Natalie Rees writes at Mum about Bradford and has come up with an ingenious idea on having it all. She shares her thoughts with us so you too can develop your career in your slippers, have your child looked after at no cost in their home environment, exclusively breastfeed on demand and have access to your child at any point during your working day… sound too good to be true? Over to Natalie
Well there I was all excited, thinking I had coined a new phrase ‘baby pooling’ but when I Googled it to see if it already existed, it seems some Chinese mums have got there before me. I say that, but there is only one tiny paragraph I could find on baby pooling and somewhat dissimilar to the idea I had in mind. I thought that this idea would be all over America with city moms etc. but apparently not, so I will take all the credit!
My ‘baby pooling’ concept comes from a slightly different angle. The Chinese article was about sharing the parenting of children. Mine is about allowing you to have the best of both worlds – staying accessible to your child during the day and earning money/pursuing your freelance career at the same time.
When Esmé hit 7 months, the end of maternity leave was looming closer and closer. Many of my new mum friends were heading back to work and were feeling quite emotionally torn. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to go back to working full-time and that I wanted to focus my time building my writing career rather than my teaching career.
As a freelance writer, work is very flexible. I can work from home while Esmé is napping, in the evenings and on weekends when John is home. However, there are those times when I have just gotten into a certain frame of mind and the creative ideas are rolling when I hear the wake-up cry from upstairs. This is what led me to come up with the idea of baby pooling. You’ve heard of car pooling I’m sure? Well my idea for baby pooling is that mums who work from home can pair up with other mums and baby share.
How baby pooling works:
You meet at an agreed daily time, I think work hours work best so that you can stick to a routine, which keeps you in a professional frame of mind. You might decide to meet at 9am at one person’s house. One mum looks after both babies from 9am-12 noon. While she is with the babies, the other mum is working in another room. At 12, everyone can have lunch together and have some play time/ story time etc. Then from 1pm-4pm the other mum works for her 3 hours. This would give each mum 15 hours per week without any daycare costs and it would mean that breastfeeding mums could carry on feeding. You would just pop your dependent other on the boob for 10-15 mins and then back to work you go. The hours could also be tweaked so that mums with older children could pick them up from school. Or the mum ‘in charge’ for those hours could do the school run if the mums lived in the same school district.
This is something I am looking to set in place as work picks up pace. The concept works well for mums like me, who just need a laptop and internet connection to work. If there are mums who need their own home base to work from, hopefully they would be able to pair up with a mum who is more flexible in terms of location. What do you think ladies?
Is it something you think could work for you – a daily timetable, access to your child at any point during the day, no day care fees, continuing to breastfeed on demand?