As a new parent returning to work, it can be quite a heart-wrenching experience leaving your little one in the care of someone else, especially if separation anxiety has set in, which can often be worse for the parents than it is for the child! So how can you make things easier on yourself and on them?
If you’re lucky enough to be working for a flexible employer, who is pro diversity and inclusion (and I mean really pro, not just saying they’re pro) the chances are they’ll be bending over backward to accommodate you and keep you in the workforce…..after all, they’ve no doubt invested some serious time and money into your training and development by the time your little one comes around.
Many employers these days are implementing things like “keeping connected” days, some are even going to the lengths of onsite creche services (at least for events), or allowing you to work from home at least part-time if it makes your life easier, providing the output is still there, but regardless of whether or not you work for someone else or for yourself, I’d love to know just how much you manage to get done while working from home with your baby by your side?
It sounds good – I’ve tried it – and when they’re in that newborn, sleep-all-day, cute-as-a-button potato stage it’s pretty darn easy, in fact I was gloating at how productive I was being! By month 4 though, I was starting to pull my hair out. My baby is what I refer to as a “micro-napper” – you’d just get started on something and she was awake. My part-time assistant had fast become part assistant, part nanny, while we tried to juggle this gorgeous little thing while we worked.
I wanted desperately to have her near me, having been unable to with the first, but this work-from-home and care for my child arrangement simply wasn’t working. So now what?
I had 3 options from what I could see.
I could get a live out nanny at $25+ per hour, which meant I couldn’t really afford that many hours each week, certainly not enough to get through my workload.
I could get a live-in nanny, but au pairs are in hot demand these days and did I really want someone living with us in our 3-bedroom house with 2 kids?
Or, maybe the answer was simple, why didn’t I just ask my local childcare centre if they could offer BubDesk – a workplace solution for parents wanting to work close by their children, but away from the distractions of home?
“Well how does that work?” I hear you ask.
It sounds a little unusual right, working from your local childcare centre, and in setting up the BubDesk network I’ve had to be a bit picky with which centres I allowed in, but you’d be amazed how many centres are out there that could easily accommodate a working parent or two daily in an environment that is very conducive to work!
Most centres these days are equipped with WIFI, many have an underutilised programming room or a parent lounge that makes the perfect spot to set up your laptop, and centres are these days putting so much more importance on fostering genuine relationships with families and looking for ways to help make their lives easier outside of the standard childcare arrangement.
You only need to do a bit of Googling and you’ll find centres with Barista Bars, pet chickens, evening care for date nights, dry cleaning, the list is endless really. Is it so much of a stretch that they could also accommodate you while you work and feed?
If at this point you’re thinking to yourself, “that might just work!” then why not drop us a line with your preferred centre and we’ll ask them if they have space? Most centres in our network will provide you with a quiet(ish) space, WIFI, coffee, parking, make up days in the event one or both of you is sick, and a welcoming environment where you can really “blend” work and life, enabling you to cuddle and feed as needed.