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I may be stating the obvious, but being able to work from home, even part-time, has some major benefits for parents. While there is something to be said for leaving the home to go back to work in an office setting after maternity or paternity leave, the option to work remotely allows parents to better navigate the unexpected surprises that arise in the first few years of parenthood. 

I gave birth in the heart of the pandemic in June 2020 (insert immediate flashbacks to masks, hand sanitizer and so much anxiety), and while I wouldn’t recommend having your first child during a mass pandemic, the fact that I was forced to stay home for months and months was a blessing. I was able to tackle the challenge of breastfeeding and pumping in the privacy of my home. I had an extra hour every morning to sleep or spend time with my daughter before she went to daycare, and then was able to walk to pick her up around 5 pm every day (sometimes while still on work calls, but the walk helped me decompress before switching back to mom mode). And, maybe most importantly, I was able to live in leggings and not worry about fitting into my old “hard pants.” Trust me, you feel much less pressure to quickly lose that baby weight when you’re not getting dressed up for the office every morning. 

Another video call with sick baby in tow

Now, on to those unexpected surprises that new parenthood throws your way. If you are a working parent and are sending your kid to a daycare or preschool, there are some interesting illnesses that pop up in the first couple of years that no one really warns you about (or maybe they do and you ignore them). Ear infections. RSV. Pink eye. Stomach flu. Hand, foot and mouth disease (sounds like something from the 1700s, but it’s very much alive and well in modern daycare land). And while all of these things stressed me out beyond belief at the time, the silver lining was that, because I was working remotely, I was able to leave to pick up my daughter quickly if daycare called, take her into the pediatrician and pharmacy right away and then be there to cuddle and care for her through it all. (Or, as she got older, let her curl up on the couch and watch TV while I caught up on emails.)

Quick trip to the pediatrician’s office between meetings

This next perk is one I never would have realized would bring me so much joy. Laundry. Working remotely allows you to get sooo much more laundry done. Between meetings, I would throw a load into the washing machine (and then always forget to put it in the dryer, but still, it was the thought that counted). Having even one child means you have 10x the laundry you once had. Burp cloths, bibs, stained clothes, dirty socks — just. so. much. laundry. The fact that I was able to get some of it done during the work day, along with washing dishes, tidying up or doing a quick grocery run, made me feel like an actual supermom. Almost like I was getting paid to do chores around the house. Which I guess I was. 

The last work-from-home perk is centered around what I was able to accomplish that last hour of the day, that hour that I would have spent commuting home from the office. While some days I still had meetings scheduled over that time, there were many other days that allowed me to squeeze in an at-home workout, a walk with my husband, or just as important for my mental health – a happy hour with other new parents. 

Lunch-time coffee break

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were times I wished I could break out of my home prison and work in an office again. When I realized I hadn’t worn nice clothes or done my hair in weeks. When I caught myself talking in baby talk to my husband. When I missed being able to yell over the cubicle wall to my coworkers versus sending countless chats. Or when I wanted to take a break from parenthood by going into an office and turning off my mom brain for a little while. 

But when it comes down to it, working remotely just gives you more time in the day. And a lot more flexibility. Which are two things that are absolutely essential to working parents, or anyone really. So, if you're a working parent and have the option to work from home, even just a couple of days a week, try taking advantage of some of these perks… and maybe throw another load of laundry in while you’re at it. 

By Ali M., writer & mom of a 3 year old