Monday

childcare

So Jon and I haven't been quite sure how childcare for the baby would work out once my 8 weeks of maternity leave are up. We figured his mom might help some (she's a teacher, retiring at the end of this year), and we thought maybe Jon could take her with him to work some, but we really weren't sure about any of this without talking to his mother and father (who is Jon's boss).

Tonight we talked to them, and Jon's mother is going to care for the baby 2 days each week at their house, and Jon can bring the baby to work with him the other three days, as well as work from home some. Short of me being able to quit my job, or cut back to part time, which is simply not a possibility, this is really the second best arrangement.

Jon's parents' house is only 2 miles from my office, so I can nurse the baby at lunch time on the days she is with Janice. The rest of the time, she will have to learn to take a bottle of pumped breastmilk from Jon.

We will set up a cradle and a rocking chair, etc at Jon's office.

He's really excited about getting to be the main baby care person three days a week. He'll actually get way more time with her each week than I will. I already feel a little jealous, and I am dreading all that pumping, but still, this is a great relief to be able to do it this way.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I give him three months of being the "main baby care giver." You will be hiring a nanny soon.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah...

Arlene said...

Im sure you know this but Tennessee state law gives you four months off for maternity leave if you work for a company with 100+ employees.

http://healthweb.nashville.gov/hr/CivilServiceRules/APPENDIX4.asp

Federal law for FMLA is 8 weeks.. TN gives you 2 more months. Which I took full advantage of. :)

ErinOrtlund said...

That sounds great to be able to have grandmother and the father as the main caregivers during the day. What kind of job does he have that he can get work done while caring for a baby 3 days a week? It will be great for him to have a sling!

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that FMLA is for 12 weeks. Katie, you should definitely take off as much time as possible. There's nothing to keep you from requesting a longer leave. Even if it is not within your company's published guidelines, you can still ask. The worst thing that could happen is they could say no, and then you're only back to where you started in the first place. You could also request a slow return to work - part-time for the first month, for example.

Anonymous said...

"I give him three months of being the 'main baby care giver.' You will be hiring a nanny soon."

"oh yeah..."

Oh, come on, people! Why so little confidence in Jon?

Until our oldest daughter was four and our second daughter was two, I was the "main baby care giver" M-F all day long, until my wife got home from work. I worked night weekends and she worked during the day during the week. So, she took care of the kids on weekends and I had them during the week. We were all home together week nights. There were times when I was lonely, when I longed for the conversation of adults. I even tried a "mother's playgroup", but gave that up quick. Basically, we played, ate, took naps, went to the park or the zoo, read stories, played, played and played some more. We had a blast! If I had to go somewhere,they came with me: shopping, doctor's appointments, church, bookstore, Kinko's, everywhere. Whenever we bumped in to a female friend or co-worker, inevitably they would ask, "Oh, are you baby-sitting today?" My answer: "No, actually, they're mine." Of course, they knew that. But why is it when a mother has the children she's being a mother, but when a father has the children he's "baby-sitting"? I never figured that one out.

Anyway, after four years, my wife decided to stay home (mostly), which was great. Last September, though, she decided to go back to work full time, which is great. My oldest is now 12 and my second is 10 and we have a 2 year old now. So, I'm back to working night weekends while my wife works during the day during the week. We're all home together on week nights. Now, I'm doing the home schooling, taking them to all they're activities (art, music, Girl Scouts, etc...). And, of course, the baby comes with us where ever we go. We still have a blast! I LOVE being with my girls.

So, three cheers and a few extra thrown in for Jon! You can do this, and I'm sure it will be great for you and your new baby.

Bob

britney said...

It's hard to imagine being able to do two jobs at once - care for a newborn and function in a work environment. Maybe that's where some of the skepticism is coming from?

And 4 months off with no pay is fine for people who can afford it..

Katharine said...

Britney said: "It's hard to imagine being able to do two jobs at once—care for a newborn and function in a work environment."

I've done it with two sons, one at a time, though the work environment is also my home. I'm self-employed.

