Many working moms wish they could ditch the daily stress of rushing to daycare, cramming into a bathroom to pump, and longing for a hug from their kiddos during their workday. They longingly dream of a work-from-home arrangement that would eliminate this frenzy and guilt by replacing daycare with a nanny in the next room, skipping the pumping break in favor of nursing, and getting kisses from their kids at lunch time.
That’s exactly what Sarah Loulousis had until the dream turned into a nightmare. After her son was born, she jumped back into her full-time job handling insurance benefits for CVS. Because she has the luxury of working entirely from home, “I thought the easiest thing would be to have a nanny come into the house,” Sarah said.
But first, she had to find a good one.
“It was definitely difficult. We went through more than 20 people for the nanny job, which is a job in and of itself, interviewing people,” Sarah said.
Even after hiring a nanny, work-from-home moms have to deal with scrambling to find back-up when that person is not available — something you don’t have to think about when you have daycare. Moms with a home office also have to resist the temptation to take too many breaks to interact with their kids or to correct what the nanny is doing differently than you would.
“The person we had, she was great. I’m probably just not as good of a manager as I thought I would be, so it didn’t end up working out,” Sarah said.
So she tried daycare, and that meant having to pump instead of nursing her son during breaks from her customer phone calls.
“I breastfed until he was 1, so pumping was exhausting. That was difficult, but you have to do it,” Sarah said. “You have to try things. We tried the nanny; that didn’t work. You have to be honest with yourself. It’s also helpful I have very honest friends and family, and they looked at me and said, ‘You’re struggling. This isn’t working. You need to do something else.’ I think having somebody who is going to give you an honest answer back, that’s really important because you don’t need a yes-man. You don’t need someone to say, ‘You’re doing great’ when you’re not. If you have to work, you have to figure out a way to get through it.”
When she made the switch, Sarah had to deal with judgment of others shocked that she would put her baby in daycare though she could work from home. “I think there’s just a lot of guilt put on moms, especially (people saying) no one can take care of your baby as well. Not all of us can keep our babies at home. Do not listen to people who tell you to make it work. If it’s not going to work, it won’t.”
She said she never considered quitting her job to stay home with her baby. “It was financial reasons. I have a lot of student loans, and we wanted to buy a new home. That being said, though, I’m glad I did work even just for the break,” Sarah said. “People don’t think of work as a break, but it is. At least you’re not constantly having to worry about somebody else and somebody else’s schedule. So for me it was lifestyle and financial reasons.”
Sarah’s son is now 3 years old and still in daycare, where he is thriving. “It’s really cute. He loves it a lot,” she said. “We got lucky with our daycare, and that really worked for us. There’s no right answer. Everybody has a different solution. Don’t let anybody judge you. People are always like: ‘Don’t put a little baby in daycare.’ But for some people that’s the best thing to do. And if that works for your family, just close your ears to everybody else, and do what works best for you.”
For more tips from Sarah and other moms about how to find the right help that works best for your situation, check out this video from Working Mom Warrior.