The Awkward World Of Working From Home

When I decided that I needed some help in the babysitting department for my work-at-home career, all I could think about was how awkward it would be.

Babysitter with children |

Photo credit: shironosov/iStock/360/Getty Images

Because I work from home, I had always managed to fit in my work during nap times and random snatches of time during the day or late at night after the kids were tucked safely into bed. But with a newborn on an erratic sleeping schedule and multiple school runs for my preschooler looming in the future, I suspected that the best course of action might be to bring a babysitter to me. In other words, have an in-home babysitter while I worked from home.

Needless to say, having never had a babysitter before, I was nervous about the transition. Would I be able to step back and let her take the lead with the kids? How would I handle breastfeeding a baby with her there? Would the day be one long moment of awkwardness?

I'm only on week two of my trial run with having a babysitter at home and I will say that it's still a work-in-progress. There are challenges to it, but I'm also learning as I go from other moms who have made the at-home-work-at-home sitter situation work.

Invest in some headphones

Many of my fellow work-at-home moms swear by utilizing some noise-cancelling headphones during work hours. I haven't made the plunge, but I did find that last week, when the kids just wouldn't leave me alone, I did have to plug in some Pandora to drown them out and be able to concentrate. It's not ideal, but it did decrease my stress level by about a million when I couldn't hear them asking to go play with Mama.

Consider the babysitter

"Coming from the other side (I've worked in a home while parents were there), she feels weird too!" confesses former babysitter Kim Statler. Realizing that we both felt a little awkward really helped me to break the ice. I'm very open with our sitter in telling her that it's hard for me and we check in before and after every visit to talk about things that went well and didn't go well. She'll ask me questions like, "Did I take the baby enough for you?" or we'll make a plan to have the kids play outside next time. Open communication has helped us a lot.

Make a detailed list

The No. 1 piece of advice I received from other work-at-home moms and sitters alike is that it's a fantastic idea to make a list of tasks and/or a schedule for the sitter. "It will be easiest for her (and then easier for you) if you just give her a list of what you'd like done," suggests Statler. "If you don't give her a definite on where your job ends and hers begins, she'll be hesitant to jump in and take over." Making a schedule of your kids' meal and nap times and providing a list of chores and suggested activities, for example, can ensure that she and the kids are able to navigate the day without you.

Let go of the guilt

A huge part of the awkwardness of having someone here for me has been feeling guilty. I mean, I'm home, right? And then having a newborn on top of it feels like something akin to torture because she can't be held by someone else... she needs her Mama! But slowly, I am learning to let go of the guilt and see the situation for the blessing it really is. I mean, how many moms would love to know their children are cared for just in the other room? "Just try to remember that you are working for your baby, and it is OK to have someone to help you," says 

Andie Alaniz Lara. Nothing awkward about it.

More on working from home

How to design a home office
Working from home: Is it a career option for you?
Work-from-home ideas for stay-at-home moms


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