WFH without childcare: Top tips for making it work

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Being able to work from home during the pandemic is a privilege, but with many schools and childcare facilities closed, you may be saddled with the Sisyphean task of being a full-time employee on top of a full-time parent. Read on for some reassurance and solidarity from members who are handling the juggling act—PLUS some tips on navigating conversations around remote work with your manager.

 

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Looking for tips specific to returning to remote work after parental leave? Click here to skip to that section!

 

Looking for tips on working from home with two kids? Click here to skip to that section!

 

 

First of all, as New York continues to reopen, you may be grappling with your company’s return-to-office requirements. If you’re wanting to continue working remotely even after your office reopens, we have some tips on navigating conversations with the higher-ups, courtesy of awesome PSP member Allie Schwartz.

  • Start as early as possible; don’t wait until they say they want everyone back in the office. If you wait, there’s more urgency and less time for thoughtful consideration around what’s best for each employee. Plus, if you bring it up proactively, you can frame the conversation as you raising the topic in advance because you care about your job and want to promote open communication.

  • It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to create broad policy change, but managers may be open to making exceptions for employees they have a good relationship with. If you start the conversation with your manager now (or with another manager or an HR rep, if your relationship with your direct supervisor leaves something to be desired), they can advocate on your behalf with the higher-ups.

  • Finding a new employee is extremely expensive and time-consuming. There’s a lot of value in keeping an employee who is already trained and has the institutional knowledge. Try to play this card—talk about how you’ve been producing high-level work remotely, and continuing this way would allow you to create the most value you can in light of your caregiving needs and responsibilities.

  • Put out feelers to find out who else in the company is dealing with this question; then you can approach the employer together as a voting bloc. Also, if others are allowed to work remotely but a caregiver is not, then that’s discriminatory.

Ultimately, if your employer doesn’t respect your needs and your value enough to create an arrangement that works, then you may choose to go elsewhere. We Work Remotely, Built In NYC, AngelList, remote.co, remote.io, and The Muse have lots of remote job listings. You can also filter for remote work when job-hunting on LinkedIn, and search #remotejob and #remotework on Twitter.

 

 

If you’re partnered, sticking to a clear schedule and division of labor can be a lifesaver:

 

“I think the biggest factor in surviving is having a partner who is willing to work equally. Yes, I am one of those straw-feminists who divides everything mathematically 50-50, and I feel great about it. The simplest metric IMO rather than divvying tasks is quantifying your time. X hours of work time in a day, and idealistically Y hours of rest time but I know that is zero at that age, but if your husband has any rest time whatsoever then that means you get some too. 

 

Right now, my husband and I have roughly settled on a schedule where I schedule all my meetings in the morning & sequester myself in my office, then in the afternoon I come out of my office and work on my laptop on the couch. I try regularly to say okay what's working about the schedule, how are we deviating from the schedule. Obviously with a little baby there is no real schedule but you can still schedule who's on duty for what.”

 

“I have a very very helpful partner.  As a team we structured our time. Even though he works full time and runs his own company, he stayed home the days that I taught, came home early on days when i had a deadline, did all the dishes always, took on tons of baby tasks as his own (bathing, cutting nails, mixing formula). I did not have to micromanage and plan his activities and chores.  We both knew what to do. this is probably the key to how it all worked. note:  your partner can also get paid family leave.  for the sake of society men should also  take PFL. You don't have to take it all in one chunk.  My husband took it one day a week. in this quarantine time, I have heard of other couples where mom takes morning care and dad takes afternoon care . make it fair!!!”

 

“I wish I could tell you we had some magical formula for what to do, but we don't. What ended up working for us was this: 

 

- I woke at 4am to pump (I have a low supply and had to keep up the 4am pump in order to supplement during the day). After I pumped, I did a few hours of work before the baby woke up and then took the morning shift to watch/deal the baby. During this time I was able to respond to emails but not really do substantive work. 

