WFH Parents Call for Flexible Childcare

I worked from home (WFH) so that I could be with my children as much as possible before they started school. I knew that time would come way too soon, and although no one can truly prepare a parent’s heart for this shift in your child’s life and routine, I knew there was at least one thing I could do to make the years leading up to it last a little longer.

The first few years go by so incredibly fast and they’re some of the most formative, developmental years of our children’s lives. I didn’t want to miss it, but I also wanted and, at the time, needed to continue working.

Since my husband and I both had the opportunity to WFH, our schedule typically meant I worked in the early morning, naptime, and post-bedtime; my husband worked from around 11am (sometimes earlier, depending on my work schedule) until dinner time.

It worked great…until it didn’t.

Every now and then, my husband and I would have overlapping meetings. More often, there were times I would be trying to get work done during my typical non-working time. I found myself trying to distract my child (whoever was the youngest at the time, sometimes the two youngest, sometimes all 3), encourage them to do MORE independent play, or allow them just oooone more show. Those times didn’t feel good, balanced or fair to my children, but I knew I was just doing my best, and trusted they would understand and learn to appreciate our WFH hustle.

Every now and then I would have benefited from a solid 2-hour block in the afternoon to bust through some work and focus on a project. But we didn’t want to commit to a daycare because we didn’t need full-time or even part-time care. We also had a hard time finding a nanny or babysitter that could be available just every now and then. Understandably, they needed more regular hours. Our options ended there.

I started to keep tabs on local coworking spaces to see if they would ever start offering childcare, they didn’t and still don’t. There were also music or other lessons I considered enrolling my child in so I could work while I waited, but they were always too young to be enrolled in a non-parent-involved class. I even considered paying for a membership at the YMCA so I could drop my child off at their childcare and squeak out some work in the locker room.

None of these options panned out in the times I needed it. Seven years later, the need for flexible childcare has become exponentially greater since the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more parents have started to work from home permanently. There has to be a solution for parents like me.

Like the rest of the world, the last two years of our WFH lives changed dramatically when COVID-19 hit. By August 2020, we were no longer just working full-time with one child, we were figuring out our oldest’s first year as a virtual kindergartener. Making sure he had all his supplies ready for the hour, making sure he’s logged in and knows how to use an iPad, and showing him how to unmute himself. Our second child was supposed to start his first year of preschool, but instead… he audited kindergarten and watched a lot more shows than we wanted him to. Oh, we also had a 5-week old baby. WTF. This was obviously not how we thought this pivotal year in our lives would unfold, but we rolled with it.

Nap time is ending!… to be continued.

Problem: WFH parents are trying to balance work and childcare on their own

Solution: Coworking spaces that offer childcare

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After earning my Masters in Education, I started working in education technology and most recently found myself at a publishing company. I started working from home after the birth of our first child seven years ago. We now have three kids, ages 7, 4, and 2.