working from a one-bedroom apartment with a baby and nanny, people keep quitting, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. Working from a one-bedroom apartment with a baby and nanny

I work in tech and have worked remotely for my whole career. I live in a one-bedroom apartment and my desk is tucked into a corner of the living room. This setup has worked great for the past five years, living with my husband. We had our first child three months ago and my maternity leave is ending soon. We have in-home childcare arranged (combo of nanny and grandparents).

I want to continue breastfeeding my child and I’m wondering what you think of trying to work from home in my situation. The (maybe ridiculous) logic is that pumping would take at least as long as just feeding him directly, and would be much less fun. Of course we would have backup options for when meetings conflicted with feeding times. My job is less than 20% meetings, and I can take calls from the common spaces in my building.

The two downsides I see are: it would be harder to get deep focus time, which is part of my role, and I’m not sure how unprofessional it will seem. I started this role three months before my parental leave and made a good impression, but I know I’m kind of starting fresh after being out for so long.

I do have other options for workspaces, but they are far enough away (5-10 minutes) from home that I would have to figure out other milk logistics.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts — are there other important downsides I’m missing? Is it just postpartum hormones convincing me that this is reasonable?

Oooooh. It’s going to be really hard to work in a one-bedroom apartment while your baby and nanny/family members are there. Maybe if you could work in the bedroom with the door closed and a clear agreement not to disturb you … but it’s going to be pretty tough. Working from the living room with that set-up sounds nearly impossible, unless they’re going to be away from home for most of the day every single day. It’s not just noise; it’s the close proximity and being aware of everything that’s going on (some of which you are going to have Opinions on).

If you’ve got an option for a workspace five minutes away, that seems pretty good in comparison.

2. I’m a new manager and people keep quitting

I’m about four months into a new executive role, overseeing a small team of knowledge workers. When I started, there were 12 of us. Today, we’re down to eight.

The previous team lead had a very different style than I do. More hands-off, from what I’ve heard. People were frustrated with the lack of guidance and team development. So that’s what I’ve focused on. All the feedback I’ve received from my team has been positive or, at worst, constructive. But I realize they may not be totally forthcoming with complaints.

The first couple of resignations were easy to blame on my predecessor. They were probably already job hunting when I took over. But now, I’m starting to worry that it’s my fault. I know there aren’t enough details here for you to confirm or deny that fear. But, I wonder if you were in my shoes, how would you figure it out? What would you do to preserve the team that’s still standing?

Talk to people! A lot of people won’t give candid feedback to their managers even if it’s explicitly requested, so you have to shape the questions strategically to draw it out of people. For example: If you could change one thing about your job or your team, what would you change? If you could change something about our workflow, what would it be? How would you improve the way we do X? Etc. The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to get honest and useful answers. Also, if you have any gut feelings about areas that might be problems, ask about those; for example, if you’re worried people think you’re too hands-on, ask about that: “I know when Jane was here, people were frustrated that they weren’t getting enough guidance. When trying to address that, there’s always a risk that the pendulum could feel like it’s swung too far in the other direction. How are you feeling on that front?”

Keep in mind, though, that it’s possible that a lot of the team started job-searching while the old manager was still there, and that could be producing offers now — in other words, it might not be that they’re fleeing you, but that this is a natural part of the aftermath of a difficult manager.

how to get your staff to be more honest with you

3. Video interviews with a group of competing candidates

What fresh hell is this?

Fortunately, it’s not a hell that I myself am living in, but a dear friend of mine is.

She’s applying for highly paid, highly skilled, fully remote sales roles and she told me that it’s now standard practice in this industry for the early interview rounds to be via video call (okay so far), as a group (NIGHTMARE NIGHTMARE NIGHTMARE).

The usual format appears to be eight candidates, each answering four questions (not sure if they all get the same questions; I presume they do) over three minutes. And when it’s not your turn to talk, you sit and listen to the other candidates answer their questions whilst you wait for the sweet release of death.

The kicker? These companies are selling it as a bonus because it allows candidates with a less traditional background to “shine” beyond their resume and experience, which is absolutely impossible to achieve in any other format than a group video interview. They then whittle the pool of candidates down to three, at which point you’re allowed the privilege of a personal video call. Am I right in thinking that this is totally bonkers?

Anyway, I must be off as I have a busy day. Rather than going on separate dates with the men I matched with on dating apps (who has the time?), I’ve invited them all to the same bar at the same time so that I can quickly whittle the pool down to the ones that are worthy of a solo meetup.

Yep, utterly bonkers. And the alleged rationale doesn’t make any sense — there’s nothing about answering questions in front of a group of competitors that would allow non-traditional candidates to “shine” any more than answering those same questions in a one-on-one interview. It’s just faster for the interviewers if they can block off a single time slot and force all their candidates into it together. It’s ridiculous.

Mildly related:
I was held hostage and insulted at a group interview of 45 people
should we have job candidates do group activities with each other?

4. Should I apply for a job with the possibility of a large pay cut?

I’ve been in my current job for over a decade. It’s a good job, I like and get along with my boss and coworkers, I have PTO and medical insurance for me and my spouse. But I am burnt out​, and would like to be doing almost anything else as long as it’s something​ else.

My very first job fresh out of college 20 years ago (sigh) was in a field that I loved. But I did not want to go right back to school and get the graduate degree that might have helped me in that field, and so drifted into my current job after a few years. Now a full-time position in my original field has opened up near me, the first one I’ve seen advertised in years, and I am excited at the thought. From my past experience, I know the job would offer PTO benefits more or less equivalent to what I have now, and probably medical insurance for my spouse and I would be cheaper! However, the salary listing starts at $10K less than I’m currently making, and goes up to only slightly more than my current annual salary. The listing also mentions that any hires will start on the lower range of the salary, and be eligible for merit-based raises and bonuses every year depending on their work.

Is this worth applying for? Even if I’m able to argue for my past experience, that was long ago, and I doubt they would immediately jump to the higher end of the salary spectrum if I asked. We have a mortgage, we have bills to pay, everything is expensive right now, and I don’t know if the benefits would outweigh the serious pay cut.

Apply and see. Part of this depends on what you’re earning now; a $10K paycut is very different if you’re earning $45,000 than if you’re earning $145,000. If you’re closer to the latter, I’d say that cut is absolutely worth it to get out of a field you’re burned out on and back to a field you love. If your salary is closer to the former, it’s probably not — but it’s still worth applying and seeing if you can get them close to your current salary. Maybe you can’t — but if this the first opening in the field you’ve seen in years, it seems silly not to apply and at least see what’s possible.

{ 401 comments… read them below }

  1. 2e asteroid*

    3: I wonder if what they mean by “candidates with a less traditional resume have an opportunity to shine” is “by switching to this format we can interview twice as many people, so we’re more willing to take a chance on talking to candidates with a less traditional resume”.

    Which… has a nonzero amount of logic behind it, but the format sounds painful enough for other reasons that it doesn’t seem worth it.

    1. TheBunny*

      I think I would argue that Zoom/Teams interviews already open up the process to now candidates as it takes a lot less (on the part of the interviewer) to be able to hold back to back video interviews (arguments about rooms for interviewing was the big hurdle at my former company) than it does for in person.

      1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        A day in which you interview four candidates for half an hour is still A LOT (at least for me, an introvert, but I’d guess for many extroverts, too, at least if they’re doing a decent job of the interviews) and my conclusion, while flopped on the couch at the end of that day, was to never do that many again, but you’re right that I wouldn’t even have considered trying to schedule that many in one day back when interviews were in person.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          What about for 10 or 15 minutes each, though? Or better yet, change it to a 4-question phone screen?

          If they’re actually getting valuable information out of these tiny 4-question video interviews (which I kind of doubt), they could still do them individually. A bit of extra overhead for the tech issues/sign-in time, but at least it shows basic respect for your candidates.

          1. Also-ADHD*

            I’ve done video interviews and I like them on the candidate side personally (though they do have issues, as anything does). I feel I was able to portray my skills really well in those and it usually gets me a proper interview. I got a big step up and switched fields several years ago and the company I went with started with those and doing one had me fast tracked for a different open position that was higher level to start! I do think it can open up to new types of candidates because that’s sort of what it did for me as a person changing careers (again) into a new industry. I got other interviews too so I wasn’t desperate but I know how hard it is to do too many interviews and how hard it is to find the right fit in some niche fields from a resume.

            1. Also-ADHD*

              Edit: sorry, meant to specify RECORDED video interviews can help with this (but also have inclusion issues) I meant.

        2. MassMatt*

          But in this case it’s early in the process and each of eight candidates gets 3 minutes. Yes the interviewer saves lots of time but every candidate is blowing basically a half hour to have a three minute window to make their case. I doubt the 7th or 8th person is going to be able to wow the interviewer much.

          I kind of agree with the LW and hope this doesn’t catch on but it might work for jobs that have lots of competing candidates. For jobs where applicants can be more selective it will probably turn some good candidates off.

      2. Quill*

        I also think that there are probably equity benefits to video interviews in some cases (especially first interviews / screenings) in that you don’t have to travel on site, and that whoever came up with Candidate Panel Hell has heard of that and run with it.

        1. Spring*

          I agree, but why not do phone screens first? (instead of video) Even less needed investment on the part of interviewers and interviewees.

          1. Quill*

            That would require whoever came up with Candidate Panel Hell to be respectful of candidates’ time…

      3. Boof*

        Yes, I was thinking 5-10 min shouldn’t make breast feeding impossible, but the caregiver does have to be on the ball with hunger cues (call when the lip smacking starts, not when the wailing starts!) + plan to stop by every 2-3 hours… I agree breastfeeding directly ought to be less time consuming than pumping even if there’s 5-10 min of commute time in between… though individual boobs and babies may vary.

    2. RW*

      I just did the maths and if each of eight candidates takes three minutes to answer four questions… that’s TWO HOURS you’re sitting in this group zoom that could have been not a group zoom. Wait for the sweet release of death seems pretty accurate to how I would be feeling! (actually I would be knitting somewhere below the video camera but I would still be absolutely hating it while I did so)

      1. bamcheeks*

        Yes, and what’s the advantage over each candidate having a 15 min solo slot? You’re obviously not offering flexibility and you’re not asking the candidates to interact with each other, so why not block off 2-4pm and have Jane at 2pm, Fergus at 2:15, Wakeenn at 2:30 and so on? It feels more like some kind of weird powerplay than a genuine time saver.

        1. ecnaseener*

          I worry that they are expecting the candidates to interact with each other, in some sort of structured debate situation.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I saw it more as Hunger Games.

            Which I could see working for IT if the job either has a strong hacking component, or if management assume that all IT people are basically Hardison and Chaos in dueling vans–“Ha ha, I have taken over your video conferencing software and muted everyone but myself, I am the last applicant standing!!!!!!!”

            1. Lily*

              I was also thinking along the lines of a Hunger Games scenario, which generally did NOT give members of marginalized communities a chance to “shine”, but rather a chance to be almost immediately plowed down by members of better resourced communities.

              1. Hannah Lee*

                And the fact that it’s a Sales position does nothing to dispel that impression.

            2. SequinPantaloons*

              to the LW with the baby: I did something similar. I went back to work 100% remote after 3 months and my mom moved in to take care of my second son until he was 6 months old and could go to daycare (we waited for him to get a covid vaccine). It worked for 3 key reasons: 1) I stayed upstairs (open but finished attic) to work and they had the downstairs (kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedrooms). 2) I pumped at least once a day starting at 2 weeks old so we could feed him a variety of ways – breastfeeding, breast milk in a bottle, formula, mixed breast and formula. 3) my mom listened to my wishes and I could completely trust her to care for my son the way I wanted her to. So I would say you’ll need to take a good look at your space options but the logistical hassles may be doable and worth it.

            3. Margaret Cavendish*

              Oh yeah, they’re definitely looking for Gumption here. Whoever gets the most screen time for themselves wins! Even if they don’t specifically intend it that way, I’m quite sure the candidates will, and behave accordingly.

              Question for the interviewers: If John has been talking longer than his allotted three minutes, do you plan to interrupt him so Fatima can have her turn? What if it’s the other way around? If Fatima has been talking longer than three minutes and it’s John’s turn next, how will you handle that?

            4. Margaret Scratcher*

              Honestly, if you’re not forcing your job candidates to fight to the death in an arena, what’s even the point of a group interview? /s

          2. JSPA*

            Or that they’re looking for “tells” (looking down at phone, fiddling, eye rolls, smirk, head nodding, whatever) to assess: “personability” or
            “presentability” or
            “collegiality” or
            “charm” or
            “gumption” or
            or, yeah,
            “neurotypia/ effective masking.”

            somewhat more legitimately, there’s

            “conversational dominance”

            “willigness to give credit”

            “skill at refining and synthesizing”

            “skill at speaking off the cuff when your prepared answers have already been used by others”

            “will you get problematically bizarre in an attempt to stand out”

      2. Antilles*

        Assuming it’s a real interview and not just a cattle call/scam, I doubt they’re actually giving each candidate three minutes to fully answer and address each question. Oh sure, in theory, they’re thinking they get 8 full interviews done in that time span, but how it’s actually working is probably either:
        a.) Interviewer asks a question, Candidates 1 and 2 answer it fully, then interviewer realizes it’s taking too long to get through, so tells everybody else to answer in a short sentence. Move on to the next question, rinse and repeat. So you end up actually asking all the questions on the sheet, but 75% of your candidate pool might as well not exist because they didn’t really get a chance to talk.
        b.) Interviewer asks one question, every candidate takes ~3 minutes to answer, then the interviewer realizes that the single question took 30 minutes, so uh I guess we’re out of time, thanks for attending this one-question interview.

        1. MM*

          I was thinking of the opposite issue, which is that people going later in the sequence get the benefit of hearing everyone else’s answers and potentially adjusting, but your point about getting crowded out due to time management is very true too. Either way, there’s no way this can work fairly for everyone present.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          It worded ambiguously, but I think the supposition was that each of the four questions would take 3 minutes to answer, so 4*3*8.

          1. kalli*

            It’s not really. “Four questions over three minutes” is four questions in that three minutes, that’s what ‘over three minutes’ means. That’s 24 minutes. There’s no way to interpret that as three minutes each.

            It’s also really odd to have three minute answers to questions in an interview – that’s like a full on A4 page essay answer, which even if one gets the questions in advance, don’t typically give a great impression. Look at STAR format – you have 4 points to make and the point is to distill them. ‘This is the situation. This is what had to be done about it. This is how I did it. This is what happened because of what I did.” If you need three minutes for that then it’s either a super niche situation that requires so much explanation it’s probably irrelevant, or you’re not very good at summarising information.
            If it’s something like ‘you have to boost sales in the Midwest, how do you do it?’ they’re also not looking for a super detailed plan based on numbers and projections – they want to know the higher level process about what information you’d use to develop a plan, what kind of process you’d use to develop a target, and it’s not meant to be a full on plan with a 20 slide PPT and a written folio with advertising samples.

      3. Bruce*

        This is imposing a LOT on the candidates. It seems very cut-throat and Darwinian, and that is probably intentional… the employer wants a sales person who can really stand out and will do what is asked, and thinks this is the way to find them.

    3. CityMouse*

      I’ve only experienced these large group interviews for very scammy jobs (like those street fundraising jobs they recruit college students for). I’ve heard about this with MLMs too, though never experienced it. Call me deeply skeptical.

      1. Antilles*

        I’m glad I’m not the only person whose mind immediately went there.
        At absolute best, this feels like a “cattle call” job where it is a real job but a crummy one where they just want any warm body.
        At worst, this feels like a flat out scam where I’m glad we have so many people interested in sales because there’s endless opportunities as we’ll gladly teach you in our follow-up seminar for the low low price of…

      2. run mad; don't faint*

        A local branch of a well known fast food chain held group interviews. My teenager attended one. I don’t know if it’s common to that company or something the local hiring manager tried.

        1. Quill*

          I had one or two at retail / food service places over a decade ago. I don’t remember doing well or particularly badly, though I strongly suspect that a few of them were the manager deciding to spend an hour dealing with the whole month’s applications / window shopping for who fits “our brand,” as in the case of the clothing stores they did tend to pick people who the clothes they were selling would actually fit…

        2. Annie*

          I’ve had two, both in the retail context early in my working life (15 years ago). My sense is that they’re not particularly uncommon for that kind of entry level customer service type job.

      3. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        When I was a senior in college I had one group interview that was 15 or 20 seniors/recent grads for a Teach For America type position (I don’t think it was actually TFA, but I don’t remember, honestly) and I think there were legit jobs at the end of it, but I did get a definite vibe that we didn’t merit individual attention and could thus be treated like cattle. The group aspect was stressful, but there was also a sort of camaraderie about it, because we were all in more-or-less the same boat, and there were enough open positions that you didn’t feel like you needed to edge out the other candidates.

        Now that I think about it, that was also the place that did a phone screen with three interviewers. It was the first phone screen I’d ever had, and I came out of it feeling like I’d been run over by a truck, because the interviewers were doing such rapid-fire questions, one then the next then the next, that I didn’t feel like I had a chance to breathe. I’m glad I didn’t wind up working for them.

        1. Bruce*

          Interview panels with one candidate and multiple screeners are often set up that way to be intentionally stressful, one of my employers had a standard “3 on 1” format where one person was the identified jerk, one was the nice guy, and one was more of an observer. I did well in my interview, but came to dislike the whole vibe as I matured…

        2. Nightengale*

          I definitely did a 20ish person Teach for America interview where we had to “teach” the group something in 5 minutes.

          There were definitely individual interviews as part of the day though. I remember (1998) being asked what I would do if I was in a school that used corporal punishment. My response was a horrified “that’s legal?” and when told it was in some states, answered, “it shouldn’t be.” Which is always why I assumed I didn’t get accepted for Teach for America.

          Med school, residency and fellowship programs also tend to bring a bunch of people in together for an info session and tour but the actual interview part of the day was always individual.

      4. Strategy consultant*

        Monitor Consulting was well known for doing group interviews (and was generally regarded as quite successful at it). However, a lot of them involved a case study.

    4. amoeba*

      Yeah, I’d say that’s their logic. But still, as bamcheeks said already, the amount of time saved compared to individual, short time slots is so small that it seems like a bad excuse.

      1. Elitist Semicolon*

        Unless you’re interviewing applicants in an area like fast food (like run mad; don’t faint mentioned above), where there’s constant need and a consistent stream of applicants that may not have substantial variation in their experience/credentials. Like, I could see a manager doing a group “interview” in mid-May for students looking for summer work, rather than trying to schedule 45 individual interviews only to hear similar answers from the majority of candidates and to give the spiel about the job expectations 45 times.