- My husband woke up at 9 or 10, made breakfast, and worked until 1 or 2 pm. 

- I then did a few more hours of work, and stopped at 5pm to make dinner while my husband put the baby to sleep

- After dinner, he stayed up till 12, 1, or 2 am getting work done. 

 

And repeat.”

 

“Hello, we’re lucky to have flexible hours at the moment, and we’ve found we can just about make it work by spreading those hours over seven days / week. I work 7am-noon, and my husband works 1pm-6pm. We eat meals together, and we usually both work again in the evenings. I go to bed early and he stays up late.”

 

 

"It depends on how demanding/flexible both of your jobs are. we did this throughout the spring and summer (summer wasn't learning but still keeping our 2yo and 6yo engaged and occupied, same difference). here was our setup, with both parents having full time jobs, working remotely from home:

wakeup-12:30 - I went straight to the office room (our bedroom) and locked the door. Dad was responsible for both kids (2yo and 6yo) - breakfast, get dressed and school for 6yo (she was in K last year, 5yo then, 1st grade this year). 

12:30-6 - I (mom) come down from office and make lunch for everyone, dad goes to office (our bedroom) to work. I put the 2yo for nap, 6yo watches tv. when i'm done putting little guy to nap, we have a quiet 1-1.5hrs and I finish any schoolwork that dad didn't do with her in the morning. at 4pm, i take them both outside for a walk and come back, start dinner and dad joins us when he's done - 6ish.

6-8 family time, dinner, bedtime.

8-9 cleanup, chores, etc.

9p-midnight - both work.

sometimes i would take calls during my time with kids or we trade an hour here or there. 

...

short answer - doable, but how long depends on your mental/physical strength and you will burn out. helps if either/both jobs allow you to work at your own pace and not too many scheduled calls/meetings."

 

 

Create a clear division between “work time” and “family time”:

 

“I found that when [my child] was up I had to either attend to her needs or involve her in household chores.  She is not helpful with typing ... but she is helpful/fun with cooking laundry cleaning etc.  I found she took better and longer naps if I did stuff actively with her while she was awake. I'd keep a list and get on it the second she fell asleep. no time for social media tho. no lie, the list often got really long. My work is project based and less scheduled. so this worked.”

 

 

Although you might also find success strapping baby to your body while you work:

 

“baby wearing.  I found she was happy as a clam when she was tiny if i just wore her all the time to do everything.  I got tons done with her strapped to my body.”

 

“We've never been able to manage this successfully, but having ended up having to "finish up" things at work with the first two kids during my leaves, and now, with the third (age 6 weeks) trying to plan for the unknown future, the one thing that has really helped beyond everything that was already mentioned is an improvised standing desk.  You put the baby in a carrier and a folding tray on top of your desk, with your laptop on it (I have an IKEA folding tray).  For a few months you might get 30 minutes at a time to work while standing,  A high countertop can serve this purpose as well.”

 

“baby wearing is huge and helpful. Once baby is big enough to be worn on the back, I did a bunch of babywearing on the back with my laptop on our mantle. Front works too. Often standing was easier for me.”

 

 

Find ways to keep baby occupied while you’re on calls and in meetings:

 

“On days I have video calls, I shower in the morning and put my baby in a Bumbo seat on the bathroom floor and play peek-a-boo. I have a bright, colorful shower curtain that he likes looking at and keep it partly open.

 

Today I put the rainbow doughnut tower on top of our robot vacuum cleaner and faced my baby in that direction in the Bumbo and he amused himself for a long time. 

 

I also put on Debbie Brukman's music class ( ) while he's in his crib and he just stares at her and smiles and wiggles for 30 min. I pick him up and dance with him for a little but then he entertains himself after that.”

 

“I picked up an exersaucer at the clothing swap and it's been a life saver. I have my laptop in the living room and put my son in the exersaucer so he can see me while I'm working. I find that if I just talk to him when he's in it, I can usually get a bunch of emails written before I need to pick him up/play with him. It breaks my heart to leave him in the exersaucer, entertaining himself, but I try to console myself that it would be worse for all of us if I wasn't working.”