I applaud Katie and Jon's arrangement. It sounds lovely! Child care will be split among three people, so no one person gets overwhelmed. And the baby will become comfortable with everyone.

As far as having faith in Jon, I do, even though I know him only through Katie's eyes on this blog. What colors my opinion too is that my husband is so into being a daddy that if I could earn enough through my sole proprietorship to support all of us without income from him, he'd be a full-time stay-at-home dad in a heartbeat. He adores being a parent.

Our arrangement has always been that because I'm here 24 hours a day and have to do child care while I work, he's responsible for child care on weekday evenings and on weekends. All I ever had to do during those times when the boys were babies was breastfeed and change the occasional diaper. Also, he cooks dinner weeknights because when he gets home from work, I'm still working, having taken child-care breaks several times during the day.

Just like women, men can be wonderfully dedicated parents.

katie allison granju said...

My company will give me longer off, but we can probably only afford for me to take 2 months off (that's about all I get in paid leave, and I know in the U.S. I am lucky to get THAT much).

It is indeed challenging to work abd care for a baby. I know because with my last 2 children (now ages 11 and 9) I worked full time at home (as a writer/editor) while caring for them at home. And when I say I worked, I mean I really worked. It's not always easy, but it's do-able.

Jon is an accountant working in his family-owned small firm. His sister in law also brings her baby to work.

We will re-evaluate our childcare needs as baby grows, but I think this will be a great arrangement for at least the first six months. We may have to hire a part-time nanny during tax season.

clara said...

I think that sounds like a great arrangement!

Anonymous said...

I have yet to meet a father who was truly capable of caring for an infant for full days at a time, except in a back-up role. Many dads are very good dads and they love their babies but as far as being able to really be the one in charge of the baby for three full days each week, I am skeptical that a father can do this.

Didn't you say you plan to use cloth diapers? Does Jon intend to take cloth diapers to his office?

honey said...

I was going to take my whole federal 3-month FMLA leave or my whole state 4-month FMLA leave, but I went back to work part-time after 2 months, because I was ready to do something more.

I was even doing about 10 hours of work at home after about a week or two, in a lawn chair in the back yard, while the baby was sleeping nearby in the shade. This too was writing/editing work.

My husband was the stay-at-home dad mornings and early afternoons for years, and still is at home mornings. He loved being involved in our son's preschool years, and they still have father-son time in the early mornings--the drive to school together, sometimes with breakfast out on the way.

Anonymous said...

I am the stay at home parent for our daughter and I am a father. My wife is a lawyer and makes more than I do so it made far more sense for me to stay home while she went back to work. This has worked out great for us. I enjoy being a more involved father than my father was. I do not understand people who seem to find something strange about fathers who actually do their fair share in caring for their children. Come on people! This isn't the 1950's! We both believe very, very strongly in breastfeeding but I have also enjoyed the bonding time of being the one to get to give Emily her bottles of expressed breast milk. She was not happy about having to take a bottle when Mom first went back to work, but she soon decided eating was good, even if it isn't her favorite way to eat, and will take her bottles just fine from me until my wife gets home from work with the holy grail of Emily food: the boobs!

Clisby said...

"I have yet to meet a father who was truly capable of caring for an infant for full days at a time, except in a back-up role."

Either you don't get around much or you're seriously overestimating the difficulty of caring for an infant.

I took 8 weeks' maternity leave with my first; then my husband quit his job and was the stay-at-home parent for the next 5 months. He thoroughly enjoyed it - enough that a couple of years later, he took off a full year to stay at home with our daughter and do some much-needed home renovations.

Anonymous said...

my husband had 10 months at home with our son-no nanny needed he had more baby experience than I did at the time! why does anyone in this day & age think a dad is an less capable?

ErinOrtlund said...

My husband also did a superb job caring for our baby 2 days a week while I worked PT during his doctoral studies. And yes, that included changing cloth diapers!

Katie S. said...

