home until this past fall when she started a 2’s preschool class twice a week. I was hell-bent on working while she was in preschool, and dedicated to cutting my work-days in half. It worked for a really long time, but I didn’t anticipate how much parent involvement would be required, and I didn’t take into consideration sick days or school cancellations due to weather.
In September, Chloe caught her first “real” illness that required antibiotics, and earned herself a day or two at home. Then again in November, and in January the Polar Vortex made its way into town. She had school maybe 3 times that entire month, out of the 8 classes she should have had. I also didn’t know how much parent involvement there would be in her classroom. The Director and our handbook reviewed things like class parties, but didn’t disclose that parents had to attend the parties. We didn’t find out until a few weeks before the first party, when we were asked to sign up for a snack to bring to the party… that we’d also be attending. There was a Halloween party, a Christmas party, a Valentine’s Day party and a Mother’s Day Tea. I did know ahead of time that we had to accompany our kids on field trips, but didn’t realize how many there’d actually be. Throw in the snow delays (which meant she had school for an hour instead of two!) and cancellations, and I was spending more and more time staring at my computer late at night instead of during my normal business hours.
Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed participating in her classroom and having extra time with my Little Lady. But this rift in my schedule meant I was back to feeling like I was wearing too many hats and wasn’t making anyone happy.
Tomorrow is her last day of school and our caregiver starts next week for the summer. I’m looking forward to a little bit more structure and sanity! This school year has also made me reevaluate how I’ll handle things next fall. Chloe is enrolled in the 3’s program and will be going to school 3 days a week… and I’ll also have a newborn! After my maternity leave is over, our caregiver will come back (on the same days!) to watch both kids.
WAH parents — how do you juggle childcare? WOH parents – how do you handle all the sick days, snow days and school events?