        1. constant_craving*

          Then just make it a group information session and don’t stress people out asking questions you don’t actually care about the answers to.

    5. Miette*

      To me, “candidates with a less traditional resume” is code for “we won’t have to pay them as much.” I worked at a place like that (software company) and it was literally that. They claimed it was to hire folks who’d have a different perspective, but it also meant they’d have zero experience in even basic customer service, there was a lot of churn and, as you’d guess, mixed results and almost no training. This wasn’t “let’s hire a car salesperson and see what happens,” it was “let’s hire this former physical trainer” who by the way had zero computer literacy—and applied for a job at a software company. Ah, the tech boom, how I don’t miss it lmao.

      1. anotherfan*

        oh, that reminded me! After I and a bunch of other journalists (most of us veterans with more than a decade of experience) were laid off, the company hired a bunch of people with no journalism experience at all, apparently in an effort to bring a new energy and perspectives not tied to the ‘old way of doing things,’ people who were tech savvy because they were young (not that they apparently asked if any of them were tech savvy, it was just a given because we old duffers allegedly were too old to learn). You know what you get when you hire, say, a burned out teacher to cover education? Or a really tech savvy but wildly introverted 20-something to make cold calls and interview people about city budgets? Yeah. Exactly what you’re thinking.

    6. learnedthehardway*

      What it tells me, is that this company is putting candidates through a disrespectful process in order to see who is desperate or naive enough to be someone they can exploit in the job itself. Not to mention that it is a violation of private information – ie. candidates are entitled to not have their candidacy disclosed to people not involved in the decision-making process. That, or it’s some kind of door-to-door scam sales company, and they’re not really interviewing but rather explaining their process and seeing who will take them up on it.

      If the company was serious about hiring people with less traditional backgrounds, they would structure an interview process that reflects the capabilities they want to find – eg. a case study or sales exercise, carefully developed behavioural interview questions that pose specific scenarios for the candidate to solve, etc.

      1. Margaret Cavendish*

        Right? And they would have accommodations for people who can’t easily access video calls, and for people who aren’t as fluent in English. Which, shockingly, this group has a high overlap with the group of people who have “less traditional backgrounds.”

        This is straight bullshit, is what this is. I hope OP’s friend has other options!

    7. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      If I had a “less traditional resume” I wouldn’t want to speak up in front of those who clearly do… But then, I wouldn’t be applying to a sales position.

    8. Impending Heat Dome*

      I took it to mean, “We can weed out all the POC and immigrants without being dinged for discrimination, because there’s no way they can claim that it was due to the interview”.

    9. Miles*

      If sitting through boring meetings that have nothing to do with you is 95% of the job, maybe this format is exactly what they need. Ignore all the answers and just hire whoever looks the most awake by the end of it. There’s a good argument for eliminating such a position altogether but well…

  2. Observer*

    #1 – WFH with a baby. Your setup is going to be pretty impossible.

    If there is any way for you to find a workspace that’s close by you can make nursing work. When my older kids were infants, wfh was not an option, but I did have a baby sitter that was a short (7-10) minute walk from my office. Most of the time, the kids were on a schedule, so I knew when to head out the door. On the occasions that a kid got hungry early (mostly during growth spurts) the baby sitter learned to tell the signs before the baby was frantic or really upset, so she’d call me and I’d get out there to feed the baby. (I did have some emergency reserves, but almost never used them.)

    1. allathian*

      A workspace five to ten minutes away sounds great. LW, is there any chance your baby’s caregivers could bring the baby to you for breastfeeding during the workday?

      WFH with a baby and a caregiver in the house is one thing, but you need to look ahead. Toddlers don’t understand the concept of having a parent working at home who isn’t available to them, as large numbers of parents learned to their cost during Covid lockdowns when daycares were closed.

      Parents are programmed by genetics to respond to crying babies, especially their own. Even with a caregiver you trust to deal with your baby’s needs immediately in the house, I’ll pretty much guarantee that deep focus is impossible to achieve when your crying baby’s within earshot.

      1. Rosacolleti*

        Yes, when we were in lockdown, our mother employees literally worked from a cupboard and whispered so that their young children wouldn’t know they were there. I never asked how they relieved themselves but I’m pretty sure they never left their cupboard. They were the first back at the office at the first opportunity. So stressful for them.

        1. AVP*

          My cousin left her house in the morning fully dressed, got in her car, drove it around the block, and snuck back into her back door to go up to her home office to work in peace.

          A newborn won’t know the difference as much as a toddler would, but some separation is still really worth it.

        2. Carl*

          Yes. I had a baby Nov. 2019 – meaning, literally the week I returned from maternity leave was when the world shut down.
          Two adults trying to work full time in professional jobs, with an infant in the house (which, thankfully was bigger than a 1 bedroom, but still one floor with limited space to hide) was honestly one of the most stressful and challenging times in my life. And I wasn’t breast feeding.

          We would split day into two, so we each had a 6 hour uninterrupted shift for work. But it was impossible to work uninterrupted those 6 hours. Inevitably, something would come up that required an extra set of hands, even when baby was with the other (very capable, very involved) parent.

          I also think your employer/supervisor/peers could question this arrangement. it sounds like your new, and you seem concerned about the perception – and I think there could be an issue with the perception. I know in my employment we have had issues post Covid with parents of young kids trying to work from home, supposedly with childcare – either a professional or other family members – but it hasn’t really worked out for one reason or another. That’s not to say it wouldn’t work out for you – or that you would not be able to perform all the duties in your job with this arrangement, I just mean there could be a perception issue, even if you are able to do it. And it’s gonna be really hard to do it.

          1. Carl*

            That said, I will say I did have one assistant who worked from home with her 2 children, both under the age of 18 months at the start of this, who had grandparents caring for the children in the home – and she was able to swing it. I never noticed the difference, and I never questioned her availability and focus. She is, though, a really special person, who has an amazing ability to multitask and who never seems to be stressed out or flustered by anything. Literally, the building could be falling down and on fire – and she would calmly begin discussing logistics and options. She was just wired differently. But maybe you are too?

            1. Colleen*

              That’s the thing with this – so many variables: work style, parenting style, home work environment, other care giver styles. I think she’s getting good advice but at some point will just have to give something a go and tweak or change if that isn’t the right thing for her family.

      2. ferrina*

        Exactly this. Parents are biologically programmed to be on high alert for their baby. Babies don’t see that “Mommy is working”; babies see “Mommy isn’t paying attention to me. I want attention- Mommy pay attention!” It’s a lose-lose.

        Being 5-10 minutes away is perfect. As Observer said, babies tend to be on a predictable schedule. You know when to head back to feed the baby; if baby wants an early feeding, the caretaker can call you. The baby can wait the 5-10 minutes while you walk back (not happily, but it won’t cause any damage at all). And you’ll get time to actually focus on work.

      3. Zombeyonce*

        It’ll also create a mess, because every time the baby cries, that means let down for a breastfeeding parent whether or not the kid actually needs to eat. Having to clean up 20 times a day from hearing a baby cry in an adjoining room will get old fast.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            It’s true enough of the time that it’s worth mentioning. People don’t always imagine all the non-glamorous stuff like leakage before having their baby.

            1. constant_craving*

              Her baby is 3 months old. I expect she knows by now whether it’s true for her and knows how to manage it if it is. Things like leaking tend to be a lot worse in the first few months than later one, too.

      4. OP1*

        I appreciate this and yes, I’ll talk to the caregivers about what the best way to meet up will be!

        The whole situation is going to change again around the end of the year, so I’m not really looking for a toddlerhood solution at this point. Just trying to find something workable for the next few months.

        1. Pandemic Parenting is Miserable*

          I think a few months may be feasible. We had a nanny share; I worked in our two bedroom small apartment with our nanny and my kid and another child there for half the week. I couldn’t have been in shared space though, I needed to be behind a door. I much preferred the days they weren’t in our house, and things were no longer manageable once I had a full active toddler. You will need noise cancelling headphones and a lot of discipline to concentrate.

        2. been there done that*

          If it is truly 5-10 minutes between your workspace and your home, you can duck out, breastfeed, and get back pretty easily and quickly. I was adjunct faculty with all 3 of my babies, which meant teach/run home breastfeed/ teach/office hour/run home breastfeed/last office hour. I live a 3 minute drive/15 minute walk from my campus and it was totally doable. I breastfed all of them for almost 2 years this way.

          The key is how much your coworkers/boss cares. My fellow faculty cared not at all, and if fact, a lot of them were doing the same things. But it sounds like this isn’t an issue for you. Hell, just go to Starbucks or the library for 2-3 hr stretches. The bigges hassle will end up being packing everything up every time you head home. Do libraries still rent out study carrels? That would work.

    2. Artemesia*

      You cannot pump and have the baby bottle fed while you are present. The baby will not tolerate that for long and why should s/he? You need a bigger apartment, to do your work in the bedroom and not be visible at all during the workday or to find someplace to work away from the baby.

      It is hard to do this in a bigger apartment, but in a one bedroom it is not going to be possible.

      1. Testing*

        You don’t need a bigger apartment, though. Working 5 or 10 minutes away (assuming this is walking time, not putting the baby in a car seat and driving that amount of time, which is a lot more hassle especially with a possibly screaming baby) is absolutely fine.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        Depends on the baby. Both of mine took the bottle just fine with me present, either from me or anyone, even when I was still mostly nursing. At the other extreme, I also know babies that wouldn’t take a bottle at all.

        You have to know your own baby, internet strangers really can’t predict how it will react.

        1. Artemesia*

          Most breastfed babies are going to insist on Mom if she is present and as the baby gets older this gets more likely.

          And of course they don’t need a bigger apartment if she gets an office out of the home — but that was really not the original question. She can’t work from home in a one bedroom apartment with her office in the living room and a nanny and baby.

          1. Jojo*

            I wouldn’t say most. I think this is the least of the problems. Just the general level of noise and distraction will be an issue. The specific problem of baby refusing a bottle might or might not happen, but she already said in her question that she mostly intends to breastfeed anyway, so that’s kind of moot.

        2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          What is good is that there are plenty of different experiences here, so OP knows of the possible pitfalls.

      3. bamcheeks*

        This depends on the baby! My first was absolutely fine with mix-feeding and quite happily took bottles when I was there. Second never, ever took a bottle, including when she went to nursery at seven months old. She just held out for 10 hours and came home VERY hungry. Highly anxiety inducing for six weeks, at which point I decided she was obviously getting enough water and solid food to cope and let her get on with it. She has not got LESS stubborn in the intervening six years.

        LW, 5-10 minutes away sounds *ideal* to me, especially for the 3-8 months old where the baby is still very dependent on you for nutrition and you are getting used to the idea what you are not with the baby full time. Being able pop home or have the baby brought to your workspace at least once a day makes *so* much difference!

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I just want to underscore that babies are different, and what works easily with one might be a hard no from another. And vice versa.

          Also the same baby can sense that you’re really getting the hang of things, and so pop themselves to a new developmental stage.

        2. Seashell*

          Mine went through a period of resisting bottles for a few months when I was on maternity leave. When he was around 7 months, I discovered that he would hold the bottle himself, but wouldn’t tolerate it being held by someone else, so that worked for when he went to daycare about a month later.

          He’s in college now, so he didn’t starve himself as I briefly feared.

        3. PhyllisB*

          Yep. My oldest absolutely refused a bottle. She learned to drink from a cup at 6 months old.

        4. yeep*

          Just here to appreciate that the child has maintained the personality – mine are 9, 11, and 13 and can concur that how they were as babies has remained fundamentally consistent as they’ve aged.

        5. History Nerd*

          Mine would feed just fine during the day but then spend hours breastfeeding each night after I got home from work.

          Just to reiterate that every baby is different!

        6. Carl*

          “She has not got LESS stubborn in the intervening six years.”
          Lol, isn’t it funny how early their personalities are evident? Both of my kids are essentially the same people they were at birth, they just now have more skills.

        7. Boof*

          +N – my first was a “barracuda” baby who would happy suck/eat whatever; breast, bottle, etc. My second really preferred breast over bottle. My third was more on the whatever category. I had to supplement (I tried really, really hard to the point it almost made both of us sick the first two times to be exclusive; the second one went better but still ended up needing some, but was exclusive for a bit; the third I kinda tried to be eh whatever and may have ended up oversupplementing slightly but hey, in the end we all made it yay) So yeah your boobs and baby may vary wildly.

      4. OP1*

        A bigger apartment isn’t an option right now; our rent would double if we stayed in the neighborhood and leaving would mean leaving behind my in laws, who have a separate lease down the block.

        My hope with this whole situation is that if I’m in the same room as the baby, I can feed him directly. Ideally I won’t have to pump unless I know I have scheduling conflicts with baby meal time, in which case I’ll do it in advance and be gone by the time he gets the bottle. You’re correct that my baby will only eat a little bit from a bottle when I’m in the room.

        1. Lore*

          If your in-laws are down the street, would they be able to take the baby to their house on the days they’re caregiving, or could you go work there? That depends I guess on whether you control your hours enough that you can plan your deep focus projects for those days, rather than nanny days.

          1. Helewise*

            This seems like a good solution. I also wonder if you could do this for just a few months and then switch to the worksite 5-10 minutes away. Younger babies nurse much more frequently and are (sort of) more portable – by the time the baby is six months old you might be okay with just nursing at lunch, or pumping and bottles between, etc. Working from a smaller space once the baby is more aware and mobile is going to be pretty tough so the nearby worksite seems like a gift at that point, but I wonder if you could figure out a middle ground for the next few months as you transition into all of this.

          2. OP1*

            Yes! I wasn’t clear in the letter but the in law apartment is one of my alternate workspaces, and a co-working space is the other. They don’t want to care for the baby in their apartment because of their somewhat chaotic dog, but I can go there during the day.

            1. constant_craving*

              You mentioned there being other spaces in your building you can take calls from. Would it work to use those other spaces as your default work location, and only pop back into your apartment for feedings?

        2. Rebecca*

          For your own sanity, see if the baby can stay at the in-laws house at least a couple days a week. That’s what I do. My mom takes the youngest to her house when I work from home. And then I go into the office on the days she has a nanny. (And I live in a 5 bedroom house with a dedicated office. It’s still extremely difficult; I cannot fathom doing it in a 1 bedroom apartment.)

          1. Venus*

            I don’t think it’s fair to have the grandparents look after a baby several days a week, but if they could host baby and nanny a few days a week then that could help (or host OP1 at a desk).

            1. Tio*

              OP said that they have already arranged the care with a combo of the grandparents and nanny, so it sounds like they’ve worked out what days they’re doing it already, which is up to them. But I agree with Rebecca, try and get them to take the baby to their house if at all possible.

        3. 600_sq_ft_fam*

          Is your bedroom big enough to have your office set up in there along with the crib, and do you work primarily from a laptop? You may need to get unconventional like consider a Murphy bed or put your dresser in the living room. I’m in a 9×11 bedroom in NYC and we could have fit a desk and a mini crib in our bedroom with our bed but would have had to move the dresser out. As it was we have a TINY 2nd bedroom so when the baby was with still sleeping in our room, that was an office, and then when she moved out the office setup came back into the bedroom.

          The other thing that helps is having a standing desk that goes high enough for the entire chair (back and all) to go under it when we’re not using it. Spending $1-2k to make your bedroom modular and very efficient is much less expensive than moving to a bigger place or away from the grandparents.

          When the baby is awake, you work in the bedroom with the door closed. When the baby is asleep in the crib, you work from whatever table you likely have in your living room. If you must be at your desk setup and can’t move around, you need a travel crib for the baby to nap in the living room. Wear noise canceling headphones and have the nanny text you if they really need something with an agreement that you are not going to come out of the bedroom no matter how much crying you hear.

          My kiddo is now in daycare, but when I first went back to work and my husband was on parental leave, that’s what we did. It’s also what we did when she was home sick a bunch during the first year of daycare and we would get backup care.

          It would not have been possible for me or any other mom I know to work in the same room – the baby very early on just would not tolerate seeing mom nearby and not being able to be held and given attention by mom when they ask for it. Popping out to feed and then leaving did work for me and many other moms I know because the baby was happiest right after breastfeeding and was most amenable to being handed back to someone else.

          As for appearing professional to work, I’d really suggest just not talking much or at all about your setup when you go back, whatever you land on. Make it a habit to blur your background always, not just when a kid might wander into it. Don’t ever mention you’re in a one bedroom with a nanny and a baby nearby. And I’d resist bringing the baby into any meetings. My advice might be different if you’d been there longer than 3 months before your leave, but you don’t know them well and they don’t know you well.

          1. Gila Monster*

            I also live in an NYC apartment. I had a hybrid work arrangement ten years ago, before it was cool, with my infant and nanny home. My desk was in my bedroom, and I had a bathroom that I could get to without him seeing me, so I only came out if I was going to nurse him, and to get lunch/hang out a bit. Otherwise, the baby was in the living room, his room, on a walk, etc., with the nanny. This worked just fine, for all that he was a baby who wanted to be held by Mommy every waking minute, but I needed to be disciplined about when I came out. You absolutely cannot plan to work in the same room as your baby; it will be miserable all around, and also create an impossible work situation for your nanny.

            Before you go back to work, try to get the baby used to bottles by pumping and having other people (your partner, a grandparent, etc.) feed the baby while you’re out of the house.

        4. Chuckles*

          My daughter refused to take a bottle at home, whether I was there or not. I was working full time, but my partner was in between jobs when she was tiny. Unfortunately, because of the bottle refusal, if she was home sick from day care (which she was, every other week), I also had to work from home in order to breastfeed. You are right that it is much faster, but in my experience, its vastly harder to fit into a workday with a little one. Instead of my 30 minute pump sessions which I could schedule when I was at the office, I had to block my calendar in 90 minute blocks every 3 hours in case she got hungry early or woke a little later than expected. In my experience, babies are very difficult to schedule.

          We’ve also found that our daughter would become very upset and agitated if she saw the other parent but couldn’t be with them. In our 3-bedroom house, this was mostly avoidable, as we could text in advance of heading down to the kitchen or using the bathroom. But in a one-bedroom apartment where that’s not practical, it could be very disruptive to your kiddo to see you but not be with you. Some kids might be fine with this – ours was decidedly not.

