Working from Home With A Newborn: Am I Crazy?

Sona Charaipotra
4

Sona and Kavya
Photo by Navdeep Singh Dhillon
About two years ago, before my husband and I officially started TTC, I decided to work from home. In part, this was because of the way my industry was going -- magazine publishers were blood-letting, much like many other American companies.

But it was also so I could pursue my dream job of writing novels and screenplays, a passion that was hard to indulge when I was putting in 60-plus hours at the office. In the back of our collective head, though, was also the thought that, once the babies came, I'd be around to play mommy.

So when I was offered a fun full-time gig -- with a really fat paycheck -- half way through my pregnancy, I was torn. My husband wanted me to stick with the plan, and part of me wanted to, too. But another part craved the stability that came with the paycheck, the insurance and even the structured hours. And part of me craved the payoff I earned after more than a decade building up a stellar resume. In the end, considering that I'd have to disappear on maternity leave just a month after starting the gig, I decided to pass on it. And now, sometimes I wonder if that was the smartest move.

Working from home is a luxury my business affords me -- freelance writing comes with instability and no insurance (in more ways than one), but it also means I can be typing away from the comfort of my couch, in my PJs if I please. And since Kavya arrived seven weeks ago, I admit, I have spent most of my time in my PJs.

But the care and feeding of my little one is time-consuming in ways I never imagined. And because of my career choice, I don't really get a maternity leave. In fact, I worked the day I went to the hospital -- and was working again five days after baby Kavi was born. So while, in theory, I make my own hours, in reality, I've been stealing work time when I can. Because really, I have a new boss. I have to work around her schedule. Or lack thereof. And when Kavya throws down against my Mac, she wins. Every time.

Now, every so often, when my husband sees me struggling to get everything done, he suggests hiring a baby-sitter. Which is what we thought we'd manage to avoid with me working from home. Guess neither of us knew how much work a baby really can be. Very fulfilling work, granted. So, unless I can come up with some kind of system, we might have to bite the bullet and look into some child care. Which makes me sad.

How do you balance work and kids?

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