When I first started working from home, my son (who is now in elementary school) was three. One of the most common questions I fielded was this: How do you get work done with a child at home? The answer: I send him to the sitter.
People are often shocked to learn that my son went to the sitter, and later to preschool, when I am a work from home parent. After all, isn’t one of the reasons some of us work from home is to avoid sending the kids to the sitter? This is only partially true. I like working from home because it provides me with flexibility, and, of course, because I can spend more time with my son. But that doesn’t mean that I keep my son home all the time. Indeed, having my son in child care has helped me be more productive, as well as provide the opportunity for more quality time with my son.
Here’s why you might consider child care when you work from home:
One of the biggest reasons to consider getting some degree of child care when you work from home is the increased productivity. You don’t have to have your child at the sitter’s every day; I sent my son a couple days a week for three or four hours. His preschool, when he got older, was three days a week for four hours — a total of 12 hours a week.
Now that my son is in school, my productivity has increased even more. I prioritize my workload, and do the most important items while my son is in school. While my son was in child care before, I worked with a great deal of focus for those few hours, accomplishing more than I though possible, since I worked distraction-free in my home office.
More Quality Time with My Son
Interestingly, having my son in child care for a few hours a week actually helped me spend more quality time with him. Since I got the most important work done while my son was in child care, when he came home from the sitter’s I was ready to focus on him. Now that he’s in school, it makes “quitting time” much more obvious. Being able to take care of the home business stuff while your kids are out of the house can mean that you have more time to spend with them, rather than trying to get your kids to leave you alone for an extended period. They get some socialization with other kids, and some attention, and you have time to get the most important of your tasks accomplished.
Is Child Care Right for Your Situation?
Of course, since I only have one child, paying for child care wasn’t terribly expensive. For someone with more children, the cost might be too high. (You can check into having a local teen babysit while you’re in the house. That way your kids are entertained, but you are still on the scene. And it costs less.)
However, there is no sense in dismissing the idea of child care just because you work from home. Take a look at your situation; you might be surprised at the benefits of getting child care for a few hours a week.