 

“My first loved Baby Einstein she would watch if for as long as I would let her. It’s free on Amazon Prime. Just throwing it out there as a suggestion that might buy all of you working from home parents some time here and there.”

 

“I do expect as work really amps up I'll be on more evenings after he goes to bed and maybe some weekends. He does love his Babybjorn bouncer and Lovevery activity mat so I usually get some time to do things when he's on those...I am sort of (but not really) ashamed to admit I have put him in front of TV to buy myself 20 minutes of time before...baby Einstein or Mickey mouse club did the trick...but that's a personal choice of course.”

 

“I just went back to work last week and am trying to figure it out myself!  I have the Baby Bjorn Bouncer which helps, got an attachment for it (the Tiny Love Meadow Days Sunny Stroll Stroller Arch you can find on amazon and it’s cute) and my 4 mo daughter can sit in it and bat the hanging bee while I pump (i exclusively pump and the ziploc hack for storing your pump parts in the fridge is a game changer!) or check emails in the couch for a good 20-30 minutes before I take her out. She might be able to stay in longer but then I feel a little guilty leaving her in there for too long.”

 

 

 

Reconfigure your apartment to suit your needs:

 

 

I've been home with my 6 yo since March. While I only have one kiddo, it's been interesting to navigate the best arrangement for 'work space' vs. 'living space' in our cozy 2bdrm. In short a floating work station in each room has been our go-to. Not sure how much this more detailed account will help your situation with 2 little ones...but for better or worse here's what has helped in my world:

 

Keep bedrooms as bedrooms--this way any kiddo and/or adult that needs to sleep can do so without interruption (regardless the time of day). I do a lot of writing with my work and get a good amount done late at night, while my husband is an early bird; we really couldn't survive without having 2 separate workstations. For us, this is our dining room table and a corner desk in my bedroom. My kiddo has a 3rd makeshift space in his room. It's a nice setup for all things Zoom, but he always does miles better with 'work' when he's at the table with me or my hubby...or even if he's on my bed with his iPad. Even if both adults are focused on working, he plugs in his headphones and gets to task much better this way. I think it's just hard for kiddos this age to get to work in their rooms...supervision, even if passive (and mostly just physical proximity!), has helped my little guy.

 

It takes some juggling, but in our apartment my bedroom has been designated the 'quiet' work room. So if one of us has an important meeting or phone call, that person gets the bedroom... the door can be closed for some real separation, and for the most part my kiddo understands not to barge in (took a few months, ha!)

 

Since we have one child, his room has been designated the 'play and make noise' space---but of course, he doesn't do so great playing independently in there and just craves being in the same room as us. So essentially, if me or my husband do work in the living room it's with the understanding that we'll have to wear headphones....or take turns working in the 'quiet office' (bedroom)."

 

 

"We moved our bed to the living room, got a loveseat to replace the LR couch, and moved the couch to the bedroom, which is now the nursery/playroom/office. If our kid is sleeping, we both work from the living room. If our kid is up, he’s either in the nursery or outside (until he starts daycare next week which we decided to do because this set-up won’t be tenable once the weather is bad, and it’s a stretch even now).

 

The hardest part is that the most comfortable work station is in the nursery, and the calmest work time is when he’s sleeping, at which time we can’t be in the nursery. So if you’re configuring work space now, I’d consider that."

 

Plan naptimes strategically:

 

“This is controversial, but we have never put her to bed at 7 like other babies. this is because i really really really appreciate a nice long nap in the middle of the day for getting work done during 9-5hrs.  i know that some people really appreciate the after 7pm work time.”

