What are some tips for working as a remote developer with children at home?

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Hi everyone!

I've been working remote for a little over a year and a half now. It's been great and don't think I can go back to working in an office full-time.

However, we've added a little one to our family and he's now a month old. My wife has started running errands where she is gone only a few hours - and I've stayed at home with the baby boy. He's pretty good overall, sleeping most of the time. But when he's crying - there is no way to possibly work.

My wife will be going to work full-time at an office so I'm coming to you for some tips! Because I can only imagine as he grows up, my eyes will have to be on him 24/7.

How do you balance working remotely and looking after a baby/kids?

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I have 4 kids and work from home. They are all still very young. I couldn't do if my husband wasn't home to watch them. I already have a lot of little interruptions throughout the day even with him watching the kids, I don't think it would work at all if I was the primary caregiver and working from home.
If you can afford it, I would suggest finding someone to help you look after your son during the time you want/need to work. It is going to be very hard to be productive if you are watching your son and working remotely. (Nice thing about working remotely and being a parent though, is that you can stop and be with your little one throughout the day.) But if you are trying to balance long stretches of work while also watching your son I think you are going to find it very frustrating and difficult. Best of Luck on whatever your family decides and congratulations on the new little one in your life :)

 

Depends how well the kid naps/sleeps - when my son was little I could get decent 2-3h naps to get things done (not always and as they drop naps you will have less of that time).

Once they start moving/talking it's not even that you have to watch them so they don't hurt themselves (you can get a playpen etc. for a safe zone), but they will literally drag you to play with them. ;)

For uninterrupted longer blocks of time you will, as others mentioned, need someone else to look after the child. Though again depending on your kids character, if they stay in the house and can see you, they might not let you work in peace even if someone else is looking after them. Depending on your finances and location you could try getting family to help, look for childminders/nannies, nurseries, etc. Each option has its own benefits and downsides.

We share bedtime duty, so on OH's days I get most of the evening to do work and tend to also stay up late. And OH often takes our son shopping & then to the park on Saturday mornings, so that's another longer block of time for me to work. Likely, without childcare arranged, you'll have to sacrifice something (hobby, social time, etc.) and even that might not get you to a "full time" level of hours. Babies are more time consuming that a full time job, and the care can be very mentally exhausting, so that's another thing to watch out for. ;) You never knew how tired you can be after a whole day of doing "nothing" ;) until you've taken care of a toddler.

 

I've been working from home for ~9 months and we have a two year old boy at home. For me, I never expect to get any work done when I am in charge of watching him. I will keep an eye on the baby monitor for my wife if he is napping but other than that I commit my working hours to work and my non-working hours to my son and my wife. I do this because my work requires my full attention and my son deserves my full attention -- I am not comfortable trying to take care of both.

If your wife wants to go back to work then I'd really recommend an additional care-taker for when you are working. This is easier for us because we moved back to the area where we grew up and have 4 grandparents ready and willing to cover all our childcare needs (we are very fortunate, this saves us at least $15k / year where we live). Otherwise I'd look into a nanny or daycare -- I really recommend the parenting book Cribsheet for a data-driven approach to making these kinds of decisions.

 

All that being said, working from home with a child has been a wonderful experience. My son helps me make my coffee on each coffee break and I get to have lunch with him if the timing lines up. I am basically trading that time I would be spending around the water cooler with time spent interacting with my son. That's a pretty good trade-off if you ask me.

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