        5. MountainAir*

          OP1, just want to say that I completely empathize with what you’re trying to juggle here. Nobody likes pumping – plus frankly it’s way more time consuming than BFing, which is really annoying; when I went back to work after my first was born, I put off pumping as long as possible. I was lucky, then, to have the kind of “commute” (like 3-5 minutes on foot) that you’re considering for an off-site work location, and mixing things up so that some days I worked from home for a couple of hours before going in, or sometimes I went in for the morning then came home, helped me feel like I was finding some kind of balance and wasn’t away from my kid all day – but I still had access to quiet space to focus and accomplish what I needed to. I’d echo commenters above and say that as you ease in, you might have an easier time getting away with nursing on demand vs. pumping even if you’re off site, as long as caretakers coordinate to give you a heads up.

          One note of caution is that once your baby gets a little older they’ll start to experience separation anxiety, and it will be a lot harder for them to have you around *sometimes*, and/or know you’re there and not be able to go to you. Right now is sort of the easiest time as far as being able to dip in and out. Eventually I had to switch to just pumping during the work day because it upset my kid way too much to have me coming in and out. But that wasn’t as much of an issue until closer to 7-8 months.

          The reality is that our maternity leave policies in this country are atrocious and none of us should be contemplating these dynamics when you have a 3 month old. That said, if you have the option of having a work space 5-10 minutes away, I would take it and then start figuring out how you want to balance your time. See if it works for you to start out with part of the day working in the living room while the baby is napping and you don’t have meetings, then go to your office for deep focus or meeting time off site. Eventually you’ll figure out the balance that works to make sure you have the right workspaces to get your job done and also feed your baby. The combo of in law + nanny care + nearby work site is fairly optimal as a setup, and as you get eased back in this will all feel much more comfortable. It feels COMPLETELY impossible to be away from your baby when they’re this little, but as they get older and you get more into a routine, things will even out and I’m betting you’ll be glad you set up an off site work space!

          You’re doing great!!

        6. Mona Lisa*

          I am fully remote and had a baby while in this job. It would be possible to WFH with the baby in the apartment if you can move your office to the bedroom behind a closed/locking door, but especially as the baby gets bigger and mobile, it will be impossible to concentrate with them in the same space as your work. I have a larger house with a dedicated office space, and it’s still difficult when my toddler is on the same floor or having a meltdown somewhere else in the house.

          Barring the space issue, it is totally possible to work nursing around in the schedule you describe. I would block out a 30-45 minute slot around the feeding times just like I would for pumping and let my PM, who was the primary meeting scheduler, know what those times were for. With a lot of open communication and flexibility between us, my PM and I were able to make it work, and I pumped very rarely when I needed to make large team meetings work.

        7. Observer*

          My hope with this whole situation is that if I’m in the same room as the baby, I can feed him directly

          I get what you are after, but you are just not going to be able to work with this set up. For you to be able to really work, especially as the baby gets older and sleeps less, you need to at least be in a room where the baby does not see you, with a door that closes and where you can pretty much shut out the sound of the child (not for professionalism, but because you don’t want to train yourself to tune out your baby on the one hand, but you also can’t afford to be constantly distracted by the little one.)

        8. pandemic mom*

          Having had a baby in March 2020 and having to work from home with my son in the house from the time he was 3 months old until he got vaccinated at 2 years & 3 months — feeding was the easy part of the equation for us. I could take breaks to breastfeed, and as his schedule got more reliable/feedings less frequent, could generally schedule meetings around being available for them. The issue was more everything else– he hears me on a call and freaks out that he can’t be with me; he’s napping, which is a precious and precarious time and my boss messages to ask if I can hop on a call. [I know you said you can go to common areas for calls, but there will probably be some similar things about being home together.] And I had a designated room for a home office! I definitely agree with Alison that heading to a space nearby– and with the commenters suggesting that caregivers bring you the baby for at least one feeding during the day, versus needing to always head home– seems like a much better idea.

          1. pandemic mom*

            I will also say– I used a Haaka on my off-side while nursing, and froze my supply from that as a stash for a caregiver to be able to give him 1-2 bottles a day as needed, which turned into a routine of one afternoon bottle so that I could feed before I started work (~9), on a lunch break (~12), and then after finishing up for the day, and he’d get fed every 3 hours without me needing multiple breaks. Obviously supply is a hugely variable/personal thing, but something you might check out as an alternative to pumping (which I hated).

        9. Beth*

          I think it’s going to be really hard to do deep-focus work while your baby and family and/or nanny are in the room. (Which I imagine they would be, since you work from the living room? Them staying in the bedroom so you can focus also sounds untenable.)

          But it doesn’t sound like you’ll need to change apartments to get some baby-free workspace. You say you have other workspaces 5-10 mins away; that sounds doable to commute back and forth from, especially once you get a sense of when your baby tends to get hungry. And your in-laws live down the block–could the baby stay with them during the day? or could you work from there while your baby and caregiver are in your home?

          If none of those are viable and you absolutely have to work from home, I’d suggest moving your desk into the bedroom and leave the main living area for the baby/caregiver.

        10. CurrentlyNursing*

          You’ve gotten a lot of advice on this, but as someone who is currently WFH while my husband is on paternity leave and breastfeeding, I just want to say, if you can make it work to breastfeed during the day it is so nice. I agree that it will be almost impossible to focus in a one-bedroom apartment, we have a 3 bedroom townhouse and it’s still hard for me to focus some days, because I hear the baby and want to play with her/know why she is crying, etc. But, it’s really nice to have the bonding time with baby from nursing during the day. And at this point (baby is 6 months old), she is also a lot faster than pumping, so even with a walk to and from the office, it would probably not take much/any more time.

          Nursing and work are complicated but doable – I’m sure you can find a solution that works for you.

          1. Snax*

            Agreed. As long as you can have a separate workspace somehow, it really is worth it to minimize pumping and will ease the transition back to work. Good luck!

        11. LC*

          As a fellow planner, you want a plan in place.

          Could you start off at home as planned, see how you go, and switch to the other location if you need to?

          If the other location is only 5 minutes away, you could go to baby or baby could come to you.

          I would say toddler impossible but baby maybe depending on nanny, grandparents, baby and your personality and traits.

          Thinking of you so much (Australian returning to work recently after 15 months of maternity, holiday and long service leave at half pay, and government support) and wishing OP all the best and please send us an update

      5. DrSalty*

        This isn’t true for all babies. My son is happy to both nurse from me and have me feed him a bottle. It’s a thing that’s hard to predict. Agree her presence will be generally distracting though.

        1. Artemesia*

          I was writing my dissertation when my son was a toddler and he simply could not understand why when I was ‘doing nothing’ I would not interact with and attend to him. I had to get morning day care where he was happy to play with other babies and I could focus — that and I wrote between midnight and 4 am.

          The older the baby gets, the less they are likely to accept Mom being in the house but ignoring them. I’d be thinking of ways to work out of the house even if it is a coffee shop afternoons and absolutely figure out how to create office space in the bedroom where the door can be closed. It may be necessary to put the crib in the living room.

      6. anne of mean gables*

        I mean, you may be able to bottle feed with mom in the room – my babies have always been fine with that (both did different versions of combo feeding including breast, bottle, and formula, almost from day 1). I think the main point for OP is that babies are exceedingly different from one another (as are parents, in ways you won’t necessarily be able to predict) – and so while she may be able to wfh in the way she describes, she should definitely have a back up plan in place and ready to deploy.

        For me personally, the hiccup would be that I have a really hard time attending to work when my baby (or child) is in the house with me. Physical separation really helps my brain slot into ‘work’ mode.

    3. CityMouse*

      I was sort of forced into this setup during COVID. Before then my son was at my work daycare and I would go down to nurse him or pump in my office. I’d take the 5 minutes away and plan about 3 breaks to nurse and/or pump.

    4. LisTF*

      It can be done but it may not be as convenient as you hope. I did it for 8 weeks in a 1 bedroom hotel suite. My husband was in and out, I worked at a desk in the bedroom so I could shut the door for meetings, and nanny and baby were in the living room. I was exhausted, distracted, and frequently interrupted. The nanny was lovely but had a hard time deciding whether to interrupt me to soothe a fussy baby or deal with the crying inevitably distracting me anyway. It’s also a big difference between being in close quarters with just family versus a third party. I ended up having to pump sometimes anyway because the nanny would take the baby out in the stroller to tire him out or if I had important meetings or just because the schedule was off that day. Also, cluster feeding is brutal.

      We later moved to a 2 bedroom house with the bedrooms on a different floor and it was MUCH smoother. If you aren’t moving, I would recommend establishing a semi regular schedule of in person feeds and pumps. Work at the location 10 min away and pop home once or twice and pump the other times.

      1. OP1*

        Thank you for weighing in! I think the “who’s in charge” problem is already starting to emerge. My in laws are lovely but not super confident with the baby yet.

        We’ll work on getting a feeding schedule in place! The lack of predictability definitely makes this harder.

        1. BikeWalkBarb*

          One thing I did with my two babies based on advice from a parenting book that you may already be doing and I’d start if you aren’t: I charted their days so I got familiar with when things usually happened. Different symbols for awake/happy or calm, awake/fussy, asleep, feeding, diaper change. Seeing that in a linear representation let me recognize certain patterns so even if they were off by 20 minutes or so I knew when to expect the need to nap or eat. Great information for the grandparents too: “Baby usually gets fussy around 10 or so and then they’ll want a nap; when they’re fussy around noon it’s because they’re hungry.”

            1. pandemic mom*

              I used the free version of Huckleberry for this, fwiw. I will say it had a LOT of options I didn’t use or stopped using (we did not need to track diapers; I never really used their ‘optimal nap timer’ premium feature), but also some that did come in handy (medication tracker, in particular, when he wound up needing a daily maintenance medication)

              1. Cascadia*

                Love the huckleberry app! My nanny, my husband and I all had the app on the phone. We just used it to track eating and sleeping. It was so so so helpful though because we didn’t have to do the communication challenge of how much did she eat/sleep, when was it, etc. It was all just in the app. I could easily look at the app and see – oh baby hasn’t eaten in 3 hours, she must be hungry right now! You can have multiple caregivers on the app updating it, and it’s so very helpful.

            2. JustaTech*

              Yes, we still use Sprout with our toddler to track his naps, but when he was littler we used it to track everything – sleep, feeds, diapers and pumping.

              The couple of times I WFH while my husband was still on parental leave (because of COVID in the office) it was really hard for me to actively ignore my crying baby in the next room (and I at least have a dedicated office where I can close the door).

              A lot of the OP’s success with this will depend on their specific baby (and nanny and milk supply and work schedule), so the thing I would recommend most is to collect data and be prepared to change if what you’re trying isn’t working.

        2. Artemesia*

          any chance the in -laws have a space where you could work on nanny days? I realize that they may be as crowded for space as you are, so that might not work and a fussy MIL offering tea every 15 minutes may be as hard as a baby for working. I’d be scoping out coffee shops, and work spaces — being out of the house at least half the day would make your life much better.

          I assume you WFH partly because your business doesn’t have in house space; if that is the case, maybe they would pay for a workspace. Or maybe you just suck it up and find a share space and pay for it.

    5. Earlk*

      My boss during the pandemic had this set up and it was frustrating for everyone- including her and the nanny. It’s one thing to ignore a crying baby when it’s not yours and not that close by, but your own baby in the next room will be near impossible.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        My boss (well before the pandemic) brought her baby to work and left it to cry in a closed office. I could still hear the little fella, and ended up asking if I could please pick him up to soothe him. I used to walk up and down, reading my printout, stopping to make a correction on paper, with him dribbling on my shoulder. The boss asked how I could do that, whether it was productive to work like that, I just said that if he was crying in the other office I was at zero productivity. Poor little kid.

    6. Emmy Noether*

      I am not as pessimistic as most commenters. This could work, depending on some factors.

      – How big is this one bed room? There’s at least a bedroom and a living room. Any other rooms? Is it possible to have a setup where there’s a baby-space and a work-space, and at least one door in-between? Can you set up work in the bedroom? Where will the baby nap? The two spaces should mix as little as possible.

      – How walkable is your neighborhood? It’s going to be summer. Will the baby spend a lot of time outdoors?

      I did a similar thing as a sort of interim solution before a daycare spot opened up (also, this was early pandemic, so we all found creative solutions to things). I was no longer nursing though, and the baby was ~8 months old. It was also in a 1 bedroom apartment. Half the week, I was at work, my husband wfh, and the nanny in our home. Other half, I worked from home, and my husband took care of the baby in the home. Workspace was in the bedroom, door was closed, and they were outside a lot anyway. Turns out I am able to ignore a crying baby if a person I trust is taking care of it.

      Also, those common spaces to take calls and workspaces 5-10 minutes away sound like lovely things I wish I had had access to. It sounds really flexible. I think you can try out different things and see what works.

      1. amoeba*

        I think the last sentence is key here! If I understand correctly, LW has access to those spaces, anyway, so sounds like a perfect scenario to play around with what works best. You could even split the days (which I guess you already do when you take calls elsewhere?) and stay home when the baby’s quietly napping or outside and if it gets too distracting/you need to concentrate, you can head out to your workspace. You don’t need to decide straight away, see what works best for you and your family!

      2. OP1*

        – no, there is no place I can work on the apartment where the baby won’t see me — it’s just two rooms and a bathroom.
        – yes, super walkable neighborhood! Many of the kids friendly activities are a little farther away (15-20 min) but there are options closer to us as well

        At this point I definitely think it’ll be an evolving situation; hoping to keep up good communication with my in laws so that we can change things up whenever a problem arises. Appreciate your perspective!

        1. Emmy Noether*

          Mh, in that case I think that being in the same space as the baby and caregivers is actually going to be really tough. A door is just a piece of wood, but in my experience, it does change things dramatically.

          With that information, I think I’d prefer those other workspaces. 5-10 minutes is fairly close! If you can get the baby to feed on something resembling a schedule, plus have an emergency pumped milk bottle in the fridge, that should be workable.

          Plus, as others said, the baby’s needs and routines change so quickly at that age! You’ll likely have to adapt your plan ever so often anyway.

        2. whimbrel*

          hey OP1, I went back to work while still breastfeeding and worked about 10 minutes walk from home. It was close enough and my work was flexible enough that I could take both my breaks together and push my lunch later to have time to walk home, feed kiddo, and walk back for morning break and at lunch.

          If your alternate workspace is walking distance, having the nanny bring your baby to your workplace for feeds seems like a really good option – that way you are not losing nursing time to the commute and your baby gets a walk outside, and you have a quiet workspace where you’re not constantly on subconscious baby alert. I was astonished at how keyed in I was to literally every sound my baby made for like the first two years, it would be like a record scratch happened in my brain and dragged my attention away from whatever I was doing.

        3. Artemesia*

          are you saying the bedroom is not closed off with a door? If it is an efficiency with a bedroom nook then this just won’t work; focus on finding out of house space. If the bedroom has a door, then move the crib out and a small desk in. When we first moved to Chicago we were in a one bedroom/one bathroom sublet and my husband was doing a lot of writing. We didn’t have a baby of course which made it easier. But we set up office space in the bedroom which isn’t used much during the day anyway and it worked well.

          You can ‘lock yourself in’ mornings taking a break to nurse and use the bathroom, then maybe after morning nursing, the nanny can load the baby up in the pram and go for along walk and perhaps get coffee out herself or go read in a park with the baby so when the baby sees you and nurses s/he is not then fixated on being with Mom.

          Both scheduling and flexibility will be your friend.

        4. Miss Muffett*

          If you really have no door, maybe a folding screen that you could put between you and the space the baby will be will help – I think the theme you see from parents who have tried similar things is that it’s hard if you are visible to the baby. A screen won’t help with the sounds but it can at least make you “removed” insofar as the baby is concerned and that might make a difference, at least in the early days.

      3. Observer*

        also, this was early pandemic, so we all found creative solutions to things

        Yeah. The thing is that at this point, people are going to be less willing to cut parents slack for the disruption that happens with this kind of set up. And beyond that, a lot of people working with these creative solutions found themselves frustrated and extremely stressed.

      4. atalanta0jess*

        I’m not either, although I think it’s going to depend a lot on all the personalities involved, and the physical space. One bedroom is pretty tough I think, and will likely get tougher when the little one gets less little. (Because kid will know you’re there, because kid will need a place to nap that isn’t a room someone else is in.)

        The sleep situation honestly seems like the hardest part to me, because I do not think you can work in the same room as the nanny/baby, and I also think it’s unlikely the baby will be able to sleep in the same room as the nanny once they start to get bigger. But my kids were bad nappers, so I could be wrong.

        I work from home with my kids here and another caregiver, and breastfed from the time I went back from leave around 3 months until she weaned at 2.5 years. We had more space though. Things that help:
        Noise cancelling headphones
        Not being visible
        Having a locking door (for mobile kids)
        Having clear, firm boundaries (for mobile kids)
        Not leaving my room, lol. Inconvenient, but when you leave, kid will want a few minutes. Routine and boundaries will help here too.

        If I had a nearby space, I might opt for that choice. It IS stressful hearing your kid be upset and it does pull me out of focus. Nearby would be the best of both worlds for me, and I’m not totally sure you would need different milk arrangements, at least not for super long.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*


      LW1 One thing I was unprepared for with breastfeeding was the physiological response to hearing my baby cry.

      You can get headphones that prevent your co-workers from hearing it. You and your nanny&grandparents can be be committed to zero interruption. But your body would still be a distraction when YOU hear the baby cry and your milk lets down. For me, it was much harder to ignore than menstrual cramps: physical sensation, plus getting somewhat frantic if I didn’t at least try feed baby. (And mine was colicky so for months food was frequently NOT the solution.)

      I’m sorry. I’d like to be able to say otherwise.

    8. Justin*

      I (a man) had (or, became a father to) a baby just before lockdown. So there was no one visiting our one-bedroom, obviously.

      Even just me and my wife and the baby was too much. We had no choice, but my work suffered until I felt safe enough to go to my building’s shared workspace (which was large enough I was far from the one or two people who would go there). And I obviously wasn’t even the one breast feeding.

      1. i like hound dogs*

        Yeah … when I had a baby we were in a small two-bedroom house with my husband working from home and me caring for the baby. Even THAT felt too small and hard to do all the things and we ended up moving.

        My baby was on the more difficult side, though.

    9. Senga*

      As others have said, so much depends on the baby’s preferences and schedule as much as your work and care arrangements (not to mention your milk supply). My children were very different – one happily took a bottle of expressed milk, one refused a bottle ever and went hungry and so on.

