A topic that is often up for debate when you’re working from home is whether you need a babysitter. Is it possible to work and look after children at the same time?
This is something that more people (mostly women) are facing right now. Businesses are still having employees working from home, and they’re suggesting that this will be the setup until at least the end of 2020. Of course, schools are also off (even if it wasn’t the summer holidays, they’d be off) so the kids are at home. Do you need to hire someone to look after your children while you work?
I don’t believe that this is a strict yes or no answer. There are a lot of factors to consider as to whether hiring a babysitter is right for you, your work, and your lifestyle.
I don’t have a babysitter
One of my daughters is in daycare right now. Some of it is to allow me to work uninterrupted, but it’s also for her sake. It’s an early learning center, so she’s getting ready for JK in September. We all can’t wait!
My other daughter, who is going into Gr. 3 in September, is at home with me. I don’t have a babysitter for her. Even during normal school holidays, we don’t have a babysitter. We sometimes sign her up for kids’ camps to give her something fun to do and make new friends.
During the pandemic, nobody came into my house that didn’t live here. We didn’t have any emergencies and there was just no need to hire a babysitter during the first bit of lockdown. We found a routine that worked for all, allowing me to work, help with a little schooling (not real homeschooling but answering questions if they wanted to do their school work), and making sure they didn’t get in my hair.
A babysitter just hasn’t been needed in my house. But I work for myself. I’ve had to turn some interviews down for work, but I’ve made time for some of the most important ones. Most people have understood and we’ll reschedule later. Very little in my work has been affected by having kids around me, partially because they were around while I worked from a very young age.
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Not all bosses want your kids around
As I said, I work for myself. I run my own writing business and can work the hours that I want to. Sometimes, that means taking a few hours out of the day and making up for it on an evening. With that in mind, a babysitter isn’t necessary.
If you don’t work for yourself, you’ll need to consider hiring a babysitter or finding some sort of childcare. Your boss probably isn’t going to be happy with you working from home with the children around.
During the pandemic when everything was locked down, this was different. Everyone was in the same boat and employers who didn’t like hearing someone’s kids in the background of a Zoom meeting were rightfully told they couldn’t do much. It’s not like the employee could have someone come over to look after their children! And the majority of employers understood it. There’s always a bad apple, though, right?
Now that we’re getting out of the lockdown stages, you’re going to have to start thinking about your boss’s wishes. They know that you could hire childcare, so may expect you to do that. Even if it’s just for the Zoom meetings once a week, just get a babysitter so your boss knows that your focus is on work. It’s understandable now that they don’t want you trying to juggle working from home and parenthood at the same time.
Under all normal circumstances, if you’re working from home for someone else with set hours, you’re likely to need childcare during those hours. You can’t put your focus on work, and your boss could pull you in to discuss your work performance.
You may not work well with children around
And it’s not just about your boss. My children are really good at sticking to routines and mostly getting along. We have some bad days, but it will usually be a Thursday or Friday as they’re just looking for a bit of freedom, as they get ready for the weekend.
But not everyone is like that. You may have kids that just drive you crazy constantly. You may be like the Duggars and have 19+ kids! Honestly, everyone’s situation is different.
Even if you’re working from home for yourself, you may find that a babysitter is necessary. There’s nothing wrong with that.
It doesn’t mean you always need to have someone to look after your kids. I’d recommend thinking about your working hours. When I first started my business I didn’t have kids. I just worked and that was it. As I started having kids, I had to think about how I was working, when I was working. I’d write during nap times or when my daughters were getting some time on the playmat and were happy to be left alone. Then I’d write at night when my husband was home to do the parenting and I could focus on work.
If I needed a babysitter, I’d have picked out maybe an hour or two a day or maybe five hours a week to have someone to care for my children. Those hours would have been my working hours.
I just don’t believe there is a strict yes or no answer. Not everyone does need a babysitter. It can help, definitely, but there are certainly ways of working from home without a babysitter. I do it!
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What are you struggling with when it comes to working from home? Share your problems in the comments so I can help!