 

“got a solid nap game plan...ours is using the snugabunny swing as a crutch which buys us 3-4 hours of great naps plus results in a happier daytime baby...till we're ready to nap train that is, we're still on night sleep training”

 

 

 

Think through the realities of the situation in order to plan for contingencies and create sustainable solutions:

 

“How have your employers handled childcare policies for other parents? Are they reducing expectations for parents of young kids? Does that come with pay cuts? Are your jobs meeting-heavy where you need to be available to other people? Is your job "flexible" - meaning you still need to put in full time hours, but it's ok if it's happening at 10pm or on weekends? Do not discount the importance of needing time to unplug, time to yourself, time to be a couple. Will you be stressed out that you're not working when you're on your ‘shift’ with the baby? 

 

What's your baby like, so far? Are they on a pretty regular schedule? Can you handle it if (and when!) that changes? Are you going to breastfeed? It's easier to schedule specific times and block them out to pump than it is to nurse on demand. If you're going to breastfeed/pump, what does a ‘fair’ split with your husband look like?”

 

 

Be transparent with your employer and coworkers:

 

“This advice only works if your employer is a reasonable and decent human being, but if so I think it probably applies. All we really want to know is (1) what can we expect, and (2) are you operating in good faith. Be transparent with your arrangements and your routines. I get anxious when I don't hear from an employee but when they say "ugh I'm so sorry my baby xyz" I'm like "oh right ok". We just want to be kept in the loop and to know that you can fulfill your obligations. Its okay to say "I don't know if I can handle that right now" and is much worse to take on more than you can handle because then you start making other people anxious.”

 

“I have found that for the most part, people are understanding if they hear my son in the background. I usually start my calls by saying, I'm working from home so you might hear my baby (knowing full well that of course they are going to hear him, I'm holding him three inches from the phone and I can only press mute so quickly!) I find that it usually gets people to start talking about their kids/families so then they’re more focused on their own issues than my son.”

 

“-When someone is being harsh in a meeting, turn the camera on and show the baby and they are suddenly nice!

-Get to a place of informality with your co-workers, if that's possible. Being able to call and have a chat can avoid so many emails or powerpoint decks.

-Make your primary role getting the people on your work team to get to a decision quickly. It will inevitably save you a lot of time. (If you have a team.)”

 

 

 

For folks just returning to work after parental leave, PSP members have advice on creating a smooth transition:

 

 

One member asks:

 

"I have a 7 week old and am going back to work (remotely) in November. I’m wondering if I should go back to work part time a little earlier for a week to adjust or what other considerations I should... consider when having a call with my employer.

Curious for advice from people who have done this during the pandemic. Both me and my partner work full time, remotely, and I’m breastfeeding."

 

 

Members respond...

 

"I recommend starting part time and easing in if possible. It does depend on how much flexibility you and your partner have with work and how understanding your colleagues are. 

 

I found that it took a while to coordinate with my partner on how to navigate when I could breastfeed during a call or when the milk needed to be warmed etc. The child may be used to being fed on demand and will be cranky at having to wait for milk and need to be soothed. My kid was good at first but then would cry during the calls. 

 

Also, going from being a full-time parent to a full-time schedule is likely also an emotional adjustment."

 

 

"I would recommend not going back to work early, if you don’t need to. It will be an adjustment either way, and that early time with your new baby can be so special and nice.

 

I do really recommend having a clear schedule/routine planned for when you do go back. This should take into consideration your pumping and bottle plans (if you are doing that) as well as who watches the baby when. This will be different for everyone but for me it really helped to know that I would pump first thing after getting up, work until 3:30, and then take over for baby care.

 

One suggestion I have: if you want to practice the transition a little bit before you do go back to work, you could block off part of the day from baby care and just do something else that you like to do. As a first time parent, I noticed that between working and taking care of my daughter I had a lot less time for reading, talking to friends, exercising, cooking etc. just other stuff that I like to do. It might be nice to budget time for some of that stuff before you start work again! Just a thought."

 

 

"I’m in the same boat - I returned to virtual full time work three weeks ago when my daughter was 16 weeks old. My husband is also at home working full time.