      Things that worked: caregivers bringing baby to me at a set time of day, feeding baby then leaving for a two to three hours of work elsewhere, having my parents look after baby at their house while I worked at mine, caregivers taking baby out for a couple of hours while I worked then coming home. It gets easier as the baby gets older!

      1. Senga*

        Adding something else: one of my babies adopted a schedule with little prompting from me, the other was far less predictable (the first I could write a timetable for carers and baby followed it plus or minus 10 minutes, the second I could write the order in which things would happen but not the time). Both had their advantages and disadvantages – schedule baby hated when things deviated for some reason, unpredictable baby was pretty chilled – and we adapted!

    10. Azalea Bertrand*

      Eldest was a toddler during lockdown, second is currently 10 months, I work/ed from home with both and my husband has had two stints as primary caregiver. I’m lucky enough to have my home office in a small room in our yard, I have excellent headphones, and I STILL hear the baby crying and get distracted. I can’t imagine trying to do that from my living room!

      Definitely take the 5 min away option or ask the grandparents to take bub to their place since they’re close by. Without having that space it’s so hard to define when you should step in and settle bub vs when the caregiver can handle it – even when that caregiver is the child’s other parent let alone a grandparent or non family member – and that makes it so so hard to concentrate on work. Even if they promise not to interrupt, you can’t tell your hormones to turn off.

      Conversely, I have regularly fed while on calls and that part has never been an issue. If feeding is well established and quick you may be able to manage it, it’s just impossible to take notes at the same time. It takes a bit of practice but I’m now at the point where my husband can hand me the baby mid sentence and I can keep my train of thought going/respond to questions. No way I could have managed that with my first but every baby is different. Very much agree that pumping takes much longer than a direct feed, so if you can make the bf work it will be far less messing around, cleaning, sterilising, pumping, labelling, worrying over volumes etc etc etc. But them bringing baby to you 5 min away at 3-4 semi-pre-determined times each day is way more workable than your living room.

      1. Jackalope*

        Yes, if the alternate work space is that close then I would highly recommend going there and having someone bring you the baby at feeding times. It’s close enough that it won’t take a ton of time out of everyone’s day to get the baby there, and while it’s not as convenient if, say, baby drifts off to sleep after eating, it at least gives you work space.

    11. Laura*

      When my first was a baby we had my husband take a year off his grad program and stay home. I worked about 10 min away and was able to come home and feed the baby on a schedule during the day supplemented with some pumped milk for times he was hungry off-schedule. If you have flexibility in your schedule you could probably make it work to have baby at home with caregiver and you working elsewhere.
      FWIW I did not enjoy pumping but I strongly suggest trying to get your baby comfortable with at least the occasional bottle feedings so if you want to say, go out for a nice long dinner or even an overnight away you will have the option to pump and have someone else feed your baby. Future you will appreciate the flexibility even if the idea of going out or being away from your child now seems out of the question.
      And just a plug (for not just OP but anyone reading along) that breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing! I had supply issues with my younger and we did a combo of breastfeeding/pumped milk/formula. It meant I didn’t have to fuss with bottles when we were out and about but if I didn’t pump enough at work I wasn’t crazy stressed about it, we just made up the difference with formula.

      1. OP1*

        Thanks for sharing your experience! We’ve been doing bottle practice since he was just a few weeks old so he’s definitely comfortable taking one; I didn’t want to feel solely responsible for feeding him and luckily it has worked out so far.

        1. Eli*

          Hi! Just want to share my experience. I am currently working from home with a 7 month old. I was able to get a lot done wearing my baby, although it started hurting my shoulders as she got bigger. I could also nurse her in her carrier. This set-up helped with post partum anxiety. I recently hired part time babysitters, but for a while, my partner and me would switch off and I would wear her while working for practically half of the day.

    12. JSPA*

      It depends on the details of the setup. If there’s a mini fridge and the bathroom is either en-suite or pass thru, such that nanny or parents and baby are in the bedroom, and the door to the livingroom only opens when the LW chooses for it to happen… and the LW has excellent noise-canceling headphones…and the baby is already comfortable nursing (only) every couple of hours, I suppose I could see home being more efficient than even a 5 minute commute. (Probably more realistic to pump enough so there is a “no feeding these next 2 hours” option in case of back-to-back meetings.)

      But I’d do a dry run (so to speak) with both sets of carers. If you can’t get undisturbed 1-3/4 hour blocks multiple times a day at home (and to be clear, that means being as unaware of other goings-on, as you were pre-baby) its not likely to work as well as you need it to.

      1. Dahlia*

        I’m going to gently encourage everyone to remember the nanny is also a person.

        If I was hired for a nanny job, and they expected me to stay in a single bedroom for 8 hours a day, I would quit that job because that would be awful.

    13. learnedthehardway*

      This CAN work – I had in-home childcare and worked from home full-time while nursing my youngest. My oldest was 4 years old and going to Pre-kindergarten at the time.

      Why it worked:

      1. My mother-in-law was staying with us and took care of my baby when I was working, and later I had daycare that I could drop my (then) toddler off to. Having reliable, highly competent childcare is an absolute must. The baby has to be happy with the carer and you have to be confident that the person caring for your baby has everything well in hand.

      2. I had ample space – ie. 2 doors and a hallway between my workspace and the rest of the house. I cannot overstate the importance of having your own QUIET space to work in. Having noise-cancelling headphones for video conferences is also key. You need to be able to work while your baby has a crying fit.

      3. The ability to schedule your work – if you want to continue to breastfeed, you need to be able to block out time for it in your calendar and more-or-less stick to that schedule. I was able to breastfeed until my youngest was 2 yrs old. The amount went down over time as he started baby cereal and then solid food, but he flatly refused to take a bottle. So at first, I had to feed him every couple of hours – we got really efficient at it. Over time, we moved to a schedule that he would feed when I was on breaks.

      In the OP’s situation, it sounds like their main constraint will be office space that is sufficiently separate from their baby – working 5 – 10 minutes away and having the baby brought to her for feedings may be the best solution, especially as the baby becomes more mobile and louder. Toddlers and 3 yos are much more challenging to deal with than infants, when it comes to working from home.

      1. Observer*

        This CAN work

        Under very specific circumstances, which don’t apply to the LW.

        I had ample space – ie. 2 doors and a hallway between my workspace and the rest of the house.

        The LW doesn’t even have one door. All of the other things could probably worked through, if the Nanny is excellent and able to just handle stuff on her own. But this is really a deal breaker.

        1. Artemesia*

          yeah if the bedroom doesn’t have a door then this is not a one bedroom apartment, it is a studio and it will be impossible. She needs to use the nearby workspace.

          1. JSPA*

            curtain on shower rod or cardboard pseudo door (or large movable empty box in door opening) could work to break the sight line, but if baby hears mom, being ignored by mom will likely not land well.

            Could be that the baby gets walked (even if only inside the appartment building halls) when mom is speaking…but is out of sight (and mom silent) when mom is concentrating without speaking.

        2. anon here*

          I basically agree that being in eyeshot of the baby at all times is a dealbreaker.

      2. OP1*

        Thank you! it seems like the separate workspace is a critical piece here. I’ve gotten away with it so far because my baby is pretty chill but I think he’s going to learn object permanence in the next month or two and then I’ll need that distance.

        1. JSPA*

          I mean, maybe you do have that 1 baby in 500 who really is that chill? And you are likewise chill?

          I don’t want to say, “don’t dream of trying.” But yeah, you have a longer list of “why it’s unlikely” than “why it should work.”

          So it behooves you to have that alternate plan in place, as well as pre-planning to make “home” possible short term.

          Any such planning will also be helpful if (e.g.) daycare is closed, parents place isn’t available that day, there’s local weather that keeps everyone sheltering in place, and / or workspace has electrical or plumbing work being done (or whatever).

    14. jasmine*

      LW mentions common areas in the building, so I’m wondering if they could try working there if they don’t want to be 10 minutes away?

      1. Artemesia*

        we have friends in high rises which have libraries and conference spaces as well as a lobby. I live in one that only has a lobby — there would be no space outside my apartment I could work.

        I think my situation is more common and if I were the OP with her doorless bedroom I wouldn ot even attempt to work at home during the day — I’d be planning outside workspace.

      2. OP1*

        I’ve been experimenting with this, there are several options in my large building! It’s pretty good for an hour here or there but I think the ergonomics are going to get to me long term.

    15. Lenora Rose*

      This: 5 minutes away is not too far to make nursing work IF nanny and grandparents are alert and willing, especially if you do pump occasionally for just in case or just for relief – more so if there’s a nice park or such where you can meet partway.

      Pumping may be less fun, but there will be times when pumping in advance means having a few more straight hours of focus time (or sleep! Never underestimate the power of “someone else can feed the baby while I keep napping”) instead of feeling like you’re constantly flipping gears. Even as a stay at home mom I pumped as well, not often but enough to feel like there was room for emergencies.

    16. Flying Turtles*

      I don’t think it’s feasible long term and I’d definitely have an offsite option set up but this is such a precious time and three months is so young — in OP’s shoes I’d cheese it for a couple of months. Hang around the apartment answering emails until morning snacktime. Pop back in for a longish lunch. Feeding options for a six month old baby are so much bigger than for a three month old baby — I’d be tempted to stretch the rules a little until solids are a fair part of the diet.

      1. Jojo*

        This doesn’t sound super plausible, if i’m understanding what you are saying. I might be misinterpreting but “stretch the rules” sounds like you’re saying get less work done for the next few months, and then expect things to magically get easier at age 6 months. A) I think it’ll take quite a bit longer than just 3 months for the baby’s diet to be substantially different. Formula or pumped milk is of course an option, but that doesn’t really change at 6 vs. 3 months. My baby is 6.5 months, he eats a tiny bit of messy mushed fruit, but he still breastfeeds or has bottles for 99% of his calories, and that’s fairly typical. B) Even several months is a long time to hope that your coworkers and boss will let things slide.

    17. Commenter 505*

      #1 — Can the nanny bring the baby to you at your workstation 5 minutes away for one feed, and you either pump for the other, or use your lunch break to run home to nurse. Actually, it should be the reverse order: you go home to feed the baby as an early lunch break, and nanny brings the baby to you mid-afternoon.

      Depending on what time you start work (and if you have any flexibility), it might look like this:

      Feed baby at wake-up, and as soon before you leave the house as you can.
      Run home 3-3.5 hours after the last feed (lunch break)
      Return to work
      Nanny brings baby 3-3.5 hours later, mid-afternoon
      Feed baby at work/nursing station
      Nanny takes baby home
      Finish up your work day, feed again when you get home

      Keep in mind that breastfeeding will look different in the coming months. Newborns’ needs are so much higher than even a 4-9 month old who’s settled into a routine and is eager to start solid foods. It won’t always be this all-consuming.

      Is it an option is to propose a work schedule where you work 2 long days and 3 half days (or some other configuration), and add in one pump on the long days or ask the nanny to bring the baby to work.

      If baby is still taking 2 naps or one long 2-3 hour nap, can you bring them to your workplace, feed them right away, baby-wear during their longest nap, and feed when they wake up? After that feed, you can send or bring the baby to the nanny. This trick only works for the months when they’re still sleeping a lot. For me that was about 6 months, YMMV.

  3. Lucie*

    OP1, i am in the exact same situation as you are. Except my baby is 6 months old, his father isn’t around, and grandparents aren’t available. If there is no other option for you (there isn’t for me), go for it. You can do it!!

    1. High Score!*

      Moving the workspace into the bedroom might make this solution more viable. If she had good noise blocking headphones and the ability to focus on chaos.

    2. Cyanotype*

      I am a professor and when I am not teaching classes or in meetings, I usually work from home. When my child was an infant, my husband was his primary caregiver and I had no problem doing my work at home. I usually worked at the dining room table – I didn’t have a home office at this point, though our apartment was bigger than your set-up. I do deep focus work and I was fine, though I should add that I am typically pretty good at focusing (maybe a little too good!). One huge caveat is that I really did set my own hours (outside of classes and meetings), so it wasn’t at all an issue if I alternated periods of work and time spent with my child. If I had to be available for a regular 8-hour workday, it probably would have been more difficult. I pumped and nursed, and I found nursing to be soooooo much less of a hassle and was nice time spent with the baby (until the teeth came in omg).

    3. Van Wilder*

      I’m working from home and breastfeeding. I agree, it’s so much easier and more rewarding than pumping. Pumping also takes more time because of the set up and clean up.

      If you can figure out a way to work without having the baby in the same room as you for most of the day, I’d say definitely go for it.

    4. Working Mom*

      yes! happy to see another positive response :)

      OP1, I was fortunate to be in a 2 bedroom apt but had similar situation. I agree with others that having a door of some kind would be incredibly helpful. One thing I didn’t see others mention is that this set up is going to depend HUGELY on how capable your nanny and the grandparents are. My nanny was incredible, she got baby out the house for walks but also in general was really interactive and caring. It might be tough in the beginning as baby adjusts to new caregivers but I found being around to help that transition helped my baby bond with nanny in beginning and I got back to work faster.

      Breastfeeding is so much easier than pumping in my opinion. Your baby’s personality and the caregivers abilities are huge variables you’ll have to navigate but sounds like you have options so I say go for it and enjoy being able to be closer to your baby while they’re still so little!

    5. SweetTooth*

      I did this with my first kid while my husband was on parental leave (we took our leaves staggered to delay needing childcare). I was in a separate room with a closed door though for my own FOMO. I think it would be hard on everyone to be in the literal same room. Nursing directly was so much easier for me than pumping though! And it took less time, at least by the time I was back to work. I wasn’t in a meeting-heavy role, but I would pump if I expected a meeting to conflict with a feed. Overall, however you approach breastfeeding (pumping or nursing directly), it is disruptive to the workday. So you just kind of have to accept that and go with what works best for you and your family.

    1. Zeus*

      Agree, I came to say the same! #3 sounds like someone who would be fun to be friends with.

    2. Adrina*

      It wasn’t for me but I think it is an interesting example of that discussion that was on this site some time ago about how dramatics either improve a story or is perceived as embellishments as the truth. I believe the story but the descriptions of outrage just feels off to me. (Possibly I dislike the phrase “the kicker” because the notalwaysright readers have gotten so tired of it, and the writing style felt closer to that site than askamanager.)

      1. Myrin*

        Interestingly, I normally don’t mind a bit of embellishment and naturally tend towards that type of storytelling myself, but in this particular case, it seemed over-the-top exaggerated to me. Possibly for exactly the reason you mention, the outrage – none of what’s in the letter seems worthy of actual outrage to me, yet it’s written as if this (annoying, bad idea, not recommended – yes) happenstance was the worst thing to ever happen.
        I do love to see people’s different reactions to writing styles, though – makes for a much richer (online) world overall!

  4. JR17*

    Nursing is indeed a million times better, and usually much (much) faster, than pumping. By a few months old, a lot of babies will finish in like 8-10 minutes, while a pump will take at least twice that long (and maybe longer as the baby gets older). I worked at home while my baby and toddler were with a nanny, and it worked great for us, but we were in a four bedroom house and my office was the farthest from the spaces where they hung out. (They also left the house a lot, and that was helpful, too.) I don’t think it would be doable to work in the living room. Bedroom might work if you have an easy relationship with the caregiver. If you have tension with any of the grandparents providing care, I think it would be super hard.

    1. KitKat*

      My baby consistently took 30 minutes per feeding, and I breastfed until 7 months. It’s common that the time gets shorter but not necessarily something you can count on. I would have had a very hard time breastfeeding after returning to work, pumping took the same amount of time but was much more flexible (OTOH I hated pumping and started dropping sessions as soon as I could).

      1. JR17*

        Yes, very true, all babies are different! And you’re absolutely right, a plus of pumping is that the exact timing is often more flexible. I shouldn’t have said better (by which I meant a better experience for mom, not better for the baby), but rather that I personally found it much easier and a more positive experience. For me, pumping got hard somewhere between 4 and 6 months, but I also wasn’t in a regular pumping routine, which I think makes a difference. Probably the advice to OP, then, is to figure out what works best for now but be open to the fact that that might change, or her ideas about what’s best might change.

      1. Former college rep*

        What I focused on was the fact that OP has only been there for three months. I think it is possible if there are problems with the set up she will get much less slack than she would get if she’d been there a while.

    2. samwise*

      My child was an indolent nurser, lol. Pumping was always faster for me, though certainly less pleasant.

      1. Mavis*

        Yes, just want to add another “I didn’t mind pumping” to the chorus in case the idea of it is starting to worry the OP or others considering it. Pros/cons to both and it’s not an either/or! Neither is also a valid option as is some/all of the above!

        Everyone finds their balance and it will look different for every family. Best of luck to the OP.

  5. TheBunny*

    Unless it’s an entry level role, I don’t understand group interviews.

    I was in retail for years and we would do groups of 5-7 people for Holiday temp hires… but as they were being hired as traffic control and for their willingness to talk to groups of people, it worked.

    For any we thought would have more defined roles, they got the full interview. I can’t fathom what this company is thinking.

    1. GythaOgden*

      Yeah, that’s my experience with group interviews. My only supermarket interview was like that and it was, as you say, to assess how people worked as a team. There was a short private session with each person, but the focus was on interaction and integration, which is really important in a collective environment.

    2. amoeba*

      It also makes more sense if you’re hiring more than one person, anyway! For me “all in this group who are good will be hired” is a very, very different vibe than “these are your competitors for the one job we’re offering, now go!”

  6. TCO*

    OP 1, having you in the room is also going to put your nanny in a tough position. They will feel constantly watched with no space to establish their own routines and style with your child. Imagine your boss watching constantly over your shoulder–that’s the setting you’re creating by being constantly in the room. It’s going to be harder to retain top-quality nannies in this setting.

    If you’ll only be working a few minutes away, could your nanny/carer bring your baby to you for at least one nursing session a day?

    1. KateM*

      Five minutes away is so near, I wouldn’t think twice about working there in peace and driving home to nurse every two hours or at call if necessary.

    2. OP1*

      Thanks, this is a really useful point. I don’t want to be a micromanager! I can already tell my MIL is swooping in to quiet the baby when he’s only a little bit frustrated, I think because she doesn’t want to disturb me. It doesn’t seem very sustainable.

      1. Malarkey01*

        And it goes both ways- you’re in a newish job but you’re going to also have an audience all day long for your calls and work style. I love my mom and she is the least opinionated and intrusive person I know, but when she had to stay with us for a month to help care for my husband post surgery I was EXTREMELY aware of her in the background when I had meetings, listening to the calls and forming silent opinion.

