Lads working from home with a newborn is fucking brilliant. I love working from home in general and this was before COVID. But since the arrival of Erin, working from home has been fantastic not only for my wife but for myself as a first time Dad.
And here's why...
Working from home with a Newborn
I'll be first to say it takes a little planning to get the right balance but once you do that. It all fits...well kinda. It's a baby we're talking about at the end of the day and they're not mad for timetables yet.
As a Dad, the first thing you need to sort is your own overnight sleeping habits. This may sound somewhat selfish but you need to be as fresh as possible when you start work and you don't have the benefit that your other-half might have of napping during the day. (Cue mothers saying, how does she have time to nap?).
So, in our case and I'm only sharing, this is what we're doing here. Erin's night feeds might look something like 10 pm, 2 am and 5 am. I usually get up at 7:30 am to start work at 8 am. I'll get up to help Ruth with the night feeds at 10 pm and 2 am in any way I can. On the odd occasion give a bottle, if that's what's needed, change her nappy, burp her, settle her etc. and it all takes about 30 minutes on average.
Ruth will then do the 5 am feed solo which allows me to get a relatively decent block of sleep. Now I may wake slightly at that time but I might not get up which makes a big difference. So, I basically get a 4 - 4.5 hour block of unbroken sleep before my alarm goes off to get up for work.
Also, I sleep next to Erin and the co-sleeper as Ruth is a very light sleeper. But what we do sometimes is swap sides of the bed after the 2 am feed so that I'm not keeping an ear out for Erin stirring during that 4 - 4.5 hour block.
This system seems to be working with regards to energy levels for work and as Erin sleeps for longer periods those sleeping blocks get bigger for both of us. Now, that's not to say she might not have a fussy night, wake more often and keep us both up but this is just one thing we're doing.
Where you actually work is another thing. I'll work sitting on the couch with the laptop on my lap or work in the kitchen. I'm not pushed about having a dedicated space, some are. If you have an office space at home great if that works for you. But I'll say this when a baby cries you will hear it anywhere in the house. So maybe pick up a decent set of headphones should you need silence to work.
Helping Hand to Ruth
When I start work at 8 am, Erin is often due a feed or depending on the night she might still be sleeping. Once she's fed or if she's still sleeping, what I often do is bring her downstairs with me and let her sleep in the Moses basket beside me as I work.
This allows me to keep an eye on Erin while she sleeps and I work but it also allows Ruth to go back to sleep and get another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is a big benefit of me working from home for us as parents.
Also, working from home means that Ruth can take her time (while I'm working, I do cook & clean) with things like having a shower, cooking, cleaning, popping to the shop or doing some errands all while I watch Erin.
Oh and if Ruth just needs a hand with grabbing something real quick. I'm always on hand here.
You don't miss stuff
Another benefit of working from home is you don't miss any firsts. I know I'd be a bit gutted if I got a WhatsApp message or video in work off Ruth of Erin's first laugh or something. Nothing beats being there for it and seeing/hearing it for yourself.
What I'm still wrapping my head around is the speed at which Erin is growing and the differences in the space of 2 weeks. She's so much more alert, active, vocal and starting to interact more. Something that wasn't the case during my paternity leave. I'd miss a lot of this if I were in the office. So, it's great working from home and hearing Erin playing on the little Einstein mat, kicking the keyboard and laughing.
I can pop in for a look and a quick play while I'm making a coffee, in between meetings or if she's up and active on my lunch break. I can spend a bit more time watching her play and enjoy some interaction with her myself.
The last thing I'll say on this point is that as parents, individually you will have rough days. You'll be tired and cranky and be dealing with a tiny little person who is also tired and cranky and you'll feel like your failing as a parent, whereas yesterday you thought you were super Dad/Mom.
The benefit of working from home is that I can help share the load with Ruth if she's having a rough day and vice versa. I'm there before work, there during lunch and immediately at the end of the working day. No wasted time on commutes.
I can only imagine how tough it could be if you were on your own at home, with a tired and cranky baby and everything seems to be going against you. All the while your other half "doesn't have to deal with this" as they're out at work. No one wants to come home to that situation and would obviously not want their other half to be in that situation either.
I love working from home and as Erin gets bigger I'll see even more benefits and more firsts.