 

I’ve been ramping up my load gradually, so I don’t think spacing out my return would have made much of a difference. And in retrospect I’m also glad that I spent those last weeks enjoying my full time with the babe rather than split with work.

 

That said, a few weeks before I went back, we made a tentative game plan for how to make it all work - and this helped me feel less anxious about the return.

 

In case you’re looking for more tips — so far, I’ve been mostly handling mornings with the baby and my husband has been taking the afternoons (aside from when my calendar permits and I can breastfeed, which has worked out most of the time). So it’s just been a ton of calendar management, doing our best to align each day’s nap and feed/awake time schedule, and then some nighttime work if needed.

 

One last thing that’s been helpful for me to remember is the time in the day that I don’t spend commuting now. Basically 2-3 hours back for you to sleep, be with baby, work, workout, etc."

 

 

"A few quick thoughts:

 

-If you are pumping rather than feeding during the day (not sure what your childcare or your work schedule situation is), you might block it out in your schedule in advance at the same times every day both because it’s good for supply to pump at consistent times and because it will hold the time sacred for your colleagues and made it easier for them to coordinate with you.

 

-Same goes for your lunch break, which I spend with my baby (and then I eat at other times while I’m working).

 

-I was advised by a working parent friend not to go see my baby every time I took a bathroom break or grabbed a snack in the name keeping space for self-care. I have totally failed to do this but I’m passing it along in case it’s helpful advice for others.

 

-This next one, which I learned the hard way, is to try to work where I can’t hear my baby (in a room with a door shut and a white noice machine, for example). On the first day, I heard my kiddo have a bit of a meltdown and I ran out of a meeting to try to help her and my partner even though he was totally on top of it. Others may not experience this the same way I did, but I found it stressful to be able to hear her.

 

-Another thing: I don’t know how much flex you have in your schedule, but it could be helpful to ask your boss if you are able to occasionally free yourself up during the workday to do things like take the kiddo to the doctor without taking time off by making up the time/work outside the typical or official work day.

 

-It could also be helpful to ask your boss about some norms: could you wear a sleeping or quiet baby during a meeting? If you needed to hear info from a meeting but not actually participate, could you be a fly on the wall with your camera off and your sound muted so that you can pump or feed at the same time?"

 

 

"I had considered the same to go back part-time a week earlier, but I’m glad I didn’t. In my case, work is slower than when I took leave right at the beginning of the pandemic and I was given the time I needed the first week or more to catch up. My boss is also a mom and she said upfront, that whatever I needed to do to make it work in terms of flex hours and breastfeeding to just do.

 

So my work was incredibly supportive to allow me to adjust to being a working mom, plus working mom in a pandemic and working remotely full time! I am definitely still adjusting and it’s been almost 2 months, so going back a week earlier wouldn’t have been enough to adjust in my case. Every circumstance will be different!

 

And I had started pumping in the morning and once during the day to get my daughter a bottle but now I’m just breastfeeding for every feed. I was anxious about this, but it’s been easier to navigate than I anticipated, and became a nice break."

 

 

"Definitely practice breastfeeding your baby while they’re in the carrier! That way you can Zoom or type etc from the shoulders up. Wireless headphones are a must.

I use a beco carrier and loosen the strap on the opposite side from the breast I plan to use. I learned from this video."

 

 

Finally, whatever your situation may be, don't beat yourself up for making some compromises:

 

“My first daughter, I felt like I had to be occupying her and playing with her every moment. My second one I felt like I did not play with her enough due to the aforementioned work situation. I felt guilty for years but the truth is she loves playing by herself with her toys, drawing, she really is comfortable keeping herself occupied. I think there is a happy medium in there somewhere, but in any event my younger girl is a super super happy, smart, and well-adjusted girl - I don't think they really need as much attention as we think they do.