        1. Observer*

          And it goes both ways- you’re in a newish job but you’re going to also have an audience all day long for your calls and work style

          That’s a really good point. And that’s true even if MIL doesn’t say anything.

        2. Artemesia*

          It is the essence of ‘mother’ to be judgmental and intrusive. I am aware of that as a mother of an adult and with a SIL. Although I try to be careful to not weigh in on things not my business, my very presence comes with the baggage of having been the one who raised her and as a surrogate for my SIL’s own intrusive mother and domineering sisters.

          Her very presence will be a problem for many no matter how lovely and helpful she is. If there is no outside space, you do what you must — but if there is that option, that would be the first choice. With other options backup for days the nanny doesn’t show or whatever. And be looking to get the baby into daycare by the time they are walking. A good daycare is expensive but it takes this enormous burden off your shoulders and toddlers tend to love it. So get on the waiting list for the ‘good places’ now.

      2. Cascadia*

        Yes, I was a nanny back in the day and hated it when the parents were home. The kids act differently when their parents are there, and it didn’t allow me to build my own relationships. I would hate this setup if I were your nanny. I strongly recommend you plan on working in another building.

      3. learnedthehardway*

        Agreed – it’s lovely that your MIL is so helpful, but it’s also teaching your baby that they can fuss and get instant attention. Of course, this is okay for a wee infant who needs to know they can trust their adults, but as your baby grows (and they grow rapidly), they will need to learn how to deal with frustration – it’s part of their natural development. Being frustrated means tears and screaming from babies / toddlers – they have to go through the process of learning patience, but it’s not a quiet one. It’s also not ideal to have parents who are stressed out of their minds that their child is making noise while they are trying to work.

        Having some space is important for you, your baby’s caregiver, and your baby.

    3. uncivil servant*

      My thought is that it might be hard to get a good nanny that you trust who wants to work in that set up. I can imagine that a nanny who has the choice of two clients, one who will leave her and the child alone in the home and the other who would be right there in the room, will opt for the first family.

  7. Stella*

    LW1 – Would it be possible to work the 5-10 minutes away and have the nanny/grandparents bring the baby to you at regular intervals? My youngest would not take a bottle so the babysitter/grandparents would drive him to my work and nursing in the car was my afternoon break for a while.

    1. OP1*

      Yes, this is likely an option! Or I can take the walk back, although it’s a little more interruption.

      1. Onwards and Forth*

        This is what I did when I first went back to work – it was super convenient. I was based further from home, so my parents had a room to base themselves with my son (6mo) elsewhere in the building and brought him to me for feeds. I was lucky to be able to offer that as it was for a temporary project that I was managing through my company, so I made the arrangements, and they loved the chance to spend more time with him for a couple of months. We also had a backup (pumped) bottle and formula as Plans B & C. They loved taking him on adventures around the neighbourhood, but given you have a comfortable home for them to be based in, that sounds even better!

      2. KateM*

        It may be easier for you to take a walk back (or if you had a bike…) than getting the baby to you – less preparation time. But really whatever works better!

        1. learnedthehardway*

          A daily walk with the baby – that’s part of general childcare. Except on the coldest days, of course.

          1. KateM*

            Yes, but if the baby is already crying from hunger, it would be faster for OP to hurry to the baby than to hurry the baby to OP.

      3. Observer*

        Or I can take the walk back, although it’s a little more interruption.

        It is – but it’s also a chance to get out of your chair and get some exercise. So, if you are in a very sedentary situation, this could actually be a nice side effect.

        Of course, if that doesn’t work for you, see if you could have them bring the baby to you, but it’s worth thinking about.

      4. EmilyClimbs*

        I would highly recommend this, and suspect it will work out way better for everyone. Having a separate workspace 5-10 minutes away honestly sounds like a best-of-all-worlds/dream situation, and one I wish I’d had when I was breastfeeding my babies (even if I’d had to travel back and forth myself, but times 100 if someone could have brought the baby to me.) Is there something about it that concerns you? What about the “crammed into a tiny apartment” setup seems preferable to you?

      1. GythaOgden*

        There was a UK TV show called Celebrity Squares which had multiple cameras trained on celebs which showed up on screen as a grid.

        That’s what we joke about when we’re on a Teams meeting. It would be a bit of an awkward interview — I’ve been interviewed by a pair of people on Teams and it works fine, but any more and it would get a bit confusing.

    1. Katie for Scotland*

      I’m pretty sure a dating coach I used to follow ended up on a trivia team consisting of 1 guy and 4 women he’d met on a dating app and invited each as his ‘date’ to trivia night. Needless to say it was not an effective strategy

    2. Felix Unger*

      That was my first thought too. It would work better as a reality show concept than as a hiring mechanism. Either way, I wouldn’t want to watch or be hired.

  8. tabloidtainted*

    #1: I’m team breastfeed your baby. If it truly is unmanageable, you’ll realize it pretty quickly. Have an alternative plan in your back pocket for such an occasion. But until then, enjoy your baby.

    1. Teaching teacher*

      that’s a good point! at first baby will be nursing more often but also sleeping more often and also not able to independently figure out that mom is behind the door and pound on it. that will change but the letter writer can cross that bridge behind she comes to it.

  9. Collaterlie Sisters*

    I have worked from a one bedroom apartment with a baby and it wasn’t a problem at all. You just have to change things up every month or so as the baby’s needs change. Pretty soon it will be much more predictable when the baby will want to feed so you can leave for a few hours to the other workspace and come back in time to feed and baby and nanny/grandparents can leave too. In three months the baby can eat food in between. And you also have naptime. (This isn’t a story about going back to work too early before anyone jumps on that, I’m in Europe and we had up to 3 years’ leave per child, it just made more sense for the other parent to take it.)

  10. Testing*

    2: Of course it’s worth trying to find out if you are doing something to drive people away, but it really can be just longer job searches finally coming to an end that you’re seeing. In my experience, once someone has decided to leave a job, that decision doesn’t change even if they get a new, great boss. All the other, little things that annoy one about the job are still there, and mentally, one is already imagining oneself elsewhere.

    1. Sherm*

      Yeah, I was thinking that, even if they weren’t job searching before OP2 started, they may have started daydreaming about it, imaging themselves in different places and so forth. And although a boss has a huge impact on one’s quality of work life, it’s not everything. There may be other factors nudging them out the door.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      And a direct boss only has so much impact anyway. In this case, it’s very likely it’s due to the old manager and there may also be some people who just dislike the changes because they are changes, but it’s also possible people are leaving for reasons unrelated to the LW or the previous manager, like better pay or better PTO or a whole load of other things the LW may have no control over.

      And some people will like a hands off approach, some simply because people have different working styles and no matter how brilliant a manager you are, your style won’t work for everybody and some because they think they can get away with more. There may possibly be some people leaving because they object to the LW even implementing better practices, because those may mean more oversight or more work for them or that they can’t get away with something they previously did. We finish early all this week and I suspect if a new principal decided to do full days the final week and to have classes for the 3rd years (who start State exams next week) rather than letting them take “study leave” while the other students do summer tests, there would be complaints, even if there were good reasons for that, like ensuring the 3rd years really were studying.

      I agree about talking to people. There can be all kinds of reasons for people leaving. The most likely is the previous experiences but there are others too that don’t necessarily mean the LW is doing anything wrong. (Not saying you suggested she was, just going off on my own tangent.)

      1. ferrina*

        I agree with all of this. Often the people that are job searching won’t stop just because a new manager comes in. Usually the problems in the old manager are tied to broader patterns (or perceived as being tied to broader patterns), or people are so burned out that they need a fresh start, or they are just resistant to change (even change that they want and even change that they have asked for).

        It’s probably not personal. It’s always good to keep those lines of communication open, but OP should really make sure that they aren’t personalizing a desire to leave. Weirdly, I’ve generally seen less attrition when I empathize with challenges. In certain hard times, I’ve even said “I understand why you want to leave. Obviously I selfishly would love for you to stay, because you’re amazing at your job and a valuable member of the team, but I also want you to do the right thing for you, and I’m more than happy to be a reference.” People appreciate when their manager can hold conflicting views as equally valuable (when they are), and go in with awareness and no rose-colored glasses.

    3. MsM*

      Or the burnout is just so severe that having new, better management serves as a confirmation that the damage isn’t reversible and it’s time to start fresh somewhere new. If anything, they may be leaving because they feel like things are finally in capable enough hands they can do that without guilt.

    4. DJ Abbott*

      OP2, what is your goal in managing the team? Do you want a team that conforms to your hands-on style, or are you willing to work with each person’s individual style? If you want a team that conforms to your style, which is completely different than the previous manager’s, then you can expect people to leave.
      I think one possibility is your hands-on style is coming off like you don’t trust them to do their job. So maybe try to be aware of that and respect their space and boundaries.
      They also have to know they can trust you to tell be honest about what’s going on with them and their work and tell them what you want from them. We have a manager who began when I had been here for a year and a half. She asked questions about my work and after I answered them gave me a bad review, saying I was uncooperative and no acknowledgement of my hard work and all the things I do well. I cannot trust her to say what she means, to tell me what she wants, or to have my back, or to be aware, let alone appreciative, of my hard work.
      I haven’t started looking yet because I had other things going on. The assistant manager suggested I have a meeting with her and ask her what’s needed to improve in her eyes. If she doesn’t give me real goals and acknowledgment of my hard work and all the things I do well, I will start looking.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        This is what I wondered. Is the guidance you are giving OP veering into micromanaging? Its a fine line between making sure people have enough information to do what needs to be done and trusting them to be adult enough to do their job.

        You say you got constructive feedback, what was it? You need to really examine what was said and how you handled it? Did you just say thanks for the feedback but that’s just how I am? or did you say let me see what I can do to make things better?

        Also are you getting replacements for the 4 who left? Because if you aren’t more people will leave for reasons not your fault. Burnout is real. Make sure their workloads aren’t becoming untenable trying to cover for 4 people no longer there.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          I’ve definitely had that where I had a manager who was too hands off, would form her own conclusions, take things at face value and act on that rather than investigating anything and then end up with a “Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic” moment, and the next manager after that was so determined to avoid her mistakes that she went too far in the other direction, became a very strict micromanager, and wasn’t quite seeing where that in itself could be a mistake.

          Quite a few people did leave due to that manager (although again, it wasn’t all down to her – for example, one person had wanted to be moved to a different team in the restructure even before she knew who would be manager, but got aligned to her original job, and then when someone left the other team, she applied for that post and got it).

      2. Ama*

        Yes, even if people are asking for more guidance it might still be hard for them to adjust to actually getting that guidance. And I know from experience (getting a new manager after I had been here 9 years) that it’s a really tricky line to walk for a new manager especially with a long-tenured employee. I have tried to give mine some grace –especially because I’ve realized her communication skills aren’t great so she often sends me emails that are really her asking for info that end up sounding like she’s trying to tell me how to do things I’ve been doing for a decade.

        But … I am leaving in two weeks. It really doesn’t have anything to do with my manager and even if she was a more effective manager and communicator there wouldn’t be much she could do to change my mind — I’ve reached the limits of what I can do (and what I *want* to do) in this type of job. My desire to leave was in process before she even became my manager it just took me a couple years to get my plan set up.

    5. Smithy*

      Absolutely all this.

      About 4/5 months before COVID hit, I knew I wanted to leave my job when the time was right. About a month before lockdown, I’d started interviewing, but then in addition to hiring processes slowing and changing, I also wasn’t in the right head space to start a new job in spring 2020.

      Over the summer, I started interviewing again and then basically a year after I decided I was ready to go – I gave notice. It just so happened it was on the week that a fairly significant department reorg was announced, and all of the senior leadership was so concerned that my notice was a reflection of how I felt about the reorg. Which….with all due respect to myself, no one gets a new job that quickly in our industry. And they knew I was leaving for a new job.

      I understood how the optics looked, but I was truly out ages before that reorg was announced. It just didn’t make sense to go until that moment.

    6. Malarkey01*

      It could also be working style. I once thrived under a pretty bad manager because I really knew my stuff and liked that I was left alone to just churn out good work. This was not an ideal setup for the rest of my team.
      When bad manager left, the new controls and set ups put in place were a real positive for the team and organization- but not really me. So I left, it had nothing personal and a needed change but not best for ME.

    7. spiriferida*

      Four months is I think just barely enough time to have settled in under a new manager. Either they gave you the time and were dissatisfied enough job search without giving you a hint of that (unlikely, if they were giving you helpful and collaborative feedback), or they were feeling general ennui about the job and your arrival hadn’t stopped them from a casual search. I think most people could live with a new manager but still wouldn’t turn down more pay, a better title, or so on.

      I don’t agree with the folks questioning whether you’re micromanaging, especially given what the complaints from the team members were about the past manager, especially because one of the feedback points you mention is focusing on team development, which sounds to me like skills-building.

    8. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

      There’s also who the company may have handled the old manager. I had a job that was basically what you are describing, and while the new manager that came in was good, I was still DONE. It had nothing to do with the new manager- she was fantastic. I was just OVER that place. I kept looking, and as soon as I found a suitable new job, I bounced. It had nothing to do with the new manager, and nothing she did or said would have kept me.

    9. Sara without an H*

      Hi, OP#2 — Four months really isn’t that long. Unless you’re grossly overcompensating for the previous manager’s failings, it’s probable that the continued departures were already in the works and have nothing to do with you. Consider, too, that your reports may be fed up with the company, rather than with you.

      That said, take time to really get to know your people. Presumably, you’ll be hiring to replace the people who left. Are there any bottlenecks or stress points that you need to look at? This is your opportunity to draw your staff out about what’s working or not in your unit.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Unless you’re like my manager. I answered her questions honestly, and she gave me a bad review. Now she gets as little response as possible, and more of what she wants to hear.

        1. Sara without an H*

          Ouch! That’s not good. I’m assuming that the OP is trying to do a better job than that.

          Hope you find a better job soon.

    10. Another freelancer*

      I agree with just about everyone in this thread. I can see where someone might have a casual job search and it takes 6+ months to find a new job as they look, interview, and really investigate the next job so they don’t wind up in the same type of environment. Also hiring can take a while, and it’s possible there are a few more team members who will put in their notice in the next few weeks as their job searches come to fruition.

      There is also the weird domino effect that happens when one person leaves and then suddenly a few more people jump ship, too, in the weeks to come.

  11. RedinSC*

    LW4, I took that pay cut, a year ago when I left the job I was so burnt out on, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. So, you’ve just got to weigh everything. I am so lucky I was able to afford that pay cut and still meet my financial obligations. My health is better, my time is my own, and I don’t wake up every day dreading going in to the office.

    1. terrihonk*

      I too took that paycut 7 years ago. It was really hard but I’m so much more fulfilled now than I would have been if I’d stuck it out in my old industry. I’m happier, healthier and way more interesting now than I was then. Apply, explore some options and have a really good look at the life stuff as well as the money stuff.

    2. New laptop who dis*

      I recently took a 10K pay cut myself in order to jump to a different industry. The new role came with vastly better benefits, so I feel like it’s kind of a lateral move. Not gonna lie, I’m feeling the pinch a little financially (especially since everything seems more expensive recently), but the benefit of working somewhere I don’t absolutely hate being is worth it to me. The culture shift made me realize how much I’d normalized a toxic work environment.

    3. Venus*

      A friend worried about taking a pay cut to move to a healthier job, and I pointed out that if she liked the new job and had better mental health then she would save money on therapy and other health expenses to where it would be close to balancing out financially. It’s important to look at the overall financial situation, and consider if some expenses will disappear with a better job. This isn’t often the case but something to keep in mind.

      1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

        Yep! A job we dislike makes us more tired, which translates to more takeout, less time for hobbies, less exercise, and a host of other ills. When I’m happier in my job, I cook more and take fewer cabs. Saves a lot of money.

    4. AngryOctopus*

      I took an $8K paycut to come to my current job. I weighed it up, and leaving the job/manager I hated plus having better benefit structure (larger company) meant that I took home the same amount of cash at the end of the day. Worth it. And now 2 years later I’m back where I was salary wise but getting the better benefits, so I’m pretty far ahead. Plus I now love my job and really like my manager! That part can’t be discounted, when you’re not dreading going to work because your manager might decide that he needs to be angry at you because an experiment didn’t work, or because you didn’t get data back as fast as he thought you should.

    5. B*

      I took a massive pay cut (like my new compensation was 25% of my old one) to go from a big law firm to a civil rights non-profit. It set me up on a path to do work more aligned with my long-term goals and compatible with having a life outside of work. Sometimes your salary progression is just not going to linear, and that is ok. And I’ve since advanced to make more like … 50% … of my old salary!!

    6. Anon For This One*

      I’m in a similar situation now. I was recruited a couple years ago and am making more than I ever thought I would. I’m not even burned out, per se, but I’ve never actually been given the advanced, creative work I interviewed to do and am currently in week 9 of waiting for an assignment. Even aside from anticipating a layoff (which keeps me from enjoying that high salary), the boredom and sense of being useless are bad enough that I’d consider a cut in salary to work somewhere the problems are more suited to my temperament.

      1. RedinSC*

        I think that’s key right there, where “the problems are more suited to my temperament”

        The problems, in my previous job, my temperament was no longer suited to dealing with those problems. Getting out was my best option. I don’t regret my 13% paycut.

    7. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I am on Team OP4 Should Apply for the New Job. An application is not a binding contract, nor even is interviewing or being offered a job. If you want to see what’s out there, OP, it would hurt absolutely not at all to just send over your resume and cover letter (aside from the time it’ll take you to write/update them). You never know what this might lead to; maybe the company is planning to hire a higher-paid position soon but hasn’t posted it yet and they might see your resume and realize you’re what they’re looking for, or maybe they work with another company who is looking for someone like you. (I know this is AAM fanfic but it’s happened before so is not outside the realm of possibility.)

      Plus, as AAM pointed out, $10k is not so huge a difference that you can’t ask for them to come up a bit from that, to either match or at least come closer to your current salary. And even though the ad says new hires would start out at the bottom range, it’s possible they might actually mean “entry level, just out of college” hires and they would see your real world experience as meaning you’d be earning more even if that experience in the field is 10 years out of date and your more current experience is in a different field.

      I would say, though, that if you’re really concerned about the salary difference and definitely wouldn’t take the job if they can’t budge, you should tell them that in your first screening call or interview and ask if they would consider a higher salary for you. But if you know you would rather take pay cut than keep working where you are now, you could wait until an offer before raising the issue.