When my child was born I had a job that I worked from home. I thought I would be able to take care of him and work. After about 4 weeks, I realized this was impossible, he was not a quiet baby. The only way to have him be quiet when I was on a conference call was to nurse. I was lucky enought at the time to afford a nanny to come to our house 8 hours a day. She would bring him to me when he needed to nurse, which was frequent. It was wonderful that I coudl work from home and still meet his needs. However, at 6 months the Nanny had to take a higher paying position. This is when I realized that childcare is hell. Most places have a year waiting list. The good places even longer. My timing was such that I was able to get a slot in one of the best places in town. I would highly reccomend checking out Montessori style daycares and get on a waiting list, just in case your mother in law gets sick and can;t take care of baby girl or in case of any circumstance that might require needing additional childcare needs. What I like about the Montessori program (they are not all alike) is that they hold the baby, encourage breast feeding and pumped milk, the baby is on the "babies" schedule not one that the school has created. They use mats to sleep on not inustitional cribs. They do not use wet wipes. Instead of using swings and bouncers like most daycares (not allowed on Montessori) they have mats with mobile and other baby approapriate devies to stimulate. Also the babies go outside twice a day depending on weather conditions.

Anonymous said...

FMLA is 12 weeks, but only for companies over 50 employees. I'm not sure a local TV station would have that many.

And as KAG said, it's unpaid.

Meagan Francis said...

Sounds like a great arrangement to me. Dads not able to care for babies all day? Are you serious, anon? My husband was the at-home parent for the first year of #4's life...though I work flexible hours as a writer and that made it easier in some ways, we also had several other children for him to worry about. It was a great experience for all of us--particularly because the baby got used to going to sleep with either of us instead of just one, or coming to either of us for comfort, unlike my older kids who were more used to just me.

As for bringing an infant to work--I think it depends a lot on the work environment and the baby (and also how quickly and efficiently the caregiver/worker can get stuff done). I brought #3 to work with me in an office every day for close to 9 months. It was a VERY baby-friendly employer, but it's still an office with a lot of things for babies to get in to, and I still had to be available to people when they called and actually get work done. I got VERY good at making efficient use of my time. But having worked in a variety of offices I've noticed it's a rare workplace where everyone works the entire time...a lot of time gets wasted in a typical 9-5 day. So no, I didn't get to check my e-mail obsessively, or play free cell or shop for shoes or hang around the water cooler, but I got all my work done! It also helped a lot that he napped easily and wasn't a big crier. And that we had a johnny jump-up and he loved it!

But around 8-9 months, when he got mobile, it came to an end. No matter how baby-friendly an office is, curious, exploring toddlers and the workplace don't always mix--especially once they figure out how to hit that power button on your computer right when you're in the middle of reconciling the bank statement...

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason why so many posters have a defeatist attitude...worse case scenario if it doesn't work out then they can make a change. I feel that way about most things now that I am a little older. Plan the best you can with what you know at the time and then make adjustments when needed.

Denette said...

PFFT! My husband is an excellent parent to his son! Excellent! In fact I know of no one better to do the job (aside from ole mama cause I have the boobs). Its a great disservice to Dads to put down their abilities as caregivers and second to allow them to take a backseat when raising a child. My father-in-law told me that the best thing about his divorce was that he had no choice but to take full care of his children on his weekends. That he felt like he missed out on the older two by not doing things like bathing and changing them. Give Papa a sling and some confidence and he will be ready to go.

Denette said...

Let me add that the father "babysitting" comment drives me batty.

Anonymous said...

I hope your baby will take a bottle. When I went back to work after my third baby, she downright REFUSED a bottle from her caregiver. She just didn't eat at all for 9 hours a day. Then she would clusterfeed all night. After 4 months of being a zombie because of no-sleep, I quit my job to stay at home and became a full-time daycare provider.

Anonymous said...

ah, the advantages of enfamil....

Anonymous said...

The advantages of Enfamil?

Gross.

Why not just start out feeding your baby pureed McDonald's food in a bottle. It's equivalent to infant formula.