- Yes, it sucks. Those days are a blur for me. I had huge signs hung up around my house that said things like "BRUSH TEETH FIRST". I remember the mad scramble when they fall asleep like omg what do I do first okay I'm supposed to pump gotta check email gotta do the dishes, I have to eat, etc etc. Ugh. Remember it's temporary.”

 

“Ashamed to admit it, but I don't sterilize my pump parts daily. Maybe every 3 or 4 days. I rinse all the parts after every pump, and my baby is fine. And laundry only on weekends.”

 

“When it all goes to sh*t just remember that what you're trying to do is nothing short of heroic.”

 

 

Advice on working from home with two kids in the house from a February 2021 thread:

 

 

One member asks...

 

"I am moving back to Brooklyn next month with my two kids and husband. We were lucky to have my in-laws watch my 10.5 month old son and 4.5 year old daughter since I went back to work. Now it'll just be my husband and I. We both have jobs in tech industry, so we're able to work from home. I gave a heads up to my manager, and she’s completely understanding. I still need to figure out a shift schedule with my husband while I still have to take some meetings during the day. I'd imagine I would catch up with my work assignments during the evenings and some weekends.

 

I wanted to get advice from those who have had to deal with this since covid. I think it gets tricky when trying to take care of and watch a 11 month old infant, especially at this age since he’s crawling everywhere and will soon be walking. My 4.5 year old daughter is self-sufficient but still at that age where she gets upset if she doesn’t get what she wants right away. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and would appreciate some tips on how you made it work while still getting work done!"

 

 

Members respond...

 

"We had no help while both working from Feb to July 2020, with a toddler potty training and not the two kids we have now. It almost killed us. We switched on and off every 2hrs and our bosses got that schedule as it changed. We texted 'available/not available.' Each weekend we mapped out the conf calls and who had childcare.

 

I should mention our toddler doesn’t nap now and didn’t then either. We both started at 6 and we’re still going at midnight. I don’t think it’s a long term strategy; I highly recommend childcare help. Sending the toddler back to school in a mask totally saved us. I now have a nanny for the baby and a preschool until 4pm for the toddler and we have it working nicely. In solidarity!"

 

 

"I have a 7 month old and a 7 year old. My husband and I both work full time. We don’t have childcare except that we go to stay with family periodically for help. It’s not consistent and it’s hard to be away from home but we do get a little respite. At home we don’t want to have a nanny or day care because of the Covid risk. I think that the fact that we are choosing to have no help makes the craziness of managing the situation ourselves tolerable.

 

What 'works' for us is taking turns and weighting the work depending on who’s job is less important at the moment. My husband does a lot more childcare because he isn’t supervised and only has to show up to a couple of meetings a day. I’m with clients in meetings all day so I disappear for work. When my husband is in a meeting and the baby starts screaming he just uses the mute button and shrugs. My kids show up on his Zoom calls all the time. I think he just sort of made his colleagues accept it early on and now they don’t care.

 

Another thing that helps is giving my older child responsibilities like playing with her brother, sorting things or helping clean. It’s seven year old help but it’s still help.

 

Months ago I started making a big classroom style daily schedule for the family to follow during the day with set times for play, lunch, school, reading, work, etc... it worked to keep the day from becoming a blob. My husband said he really appreciated it. Now we don’t really need that much structure as everyone knows how to flow. Life isn’t perfect now but we do okay most of the time. Honestly, I think we just had to get used to feeling exhausted and overworked. We had to figure out hacks like putting a bunch of toys and clothes in storage so there is less to clean. Some days my daughter watches way too much tv. Sometimes she eats all carbs. Other days are better. Sometimes we all play nail salon and have the time of our lives."

 

 

"I also found this idea of this to be completely mind boggling and didn't have any kind of remote idea of how to make such an arrangement work, though I know many people do, for lack of options. From March until July, my husband provided almost all of the child care to our then 2 year old, while I worked full time from home. He was deeply stressed and depressed during this time. In July we brought our full-time nanny back, I had a baby in August, and in September our older child began full-time preschool. As of November, we are a two-working-parent home with a kid in full-time preschool and a full-time nanny. In Covid terms, we are living the dream. We know it, and yet, it's still a struggle. So I would second the suggestion of exploring whatever child care options are available to you and that you feel can work for your family."