      Apply for the job, OP! And let us know how it turns out! Best of luck!

    8. Van Wilder*

      LW4 – I obviously don’t know your financial situation but keep in mind that if you’re not burnt out, it opens up all kinds of possibilities for saving on convenience items and allowing your mind to think creatively about workarounds. Maybe even a side hustle to makeup the difference? $10k seems like a small price to pay for happiness and sanity.

    9. I Have RBF*

      I took a $15K pay cut for my current job. But it’s 100% remote, and my new boss and company have been amazingly supportive when my spouse ended up with cancer. I can juggle my schedule to take her to appointments, I can take a mid-day nap when the stress pegs my stress-o-meter. Sure, sometimes I work in the evening or on the weekend for maintenance requirements. But it’s not like I go out in the evenings or on weekends much, so the trade-offs work for me.

    10. Mari*

      I took the pay cut. It was a hard decision, because I had better job security (on paper), a more prestigious title, and higher pay at the current job. I had to keep reminding myself, yes, but I hated my job and my mental health was suffering. I finally decided that I would take the pay cut temporarily and then look for something else. I ended up loving the new job and stayed there for 20+ years. In the end, though the pay was lower at first, they were more generous with raises, so it worked out to the same in about four years. One of the best decisions I ever made.

  12. Ex-nanny*

    To the first person, as a former nanny: absolutely not. Even if you were stringent about staying in the other room and could bear to hear baby crying without interfering etc, once baby gets old enough to realise you’re present but unavailable things go south very fast. Unless the baby is super chill or prefers the nanny to you (and most parents don’t love that experience), at some point they’re going to start screaming for you if they know you’re around. It’s not fair on a nanny, or you or baby really. Wfh with a nanny sounds ideal at first glance, but practically I’ve never seen it work.

    1. BubbleTea*

      I was a nanny in a scenario where it did work, but it worked because the house was three floors high and the parents worked on the top floor while we were on the bottom, and I took baby out as much as possible. Same room or next door wouldn’t have worked at all.

      1. JR17*

        I agree, it worked just fine for my family – I was able to come out to use the bathroom or get a cup of tea and the kids rarely freaked out about me leaving again. They didn’t start busting into my office until they were older, like 5ish – before that, it’s like they’d forget I was there when I went back into the office (which was at the end of the hall, so slightly removed but on the same floor – but definitely more removed than OP is asking). That said, I worked part time (so fewer opportunities for issues to arise), and yes, they left a lot for parks, kid classes, play dates, etc. And while this set up did work well with a more experienced nanny we had for a year or two, most of our sitters were college age or immediately post-college, so they probably had less concern about feeling micromanaged (though I mostly stayed in my office anyway, and I wasn’t close enough to overhear every little thing). It was indeed still hard sometimes to decide whether to intervene when they cried more than normal.

    2. CommanderBanana*

      ^^ This. I was a nanny for a while, and it was vastly easier for both me and the kiddo when the parents weren’t home. To be honest, I don’t think I’d take a nanny job where the parents worked from home.

    3. Laura*

      We made it work but it was my husband and our at the time 2.5 year old. Husband basically hid in our combo bedroom/office upstairs all day and only came down when nanny and child were out of the house or child was napping. I also suspect this worked because at the time our child was going through a super intense phase of only wanting me and was a lot more chill about dad being home but unavailable. As always, your baby/child may vary.

    4. A Manager for Now*

      I’m currently doing it with a 2 year old – I have a door to a bonus room I can keep closed (and often do, especially at the start to leave our nanny as the Adult In Charge), he has his own room, and my nanny takes him on “field trips” pretty much everyday to get him out and about and interacting with other people. I do also think my kid falls under the “super chill” category, though, so maybe we just got really lucky.

      This comment is a good reminder, though, to double check my boundaries about when I’m visible to my kid and what I allow him to do/interact with me on, so thanks!!

  13. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (group interviews over video call) – yeah, this doesn’t sound like a great experience. I think there’s an opportunity here though: You (your friend) get to see and hear other people’s answers and how they approach the interview. Likely there’s something you can learn from those, whether it is “that’s a good way of answering that question, I hadn’t thought of approaching it like that but I will next time” or “hmm, hearing someone else say that answer out loud I realise now ‘I’m actually a perfectionist’ (or whatever) doesn’t come off as a good answer to ‘what are your weaknesses'”.

    1. Allonge*

      Which is one of the reasons this is a strange setup: you cannot ask any technical questions as the person answering last will have heard three different answers already – how is that fair?

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        They say it’s a sales position. It’s unlikely there are any technical questions being asked. I think we can assume that if OP’s friend says it’s normal for the role and industry, then it works for them. In a sales position they’re selecting for people who are competitive and outgoing, and “selling themselves” in this manner probably works for them. I’d hate it too but I’m not in sales and never would be.

    2. unpleased*

      I don’t think these kinds of interviews are uncommon in sales or other positions where being outgoing and competitive are required. I had one for a fundraising job. You do get an advantage in being able to hear others’ responses to being posed a scenario, which is interesting if nothing else. It can test whether you can fine-tune a response to a situation under pressure. It did mimic fundraising in the sense that I to be able to focus on my own performance regardless of what was happening around me. It also tests how well you can perform active listening and confidence in your interactions with people you don’t know well, which is important in sales and fundraising. Once I moved out of the group interview I could ask follow-up questions about work policies, bonuses, etc.

      It’s not my favorite interview type. I did well in that job but I do think the interview was effective at helping people understand whether they would even want that job.

      1. ABC*

        Yeah, I think people saying “I would hate this kind of interview” are sort of missing the point. I would not want to do that kind of interview either, but I also wouldn’t want to work in a competitive sales position. An interview like this is specifically meant to screen out people who wouldn’t do well in it and therefore would have a lower chance of satisfaction and success in the position itself.

  14. Maestra*

    #1 I worked 5-10 minutes away from my kids’ daycare and if I fed them at drop off, went during my lunch break and fed right at pickup I could make it well through the day with only 1 (and sometimes no) pump sessions.

    tbf I also produced really well and was able to pump enough for when my kids needed milk during the day.

    tl;dr I’d go for the not-home work location, but know you can may be able to continue mostly breastfeeding.

  15. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (new manager people still keep quitting) – yes, talk to them. If you have HR it may be that they (HR) pick up on this anyway and want to get to the root of it – recruiting replacements is expensive for the company in many ways, as you know. But ultimately, these people are self-selecting out of the company even despite the changes you are making. So it may not really be about your (and the previous person’s) management style as such, but perhaps the previous style was more aligned with the company culture as a whole and that’s what they are responding to. Or it may be that the job market is picking up (depending on field, area). Another way to look at it is you now have a chance to shape the department in the way you want with the people you want, instead of inheriting a pre made team of people you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen.

  16. porridge fan*

    OP1: once the baby is older and has a more established routine, can you carve out specific times when you will be at the workspace doing deep focus work, and times when you will be at home and available to the baby at short notice? If the nanny knows that you will arrive home at (say) 11am and 2pm (or whatever works for you and baby), it might make life easier for everyone.

  17. Elbereth Gilthoniel*

    #1 – this is doable, but I think the most important thing is that it will change almost month to month. You and the caretakers will need to be flexible and willing to adapt as the baby grows.

    For baby’s months 3-6shi, this should be relatively straightforward if your bedroom has a closing door, the living room outside space is appropriate for naps, and you can deal with not going out of the room when the baby is crying, etc.

    After that, it gets easier in some ways but harder in others. At 6 months babies are sitting up, sleeping through the night, can start to take solids. The feeding schedule starts to get predictable and is quicker. But they are also much more aware of you being in the apartment. So you may have to pretend to leave, have the caretaker take the baby out for an activity, and then come back in and close the door. This is easier if it is your deep working time and they can’t hear you on a call if they return. Also if you can stealth to the bathroom.

    Something I would recommend is trying to get the baby out of the apartment as they get bigger. Visits to parks are great. A nearby library may have a children’s section or storytime. Even going to a playground and watching the big kids play or exploring crawling can be fun. Swim classes or music classes are also popular choices. It’s great for both caretakers and the baby to get out of the apartment doing different things!

    1. Emmy Noether*

      I agree with this.

      For the baby being aware of one’s presence being a problem though, again, depends on the baby. My son (9 months now) has always been a super chill baby and will happily wave to me as I walk by to get a snack and then go right back to playing peekaboo with grandma (whom he only sees every few weeks).

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Definitely dependent on your baby, and it varies SO wildly.

        I absolutely could have worked from home with my oldest.
        There’s no way in h-e-double toothpicks I could have worked from home with my youngest.

        This dynamic even carried into the the Panini Years, where my oldest was perfectly happy sitting next to me doing with work, while my youngest had to park in another room away from us to function properly.

    2. amoeba*

      I don’t have babies myself but from what I’ve heard from friends, I wouldn’t bet on six months olds sleeping through the night… at least not the babies I have in my circle! (For the rest, I agree. But just… don’t worry if your one year old child still wakes up multiple times during the night. It’s normal.)

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Agreed. TIL and I was going to say the same thing.

          I’ve lived with fragmented sleep so long that part of me fears it’s permanent.

        2. ScruffyInternHerder*

          And I’ve recently learned that once they hit the “teenage growth spurt years”, guess what? They no longer sleep through the night and wake up in the middle of it and go forage for food!!!

        3. Laura*

          Oh no. My oldest was ~4 and I thought that was bad!

          My younger (almost 5) mostly sleeps through the night but probably wakes me once a week for problems ranging from “I don’t feel well” to “my water bottle is empty” to “fluff my pillow”

      1. Emmy Noether*

        You’re right. Also, the baby may sleep through the night at 6 months and stop again at 7 months, triggering an existential crisis for the parent at 3 in the morning (I thought we were done with this???! Will it ever end??! Will I ever sleep again?!!!). Ask me how I know.

        1. JR17*

          Sooooo been there… my babies both slept through the night early and then STOPPED. So frustrating!!

  18. fluffy*

    OP3 makes me think that some management consultant got way too into The Apprentice and other “compete for a job” reality TV shows.

    1. Van Wilder*


      I once went to a group interview for a job managing a new Thing that was supposed to be opening. It was so awkward. I didn’t feel comfortable answering candidly with the other candidates there (which maybe is a way of paring down the less assertive candidates?) The owner chose this method because that’s how his friend at LuLu Lemon said they did it. (Totally unrelated business.)

      When he asked about our concerns for the business I candidly answered “profitability” because it was a totally untested business model. He was slightly defensive but polite and assured me that they had all that covered. I never got a call for a second interview. Also the business never opened.

  19. Lorax*

    OP1, I’m currently pregnant and considering a WFH setup with in-home help out of necessity (all of the childcare facilities in my area have 500+ family waitlists), but I can’t imagine doing that with only one bedroom. I’m on the fence with three bedrooms and an office! Personally, I would never be able to focus at all, more or less achieve any kind of deep focus, with the distraction of crying/playing noises/etc. Plus, I can’t imagine that being a good working environment for your nanny or other care providers. I wouldn’t want them to feel hovered over, micromanaged, self conscious, anxious about noise, or cramped. While being immediately present might be a little more efficient for breastfeeding, it seems like the other downsides are only going to get worse with time as the baby grows. Admittedly, I haven’t done any of this yet, but if you have the option of a separate work location 5-10 minutes away, I’d jump on that immediately, and plan to schedule feeding breaks with a backup reserve of pumped milk.

  20. Cordelia*

    OP1 – can you test it out? Have a grandparent come round and stay in the living room with baby while you hide out in the bedroom and try to focus on something complicated for a set period of time. Personally I don’t think it would be possible to focus properly when your baby is crying next door, but you could see. Also see how grandparent feels while the baby is crying – are they able to manage without disturbing you? Does your presence add to the stress for them?

  21. WG*

    OP 4: I once took a significant pay cut due to burn out and overwork that was impacting my health. My spouse and I determined we could make a few lifestyle changes to afford the cut. The lower stress job allowed me to go back to school and get the degree needed to then advance in my career.

    Money isn’t everything. I evaluated my physical and mental health, along with enjoyment of what I was doing for 40+ hours a week. I don’t regret having made that decision.

    1. Catwhisperer*

      +1 to this. I took a 20% paycut when I moved from the US to Ireland, but my overall mental health and lifestyle is so much better than it was when I made more money.

  22. Mornington Crescent*

    Oh hey, I had a video interview in a group very much like the one #3 is describing. It was a big red flag!

    I got head-hunted by some recruitment agency and they invited me to an interview to a job I hadn’t applied for without telling me more details. I was desperate to get away from a narcisstic bully of a boss, so I went along.

    It was a dumpster fire. I was in a Zoom session with 6 other people and I think I got maybe 3 opportunities to speak. They were speaking to ALL TWO HUNDRED applicants this way, then to be considered for round 2, you had to submit answers to 25 questions in the next 12 hours. Oh, and the job entailed supervising a team of FIFTY. None of it seemed like the actions of a normal, healthy workplace.

    I withdrew my application immediately after the interview, blocked their contact and told the recruitment agency I didn’t want to work with them if that was the calibre of job they were going to find for me. I didn’t hear from them again.

  23. Ferret*

    OP1 for what it’s worth if you have an option to work 5 minutes away and pop back for feeding that seems like the most appropriate solution. For a couple of months last year I rented out my spare bedroom to a friends partner, who was using it as an office/place to watch the baby (he was a writer who could work at his own pace) while she was working nearby ( in a building you could see from my window). The baby was a couple of months old but it seemed to work well for them and she was able to pop over very quickly when required. It was workable for me because they were on another floor and he was frequently taking the baby for walks when it got noisy.

  24. Varthema*

    LW1, first of all, sending a hug because I know how you feel 10000%. But working in a 1-bedroom with a baby is going to be an absolute nightmare. It is so so so hard to trying to work when the baby’s crying. And the caretaker will find it a million times harder to soothe the crying baby when the baby knows you’re nearby (and they’re clever little gremlins), so the crying will go on much longer than it would if you weren’t home. If you find otherwise, you can always give up the space and spend more time at home.

    There are a few other good suggestions here for working around it. But you’ll find your rhythm!

    1. KitKat*

      Seconded. We’re in a small house (3bd but a small floorplan all on one level) and it is really hard on days when I have a lot of meetings and the baby is grumpy. And that’s with a dedicated office (one of the bedrooms) where I can close the door.

    2. samwise*

      Another possible issue if you can hear baby crying: If it was anywhere feeding time, I’d letdown whenever I heard my child crying. I cannot tell you how happy I was when I could finally dump the pads and wear silk blouses again.

  25. Michigander*

    LW1, is the plan to only do this when the baby is still nursing and then move to an office when they get bigger? Because I will tell you from experience that once they do get bigger, it will be very hard to try to work in the same space as a 1 year old (or older) without them wanting to climb on you, grab you, sit on your lap to see what you’re doing, etc. It won’t matter if there’s a nanny there to try to keep them away, there will very likely be multiple times a day when a toddler is trying to climb on you while you work, or crying because they aren’t allowed to be near you.

    But there’s no reason why you can’t try it to start and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, then you can go for the space 5-10 minutes from home and try to arrange nursing visits/trips home.

  26. Emmy Noether*

    Question for the US commenters familiar with this way of describing living spaces (and maybe that’s also used elsewhere?).

    What, to you, is a “1 bedroom”?

    Because that could be an apartment with one bedroom, one bathroom, and one other room that has a kitchen in one corner and the entryway in the opposite corner. Or that could be an apartment that has one bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and an office, all off a large hallway. And those are not AT ALL the same thing.
    Or would that office count as a bedroom because it could be converted to one? How do you determine what is a bedroom anyway?

    I’m used to a system of just counting “rooms”, which are everything except kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. So my examples would be a two-room and a four-room.

    1. bamcheeks*

      We use one-bed / two-bed in the UK too (with the result that new builds have smaller and smaller bedrooms, because you can still advertise something as “two-bed” even if there’s no room to walk around the bed.) Overwhelmingly, a one-bed will have a bathroom and a open living/dining/kitchen space, so you technically *could* have multiple other rooms, but I can’t think of one I’ve ever seen.

      1. Ferret*

        Yeah, my place is defined as a 2-bed, but I could use my living room/office as a third bedroom. I assume the OP is describing a setup where there are basically only two rooms (bedroom + living room) where a person can reasonably work or hang out for a decent lenght of time, and that any other rooms are too small or limited to offer much relief

    2. Michigander*

      I very much doubt the LW has a dining room or office. For one thing a second room would probably have been converted to a nursery by now, but if not her desk would be in there and not in the living room. And dining rooms are uncommon in most apartments, unless you have a big fancy one with more than one bedroom. I would say one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen of indeterminate size.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        Ah, interesting. I used to live in an apartment that had one bedroom, one living room/office, one dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom, so that’s what I was imagining in my head.
        The kitchen wasn’t big enough to eat in, so we had to have a dining room (culturally and personally important to eat meals at a real table). A corner of the dining room later became the nursery. When that became unworkeable, we moved.

    3. It’s Suzy Now*

      Yeah, the assumption with the phrase one bedroom is definitely that it’s a bedroom, a bathroom, and either a living room and kitchen, it or a “great room“ there is an open plan, living room/dining nook/kitchen. If there were more rooms, I really think the letter writer would have described it, because it would be an unusual situation for a one bedroom apartment.

      There are legal requirements for what can be described as a bedroom, I don’t know if they are the same state to state, but around here there has to be a window, a closet, and a solid door for it to be considered a legal bedroom. If there’s another room the size of a bedroom that can’t legally be called one, then the description of the apartment would generally be something like one + den, or one + bonus. (People often make these into offices, but frankly, it’s not uncommon for people to put beds in them, legal or not.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        In Indiana, it doesn’t count as a bedroom if it isn’t on or above the ground floor, even if it meets all other specifications.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        Due to the closet requirement, my current apartment has zero bedrooms with those criteria, lol.

        I once lived in an apartment where the bedroom also lacked a window. Wouldn’t recommend.

        1. Jack Russell Terrier*

          Most places I know that’s illegal because there has to be an egress for somewhere designated for sleep. What people do themselves is of course different.

          1. Emmy Noether*

            Now that I think about it, all the windows in that apartment had bars anyway (not a prison, just ground floor in a big city), so no help with egress.

            The saving grace of that apartment was that it was in Paris, and we could afford it.

        2. Clisby*

          I’ve never heard of a closet requirement for a bedroom. only 2 of our 4 bedrooms have closets, but they clearly are bedrooms. (house built in 1925.)

    4. Myrin*

      Yeah, from the headline, I imagined an actual “Ein-Zimmer-Wohnung” (good god, is what I thought wrt this specific scenario) but from the description it must be a “Zwei-Zimmer-Wohnung” because OP calls out the bedroom and the living room independently but it doesn’t sound like there’s any additional rooms.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Ein-Zimmer-Wohnung would probably be described as a studio apartment. One-bed means the bedroom is a separate room. I think the US and UK are the same on this one!

        1. amoeba*

          Although I guess a flat with an open “Wohnküche” (so, big kitchen/living room combined situation) might still count as an “Einzimmerwohnung” but also as a one bedroom?

          This system confuses me, as well. (Don’t get me started on the Swiss tradition of adding “half rooms” for whatever reason, so 3 rooms almost always become 3.5, even though there’s no extra space… but I’m digressing!)

          1. Tired Introvert*

            That’s interesting! I’m in Québec and we use halves as well, I think to represent the bathroom? For example, I live in a 4.5, so that would be 2 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom.

            1. Emmy Noether*

              ah, you count the kitchen? Because we don’t! And do two bathrooms add up to 1 room?

              That should make for some surprised expats!

            2. amoeba*

              Something similar, yeah, but I tried to look up the rules and it doesn’t fully make sense! For instance, an open living room/kitchen apparently sometimes counts as 1.5 rooms while a living room plus closed separate kitchen can end up as 1 in total? Also, sometimes there are x.0 flats and I can’t for the life of me determine the deciding difference to the majority of x.5 ones…

          2. Emmy Noether*

            Interesting, I found the .5 rather useful to signify one very large room that can have double use, or a small awkward space that doesn’t count as a full room. But you’re right that it’s rife for creative interpretation and a lot of advertised .5 are probably .1 at best.

            1. amoeba*

              Yeah, that’s what I was used to from Germany – here, it’s just always .5 for, like, 95% of flats, no matter what!

        2. ecnaseener*

          Correct, US is the same on that. With the caveat that there are requirements (size, 2 means of egress including windows) for what can legally be called a bedroom in real estate listings, so you occasionally see a “studio” with an extra room that fits a bed but doesn’t technically count as a bedroom.

    5. Lady Lessa*

      I’m in the US, and the way I count rooms are that bedrooms have closets and have doors. I have a two bedroom with a den, and if I really needed 3 bedrooms, the den could be used. It would be challenging because of no closet and no door that could be closed. My eating area and living room is one large rectangle with a small kitchen separated by a counter from my eating area.

      1. amoeba*

        So, how would you count a place with a small corridor, separate, close (small) kitchen plus two rooms with doors? One or two? I mean, it basically offers the same space as you describe, so for me it would be two rooms, but one of those would have to be the living room, right?

        1. bamcheeks*

          UK answer: nobody builds stuff like that deliberately, because what gets built is incredibly rigid and inflexible. If something got converted, a cheeky estate agent would try and market it as a “two-bed”, and it would go viral on social media with hundreds of comments talking abou how disgusting it was to claim this is a two-bed as if people don’t need some living space.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            In an older building round here that would be a one bedroom flat. There’s always one room big enough to hold sofas and chairs and a table and so on, counted as the living room – it might have the kitchen in one corner, or the kitchen might be a tiny separate room.

            (Of courses, two people could rent it and sleep one in each room, but it wouldn’t be marketed that way.)

            It sounds like wherever ameoba is counts total rooms, whereas the UK counts bedrooms and for everything else you have to read the details…

        2. Lady_Lessa*

          The way that I count rooms in my apartment is 2 bedrooms, both with decent closet space and a closeable door, 1 den and 1 living room. Not counting kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The den is partially closed off, so beads or a curtain could be hung to give the room more privacy. By fire code standards, it could be a legal bedroom, also, because it does have a window.

        3. Parcae*

          Another US person here. Assuming the two rooms were safe to sleep in (broadly, they need a window), I’d call that a (very) small 2-bedroom. It wouldn’t be a typical layout, but back in my student days I lived in a 3-bedroom apartment that didn’t have a living room; there was just the kitchen with enough space for a small table and chairs. I had two roommates, so all three bedrooms were used as bedrooms.

          I now have a spacious 2-bedroom unit all to myself. There’s an open kitchen with dining space, a fairly large living room, a bathroom, and two bedrooms (each with a door, window, and closet). I use the second bedroom as a home office, just like the couple who lived here before me, but it is still (in US terms) a 2-bedroom.

          Since 1-bedroom doesn’t really convey the size of the unit, someone writing from the US would typically specify if there’s any additional non-bedroom space that could be used. 1-bedroom plus loft. 1-bedroom plus den. 1-bedroom with separate dining room. Etc. Since the LW only mentioned a living room, we can be pretty sure that’s all there is.

        4. fhqwhgads*

          So, one thing is we list by number of bedrooms but we also always list square footage. So a 1 bedroom with a galley kitchen, open living room, probably dining nook moreso than “room”, and a bathroom could be a wide range of things, but one that has a den or bonus room, even though it’s still listed as a 1 br, is still definitely going to have more sq ft.
          Also in addition to the stuff other people mentioned about what defines a bedroom (egress, a door, a closet) there’s usually minimum dimensions. Like everywhere I’ve lived building code says it’s not a bedroom unless it’s at least 70 sq ft AND has to be at least 7×10. So an 8×9 room with a closet, a window and a door is still not a legal bedroom.
          The layout you’re describing in your example pretty much doesn’t exist…unless it was some kind of weird construction that split up a larger unit into two smaller ones, or some owner did something really specific for themselves and then tried to rent it. But remember having a door doesn’t make it a bedroom. It’s just one of several requirements for calling a room a bedroom. I guess if both the rooms in your example were big enough, and had closets, it could plausibly be called a 2br, but no one would take that as genuine if it meant the place had no living room. So yeah, one’s the living room.

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Bedrooms at least in my part of the US also require a window. So you can’t convert part of a basement into a legal bedroom in most cases. (This is fire code, about an emergency exit, not about quality of living in the space.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          My husband insists on sleeping in the basement during the summer (because it’s the coolest area of the house) so I am pricing installation of egress windows for that exact reason. (The fire code, that is.)

        2. Jackalope*

          Yeah, I had some friends who converted part of their originally unfinished basement into bedrooms, and I remember that being one of the sticky points; they had to add a window in one and convert the tiny window to something bigger in the other. (The basement was only 3/4 below ground so it was feasible but still a big pain, although having the extra rooms was super helpful once they were done.)

      3. AngryOctopus*

        When selling my grandma’s house, we learned that bedrooms also should have their own heat source (in New England, at least). We couldn’t advertise the “master” bedroom as such because it didn’t have a radiator!
        That house was built in 1896 and had a ton of other issues as well, so the best thing was finding someone who wanted to tear out a lot and start over.

    6. Hlao-roo*

      In the US, I have lived in/had friends who lived in a few different configurations of “one bedroom” apartments. From roughly smallest/fewest rooms to largest/most rooms:

      – bedroom, bathroom, one other room that was kitchen/living room/door to outside of the apartment
      – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen with eating space, living room with door to outside of apartment
      – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen with eating space, living room, small “entry way” room with door to outside of apartment
      – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen without eating space, dining room, small “entry way” room with door to outside of apartment

      My friends and I called all of these arrangements “one bedrooms,” even though there’s obviously a big difference in living in the smallest of these configurations vs living in the largest.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Reading back over my comment, I realized I missed a room in my last bullet point. It should be:

        – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen without eating space, dining room, living room, small “entry way” room with door to outside of apartment

        1. amoeba*

          Hah, yeah, that does indeed cover everything from what we call a “one room flat” to a “three room flat” hereabouts!

        2. Really?*

          In New York, for example, the last option would generally considered a convertible two bedroom as the dining room, which is frequently open to the living room, sometimes in an “L” configuration, can easily be converted to an additional bedroom. Having lived in several cities throughout the US, expectations vary. And some areas, bedrooms must have both a closet and a window, and other places not so much. Based upon OP ones description, it’s likely that she has a relatively small bedroom, and the living area, which may or may not be open to the kitchen as well as a bathroom. Since she mentioned that it’s an expensive urban area, I think it’s safe to assume a relatively small apartment.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      I picture the “one bedroom, one bathroom (1.5 if fancy), one connected kitchen-living-dining space” option. Partly because if you have a larger space, you normally have more bedrooms.

      When my mother-in-law decided to build a small house, that was the set-up. There is a wall with large openings between the kitchen and dining areas, but the only rooms with a door are the small single bedroom and the 1.5 bathrooms. The architect did include a little nook for a desk and chair in the hall from the bedroom to the screened porch.

    8. Prof*

      an office would make it a 2 bedroom in my mind (that’s a room). A bedroom is a single closed room, plus a living area. Probably not a fully separate dining room

      1. AngryOctopus*

        If it doesn’t have a closet/closing door, it’s not a bedroom for real estate purposes. You can, of course, use it as such, but they can’t describe it as a 2BR in the ad.

        1. Doreen*

          The closet issue depends on where you are – lots of people think that a bedroom in NYC requires a closet but it doesn’t. It does require a window (which is why is old , un-renovated , attached buildings you will see a bedroom with a window into another room) .

          A studio apartment here would be either one room and a bathroom, with a small kitchen set-up or sometimes there’s a separate small kitchen. A one bedroom will have a kitchen, bathroom and living room. There might be a dining alcove or an eat-in kitchen or the living room and kitchen might not be entirely separate spaces , but there will not be a separate dining room until the house or apartment has at least two bedrooms. You could of course use the second bedroom as a dining room/office/den but that fourth room will be one that can legally be advertised as a bedroom.

        2. Lexi Vipond*

          So you can’t just move a cupboard into the room, or keep your clothes somewhere else? I’ve never come across this idea before, and it’s utterly bizarre to me – surely all a bedroom needs is a bed!

          1. fhqwhgads*

            It depends on whether you’re using the term to mean a room one physically could sleep in vs real-estate-wise you can market it as a bedroom vs fire code (or building code, or both) whether it is legally a bedroom.
            Generally listings for dwellings are using one of the latter two definitions, in which case, no, it needs more than a bed.
            Although yes, if you put, say, an ikea pax unit in and attached it to the wall the could potentially solve the “closet” aspect, depending on other factors.

    9. samwise*

      In the US, a one-bedroom apt. is typically bedroom, bathroom, combo kitchen and living room — or bedroom, bathroom, tiny kitchen, living room. One-bedroom apts almost never have more than one bathroom. Maaaaybe a tiny room with an additional toilet but that’s unusual, only in an old place with wacky renovations over the decades.

      In-apt laundry btw would be in the kitchen or stacked machines in a small closet.

    10. Petty Patty*

      Reminder to our UK readers, in the US, the only rooms that have doors are bedrooms and bathrooms. Living rooms and kitchens don’t, and studio apartments don’t (except for the bathroom), it’s just one big space.

      So a 1 BR apartment means a bedroom with a door, a bathroom with a door, and a general lving space/kitchen with no doors or extra walls.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        Ok, no kettles is odd, but no DOORS? :D
        This is not a reminder for me, because I did not know this, and obviously don’t pay enough attention to US TV.

        As I said above, it’s quite common in older flats where I am (tenement flats, which I know means something different in the US) to have the kitchen space tucked into one corner of the living room, so there wouldn’t be a door between them.

        But (except maybe in a studio flat) there would still be a hall (lobby?) with the front door opening into it, and the doors of all the other rooms opening off it. Do your bedrooms open directly from the living room?

        1. Doreen*

          In some layouts, the bedrooms do indeed open directly off the living room . Some of this depends on exactly what is meant – my kitchen and living room and dining room are not one big open space. There is a doorway between the kitchen and the dining room but there hasn’t been a door since before I bought the house. And there are different styles of houses/apartments – a lot of it depends on how old the building is.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            Yeah, good distinction there. Totally normal in the US to have doorways between these common rooms, but in the last 50 years or so extremely uncommon to have doors in said doorways.

  27. I didn't say banana*

    LW1: as someone who worked as the nanny for a WFH parent (who had a dedicated office space), it was hard for everyone. I felt guilty about the baby making noise and mum felt guilty about not being able to comfort her child. I couldn’t settle in to the job because the boss might come out at any moment, and I’m sure mum couldn’t settle into her work fully either.
    And as the mum to a kid who went to daycare and wouldn’t take a bottle, driving over to feed her every few hours was really quite easy, especially once she was on a routine. From 4 months of age, she could have baby cereal made with breastmilk (or formula) and that was a good back up to stop me worrying that she’d starve without me.
    All of which is to say, the 5-10 minute away option sounds best to me.

  28. FashionablyEvil*

    #1–I did this with my older kiddo from 3-7ish months when she started daycare, albeit in a house. Each day, I would let the nanny know what my schedule was and I would have pumped milk available if the baby needed to be fed while I was leading a meeting/on a client call/etc. When she started daycare, that was about 5 minutes from my house and I would pop over at my lunch hour to feed her. Worked beautifully.

    1. tabloidtainted*

      Haha, agreed. Feels like LW took the opportunity to practice their creative writing skills with this one (in terms of style, rather than substance).

  29. Medium Sized Manager*

    I did a group interview for a bank years ago, which was in person, and it was so uncomfortable. I’m a good interviewer but the idea of other candidates watching you interview (and watching them interview!) is unsettling.

  30. Don't You Call Me Lady*

    The setup for #1 does sound difficult, but since you have the option of the other space 5 minutes away, seems like you could try out your plan and if it’s not working just use that space.

  31. Amy*

    I have quite a few colleagues who have done WFH with a baby + nanny from a small NYC apartment. I’ve done it with 3 under 3 from a very very small house.

    It’s not fun. My first suggestions would be daycare, followed by a co-working space. If that’s not possible, everyone needs to try to get out of the house a lot. Baby + nanny need to do lots of walks and park visits. LW needs to try to find a cafe that allows some working or library, at least for part of the day.

    My babies could basically smell I was nearby and it was very hard while breastfeeding. My breasts also responded automatically to hearing their cries – I definitely needed space if I was going to concentrate.

    I agree it doesn’t make sense for many moms to pump in the presence of the baby. It’s double to work and the baby usually pulls more than the pump and it is a more pleasant experience. (But I hated pumping and not everyone does.)

  32. Perfectly Particular*

    LW1 – 3 month old babies sleep a lot, and this could work for a couple of months in the summer when baby/nanny can go on walks, hang out at a park, etc. (you would need to move your workspace to the bedroom) Also, you mentioned that your in laws are close by, maybe they could take baby to their house for a few hours on the days that they are sitting. By fall though, with a baby who is crawling, or about to, and needs actual quiet for their naps, the apartment is going to feel really claustrophobic. So maybe try it until then, and put a plan in place for when things need to change. Pumping and/or formula feeding during the day can feel like a big relief as baby gets older, and you may find that nursing for bedtime and breakfast is great with bottles during the day.

  33. Problem!*

    LW 2: Seek feedback from your superiors about what the cause might be and LISTEN.

    My old job had a management change from more laid back to more structured, as new manager would claim. In reality it went from a manager who trusted us to be adults and prioritize our own workloads to working under a micromanaging tyrant which resulted in 100% turnover in less than a year since new guy started. New manager was the type who’d argue about why he’s right and you’re wrong if anyone said anything to his face so from his perspective no one had a problem with it since no one bothered to tell him anything after a while in favor of keeping their heads down while quietly job searching; but if you asked management one level up it was a whole different story.

  34. FormerTVGirl*

    OP1: I did this in a 2BR/800ft apartment for about 6 months. It’s totally doable if you’re the kind of person who can focus! But: you will need to relocate your working setup to your bedroom and keep the door closed when you are not around. This is for many reasons — my baby, for example, developed separation anxiety at 6m and if she saw me or knew I was nearby she would scream until I held her. But I digress: buy a folding desk. Turn your morning work “routine” into setting up that desk and your evening “work is over” routine into folding it and putting it away. And of course, figure out which common spaces or coffee shops nearby have good wifi!

  35. No creative name yet*

    For OP #4, I would apply and if you get to the offer stage, see what the total benefits package is. If insurance is cheaper for you and your spouse, as you mention is possible, that could already factor in. If they can’t budge on salary you could also try negotiating things like more PTO. I had kind of the opposite experience a few years ago in which I took a job that paid $10k more than what I was making, but between the higher insurance premiums and less PTO it really didn’t feel like an increase in the end.

    I also agree that there’s a lot to being in the field that you’d like to be in that may make it worth it regardless.

    1. Pretty as a Princess*

      Yeah, I think it highly likely the difference in comp is probably less than 10K when you figure in the healthcare (assuming that the cheaper plan comes with equally good or better costs in the plan itself).

      10K in salary is really easy to find in other parts of a comp package and may already exist. (Better PTO, better retirement match or even better retirement plan costs/offerings, different kinds of other benefits like transit passes, etc.)

    2. All het up about it*

      Yeah – I once applied for a position to get me back into an old field, knowing I would probably end up taking a pay cut if I got it. I was mentally prepared for about a 10k cut. Even without that being made up in benefits, etc, it would have been fine for me because I was SOOO burnt out and DONE. Instead, they shared the salary would actually be closer to 20K less than I was making and that unfortunately wasn’t workable for me and my family, so I withdrew my application.

      This is really a personal decision based on your mental health, level of burn out, family life, existing savings, the benefits package and all sorts of things that are hard to calculate, but it’s not a bad thing to apply and get real data to use to calculate what’s best for you and yours.

  36. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

    LW4, as Alison says the % pay cut means more than the absolute $. I took a $10K pay cut 5 years ago, to take my current job, for a much shorter commute. For me it was totally worth it, but I was at the high end of Alison’s scale and it was less than 10%. Only you know exactly how the numbers work out for you, but think about the whole picture, including your enjoyment and burnout.

  37. Cabbagepants*

    #2 people are probably quitting over more than just hand-off vs hands-on management style. you need to find out what the deeper issues are and address those ASAP.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the removal of the bad manager alerted people (who already had feelers and applications out) that apparently it wasn’t Just Doug. Doug was just the most visible problem on top of a heap of problems.

      Which comes back to AAM’s advice to ask about changes people would like. If those are all structural and things you have no power to change, then the larger dysfunction is the problem. If those are things you could change, then the problem was that people had learned there was no point in explaining those because, before you, no one would consider doing it another way.