 

 

"The families I know that are making it work without childcare either have one stay at home parent or jobs that can be done in consistent shorter shifts and the ability to go offline to a certain extent afterwards, like 7a-1p and then 1p-7p, so that one person can be pretty fully available to the kids at all times . I was one day into maternity leave when CovId shutdowns struck and my kids are similar age to yours (eg, needing constant supervision and attention), so I took care of them on my own after my husband started working again for 5 months and then needed to return to work. Neither my husband nor I have jobs where we can divide our attention much at all, so either I was going to become a stay at home parent or we were hiring a nanny and sending the 4yo to school. That’s what we went with back in August, after much stressful deliberation. Using the classifieds for nanny posts, we were able to find an excellent nanny who lives pretty nearby and follows stringent safety measures in her own life. We’ve had no exposures at all, not at school or connected to our nanny. We consider school and nanny our risk quotient and do only outdoor activities otherwise. It is possible to do childcare safely if you want to explore this route. If not, maybe take a hard look at your and your husband’s level of job flexibility and how 'on' you both need to be through the day, and if there’s some ability to create a pretty good on-off structure I imagine that would work pretty well. Hope you find the right solution for your family. It really is wrenching making these decisions on the front end, but it becomes more natural once you're living it (and if it doesn’t, you can always readjust again.)"

 

 

"On the days when I've done childcare and work - which is on national holidays and weekends because my job has no mercy and I do give those off to my nanny - what has worked was placeholdering time-consuming things until the baby's naps (god bless her, she naps for 2h at a time twice a day), and screen time for my son during that same time. That gives me uninterrupted chunks of time to get as much as possible done. The rest of the time I reply to emails from my phone while juggling the kids, and jump on calls with headphones on and a heavy reliance on the mute button. We also have a very early bedtime - 6:30pm both kids are in bed - so I can resume work at that time with no distractions. Since I have a lot of West Coast-driven work, that has worked generally well. It also ironically has resulted in better sleep for both kids - so win-win.

 

I think had the kids been older, it would've been a bit easier - but with these age groups they need constant attention and it's just hard to juggle."

 

 

"We brought our nanny back last summer, but the way that we balanced it before then was splitting the work day up into shifts. I'd do 7-3 plus evening hours, he'd do 11:00-6:00 plus evening hours. Generally my husband got up with the kids, and I got up and immediately started working around 7AM. His work day started at 10, so he could get away with starting a little late. We'd do lunch with the kids together (and both answer emails, jump on meetings) and then my 3yo would go down for a nap and my 6 yo would get a healthy dose of screen time while we both worked, and then I'd get the afternoon shift with the kids while my husband worked. I shifted meetings to mornings, turned down stuff that cropped up during my afternoon shift with the kids, ruled my calendar with an iron fist so that I could set time aside to work on specific projects, delegated where I could. Not gonna say I was particularly good at my job at that point but it all worked out.

 

Then after the kids went to bed, I worked some more but we usually put a hard stop to work at 9 so we have time with each other, even if it was just to watch a single episode of Tiger King together. I go to bed earlier and my husband stays up later, and he would usually work more after I went to bed. I would say the single most important thing that helped us was having a set routine for us and for the kids. I wrote out a daily schedule so the kids knew when snacks were being distributed, when they were going outside, when they may get some TV time, when it was mom time and when it was dad time, remote school stuff, etc.

 

The tag-team system seems to be what most of my friends who have not had childcare continue to do it."

 

 

Resources on Park Slope Parents to help you out:

 

Further reading around the web

 

Finally, if you decide to seek out childcare or a shared podding/homeschooling situation, check out our articles on Best practices for hiring/bringing back a nanny in the time of coronavirus and Podding/Bubble Families.