  38. Alexis ~Something~ Rose*

    #4 I would apply and see what happens. If you get to interview stage, you can learn more about growth potential at the organization. And even if it is a small org that doesn’t seem to have much room for advancement, perhaps it can be a stepping stone for you to build your resume in that field. Of course, it will come down to what you can afford and the specific dynamics of your field. But for what it’s worth, I once took a significant pay cut to get out of a bad job and into a new job/field that I now love, and it worked out well for me because of the growth that I was able to achieve over a period of a few years thereafter. It was financially feasible for me to take a pay cut at the time, but it was right on the borderline of what I could accept – had it been any less, I probably would have had to pass. I don’t know that I could have sustained it for more than a couple years. I saw it as getting my foot in the door. Not an easy decision at all, but certainly worth applying and if you get into interviews, see where it goes! Good luck!!

  39. Twinmom*

    OP1- The breastfeeding part instead of pumping can absolutely be done when WFH. I nursed my twins when they were little, I was working from home and they were home with grandma and not at daycare. It took less time than pumping and until they got too big, they were fine on a boppy on my lap at my desk and I could do easy work while they were with me. The part that won’t work to me is trying to work with a baby and their caregiver in the same room, especially if you have to do focused work. Breastfeeding worked for me since I was on another floor and they “visited” me to eat. An office 5 minutes away sounds like a better option.

    1. HonorBox*

      I was thinking the same as it relates to your last sentence. Being 5 minutes away is not that much more than being in another place in a larger house. That seems like a much better option considering the need for focus and the tight living quarters.

  40. HonorBox*

    Woof. #3 seems like torture. I’m in the process of scheduling Zooms for the first round of interviews we’re doing. My boss had a list of 10+ candidates, which I know is a lot. But there are a good number of really solid resumes, and there will be attrition I’m sure. I cannot for the life of me see how a lengthy Zoom with multiple candidates at the same time is better than multiple shorter Zooms.

    From the interviewer’s side of things, how on earth do you process all of what you’re hearing from every candidate? How do you really differentiate between candidates? While I could see that it *might* save some time, I have to believe that any savings in time is really going to be a wash when you’re not getting enough depth from any one person, and you’re really having to focus on taking great notes. Not a great setup if you ask me.

  41. Abigail*

    1: I think you are miscalculating your role as a boss.

    I am speaking of your role as a boss to your nanny. It’s unreasonable working conditions for your nanny to tiptoe around your workspace while they perform caregiving duties.

    This has a better chance of working if your desk was in the bedroom. Your nanny will need to access the kitchen, bathroom, and front door. This will disrupt your work but there is no way to ask them to stop.

    For the first few months this isn’t as big of a factor, but soon your baby will need regular conversation for language and brain development.

    I think there is an expectation that babies sleep, cry, and eat. This is only true for a small window of time and is virtually never true of their adult caregivers.

  42. Ginger Baker*

    I breastfed both kids for over a year each; I think the breastfeeding breaks instead of pumping is perfectly doable and reasonable…at the 5-minutes-away location that your Nanny comes to visit you at with the baby. It’s close enough that getting there isn’t any longer than heating up a bottle anyway, your baby is definitely not going to starve on the very short trip over :-) and then you get the best parts (breaks with actual baby AND workspace that doesn’t have a baby right in it distracting you!). Once the baby is older, maybe they have a social/schedule that keeps Nanny and baby out and about most of the day anyway, at which point you could consider moving back to the living room (I say because my sister watched my kids and they were by FAR busier as toddlers than my meeting schedule at work lol!)

  43. SS*

    LW1: I worked fully remote starting after maternity leave (which was only 8 weeks) until my kiddo was 2y2m (went back hybrid, 2 days a week 3 months ago). I am the gestational and nursing parent and my spouse stays at home with kiddo. If you can move your “office” into your bedroom, I think this is actually very workable! As you mention, have a bit of pumped milk on hand for when you’re in meetings, but otherwise it is SO CONVENIENT to be able to nurse on demand and not have to worry about pumping. I’m actually still nursing now because this arrangement was so supportive in my being able to nurse. I say all the time that if I’d had to pump full time, I would not have made it 6 months. Some things I would recommend:
    –Close the door while you’re working. Have agreed-upon reasons to interrupt you with your childcare providers.
    –Get a white noise machine so you aren’t as tuned into every little thing happening on the other side of the door.
    –Use a haakaa or other milk collector on the opposite breast while you’re nursing to collect the extra milk to have on hand without having to actually pump.
    –Buy some protein bars and other quick sources of nutrition. I didn’t take a lot of actual lunch breaks in the early days because I was using all of my break minutes to nurse.

    Good luck!! Being a working mom is tough and I really recommend you taking steps to make this work because it has been irreplaceable to be able to work from home the first 2 years of my kiddo’s life!

  44. SMH*

    Around 2010 I applied for a job at an Apple Store. The interview was at a Chile’s (a little weird). When I got there there were at least 7 other people (weird!) sitting in a circle booth (extremely weird!). Turns out it was a group interview and they just asked us questions round robin. Very awkward and it was hard to come up with anything to say that sounded different than the first two people.

    I did not get that job.

  45. tj*

    I just did a round of grad school applications, and about half the schools I applied to required virtual interviews. Annoying, but fine. But one of the interviews ended up being a group interview, and there was absolutely NOTHING in the invitation sent out indicating it wouldn’t be your standard one-on-one interview!! It was so incredibly awkward and painful to sit through and really threw me off my game. Luckily it was not a competitive program so anyone who met minimum education requirements and didn’t have missing pieces of their application packets was accepted, but I also don’t even understand what the of point of interviewing was if we were all just going to be accepted anyway. I ended up accepting an offer elsewhere.

  46. DrSalty*

    LW #1 – I work from home and take breaks to nurse my baby during the day. It works great for us. I stay in communication with the nanny about his needs and if I’m going to be in a meeting or something, I let her know so she can make him a bottle. I will say this has only worked since he’s been 6-7 months and a more efficient eater (a session is 10-15 min). When I first went back to work when he was 12 weeks old, he wanted to nurse for ~30 min at a time so that was untenable and I had to pump all day. But now that he eats quickly, nursing him is waaaay more efficient for everyone. Pumping sucks!! So this is definitely doable.

    The part of your plan that concerns me more is that you intend to work in the same room as your baby. If your job really needs deep focus, this is a huge problem. I think nursing him is going to be the LEAST distracting part of this. I know that would be really hard for me … it IS hard for me and I’m in my own office on a separate floor. Not to mention once your baby is older they’ll be able to see you working and that will be a distraction to them (why isn’t mommy paying attention to me??). But maybe you’re more disciplined than me! Maybe try it for a week and see how it all goes. Who knows!

    Good luck!

  47. DisneyChannelThis*

    For the first one, from a nanny perspective, it’s going to be extremely hard to keep a nanny employed in that setup. Most nannies don’t want their employer in earshot the whole day, let alone in the same room. It sets the nanny up to be undermined, the child will always run to parents when nanny says no, the parents often butt in when they didn’t need to (Why is child crying? What’s wrong child? Well nanny said you cant throw your blocks at the tv yes). It’s also very hard to be engaged and silly and singing to the child when you know the parents are listening. Try playing pretend dollies with grown ups watching and critiquing , it’s certainly an experience. Think of it the other way too, would you want to work in a 1 bedroom apartment with your boss in the same room all day too? Even when you’re not doing anything wrong, it still feels very self conscious.

    Having a coworking space elsewhere in the building would be ideal, you could come back to nurse (make sure to have a pumped supply ready in case you get trapped in a zoom call or something though) and it gives your nanny and grandparents a little breathing room.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Agree. I’ve nannied and I would not take a nanny job where the parents worked from home. Also, I think most nannies would agree that the kids aren’t generally the most stressful part of the job. It’s the parents. I lucked out with great ones, but a lot of my fellow nannies didn’t.

  48. bureaucratte*

    To the first LW, you absolutely can breastfeed with a work space 5-10 minutes away; I walked to my son’s daycare at the beginning and it was totally fine. You can adjust your schedule to make that work. I don’t know how old baby is/will be but it might feel now like it’s be impossible because your baby eats all the time, but baby will get in a schedule and so you can come breastfeed three times a day and not be on demand. You may find you prefer to switch to pumping, but it’s totally doable.

  49. Dr. QT*

    LW#1 I mostly agree with the suggestions to try to work in the space 5-10 minutes from home and plan to either come home at set times to nurse, or have the baby brought to you. (As someone who nannied, having a reason to go on a walk with the baby was always a godsend).

    I had a flexible schedule due to grad school when I had my kid, so some days I was pumping and some days I would work for part of the day away and part of the day at home and could nurse on demand. I learned which work I could do while nursing (reading, not writing). Pumping always took a long time for me, so if I had the option to breastfeed, I took it. I do think that if you want to stay at home, you need to work from the bedroom. You need at least a closed door between you and the baby.

    I also want to strongly suggest you block off time on your calendar for nursing or pumping and don’t let your job pressure you to skip or shorten pumping sessions to take a meeting, otherwise you can really tank your supply. You have to guard those pumping times.

    Good luck! The period of needing to feed all the time is actually really short in the long run, and also can change all the time, so hopefully if your job is flexible you can just sort of make it work week by week until things are consistent enough that you can work mostly from another space.

  50. Sean*

    OP 2: While all of the above advice is valid, in my experience I have found that when one person leaves a team, it often triggers “hmm, is it my time?” thoughts in the others – even if people are relatively happy. It’s still very much worth going through what others have discussed above, but from what I’ve seen a team departure can have a snowball effect for no bad reason, just a human one.

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      Yup. People are a lot more open to the idea of making a change when their current work situation is in flux. You figure that if things are going to change where you are, you may as well go ahead and make a bigger change of your own choosing.

    2. Reebee*

      Yes, it’s fairly common for management turnover to then prompt others to leave.

  51. DrP*

    OP1 – when my older child was born, I managed a combo of pumping and nursing. I’d pump for one of his feedings, and blocked time in my schedule to go to his daycare (about 5 minutes away) to nurse him for another feeding every day. If your workstation is really only 5 minutes away, maybe you could try that kind of system and not have to pump all day and get those baby snuggles.

  52. Don't You Call Me Lady*

    I think #3 was being sarcastic in the last paragraph, but you’ve pretty much described speed dating :)

    1. Black cat*

      Yeah that was weird. Like, that literally is a thing and enough must be fine with it for a market to have existed in the first place.

  53. Nix*

    I work 10 minutes from my house, and my baby refused to take a bottle. She was home with my husband from 3 months-6 months old, and he drove her to me every day over lunch, and very occasionally for an extra feeding. By 3 months, they don’t need milk quite as frequently, so it worked ok for us! And at 6 months, we started doing food and drinking from a cup, so it was really only an issue for those 3 months.

    She’s 2 now and still nursing at bedtime, so it didn’t negatively impact the bf experience, feiw

  54. Cordyceps*

    #2 People Keep Leaving

    I’ve been on the employee side of a very similar situation. Once a particular set of problems has gone on long enough unaddressed, people simply get burned out and exhausted with dealing with that set of problems. Even when a new fantastic manager comes in and takes over, it is frequently difficult to believe that any real change will occur because the new fantastic manager likely doesn’t have a lot of control over these deeper-seated issues. Either that or people are not willing to wait possibly years for changes to be implemented (or not). You just get to the end of your rope with particular situations and companies.

    Additionally, once you’ve made your mind to start job hunting (because it’s an enormous PITA for most people), updated your resume, spent hours searching online, etc…’s awfully hard to just turn that off based purely on blind faith.

    That said, I think you can let yourself off the hook for this even though people are technically leaving “on your watch”. I’d bet these events were set in motion long before you arrived (as has been suggested in other responses). It’s probably pretty important to try to find out what those root cause isssues really are, just so you can avoid the same pitfalls in the future. There’s probably stuff you haven’t uncovered yet, some of which may be surprising. You may learn shocking things about coworkers that you like.

    It sounds like you are genuinely trying to address these issues and, in doing so, you are already a step ahead of many other people.

    FWIW, I’ve never managed people myself, this is just my perception of similar scenarios from the employee side. Your heart is in the right place, keep moving forward, and best of luck to you.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Agree – it’s burnt bridges and scorched earth at this point. Especially if the issues were in place for years…

  55. what even*

    OP #1: This will not work. (Or at least is so unlikely to work it isn’t worth trying.) Your baby is never going to settle with the nanny when you are in the next room. It is difficult to nanny young children when the parent is somewhere in the house, let alone the next room. If you want to try it, be prepared to need a new nanny every few months.

    1. i like hound dogs*

      I agree — everyone’s different, but I would definitely not want to care for a kid with his or her parent ten feet away. I would just feel so awkward.

    2. Don't You Call Me Lady*

      I agree that it probably won’t work, but I don’t think there’s any harm in giving it a shot, mainly because if they have the option of the other office 5 min away they can always just use that if it doesnt’ work out

        1. Don't You Call Me Lady*

          Hmm, I read it as she was keeping the nanny either way since LW would only see the baby during the feeding time and then would go back to working. But if you’re right then yes that changes things

  56. Danielle S.*

    LW1 – I’m also in tech and work from home. I had a baby in January, and did get him into a daycare that’s 5 minutes away from our house. Here’s my thoughts and the schedule that works for us…

    Even if you have a nanny or childcare arranged, your baby WILL know that you are around. And won’t always settle down for others because Mom is RIGHT THERE. And you’ll likely find it impossible to focus on work when baby gets fussy – the temptation to just take the baby and make things better will be overwhelming. Not to mention when the baby is teething or going through a growth spurt or anything like that.

    My baby will not take a bottle if he knows I am in the house. And the only way my husband can get him to take a bottle is if they go into a room I rarely enter (like my husband’s office). Daycare was the only option for us.

    Five minutes away is not that far of a distance. I nurse my baby before taking him to the daycare in the morning. Then I pump mid-morning and mid-afternoon. At noon, I use my lunch break to drive over to the daycare and nurse him at the daycare. This has the benefits of cuddle time in the middle of the day, not having to do a third pumping session, and getting a more detailed understanding/awareness of how things function at the daycare when the parents aren’t around.

    All this to say – if you want to be able to focus and actually do your job, you can’t be in a 1 bedroom apartment with baby and childcare long-term. Build up your professional goodwill in your office for those days when baby is sick or childcare falls through and you HAVE to work with the baby around.

    Best of luck – these postpartum hormones are TOUGH. I absolutely love my job, and still considered quitting to stay home with baby (even though I’d be a horrible SAHM and would go stir-crazy in 4 months).

  57. el l*

    If you’re that burnt out and going back into this field is a lifelong dream for you…then you’ll just have to make the money work. So apply. If you get it you’ll have to figure it out and downsize where you can.

    Because in this case you just have to do what’s right for you. You can’t start with this logic – you’ll need to first understand where you’ll have to downsize etc – but sometimes you have to end with it. (And yes, it depends on whether you’re taking a 20% pay cut or a 2% pay cut)

  58. Anne Shirley-Blythe*

    Re Letter 4: I’m just trying to better understand. Why would a company give a range (dangling the upper number like a prize) if they then state new hires are going to start at the lower end? I would be VERY annoyed. I would rather see “low 70s” than 70-90 k. (I can’t bring myself to use 6 figures; that’s not my world and it bums me out too much, even hypothetically.)

    1. Hlao-roo*

      There are different schools of thought on salary ranges in job ads. Two of them are:

      (1) Put the range the company is willing to hire people in at. If the company is only going to give offers between (for example) $70k and $80k, then they have no business putting $70k-$90k on the ad. Job seekers can know what salaries to expect with an offer.

      (2) Put the “pay band” for the position in the job ad. Data analysts at ACME Corp. are in the $70k-$90k “pay band,” so put $70k-$90k in the job ad, with the clarification that new hires are only offered the lower end of the pay band. This allows job seekers to know what salaries to expect with an offer (sort of, would be better if they put exact numbers instead of just “lower end”) and also lets them know how much they can expect their salaries to increase if they progress in the data analyst position.

      Like you, I prefer school of thought #1. I think #2 is OK if the company clarifies that the numbers in the job ad are the pay band, not the offers the company extends to new hires. And I think putting just the pay band without any explanation/clarification is deceitful.

    2. Wendy Darling*

      Yeah, I read that and was like, if no new hires are going to get the top end of the salary range, that’s not the salary range. If the company says the range is 70-90k but if you, the reader of this job ad, can only actually get hired at 70-75k, the salary range for that job is 70-75k.

      I don’t care what I might get with merit increases after a few years, because I’ve had too many incidents where I was promised merit increases after X time, but after X time for whatever reason a merit increase was simply impossible — “it’s not in the budget right now”, salary freeze due to “economic uncertainty” (there has been “economic uncertainty” for I’d say 90% of my professional life, I’m not sure anyone has been confident about the economy since the 90s), I got a 3 out of 5 performance review even though all the comments were glowing praise, etc.

  59. Irish Girl*

    When Covid first happened, my youngest was 8 months old and I was pumping at work and breastfeeding at home and on weekends. I still had to work and my husband was the one who was in charge of the 2 kids. I made it 1 week in the same area as my kids and husband before I forced him to make me an office in our basement. Take option of the 5-10 mins away.
    Most days I stuck with pumping as I could schedule that in my day and I could still work on my stuff while pumping. Very few times I fed her and usually that was if she was cluster feeding, I had a clog or she was having some issues.

  60. Anne Shirley-Blythe*

    Also meant to add that the promise of increases also gets my back up. Maybe it’s cynicism, but I immediately wonder about the timeline and percentages and don’t like not knowing. *Of course*, a candidate should get clarification later in the process, but I’m already suspicious.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      The thing with promised increases is they’re basically never guaranteed. I am very cynical but the reason I’m cynical is that I’ve only gotten a really significant raise once in ten years, and I got that because my state changed the rules for who can be salaried exempt. It was cheaper to give me an 11% raise than to start paying me overtime.

      All the other raises I’ve gotten were, percentage-wise, within a couple points of the rate of inflation since my last raise. I’ve had to change jobs to increase my pay otherwise.

  61. Alisaurus*

    #3 – Group Interviews: Yikes. This happened to me in my job search ~a year and a half ago. Except at least in your friend’s case, they know. I logged in for a Zoom interview and was surprised to find another candidate there and then learned, no, this wasn’t an accident, they do group interviews! Isn’t it great?! /s

    (To make matters worse, my situation turned out to be a bait and switch where it was advertised as a well-paying role in my field and then turned out to be some sort of MLM sales position. I clarified on the call and was told “oh, no, we don’t have any of those kinds of roles, but this is such a great opportunity to move up in the company!” At which point, I said I wouldn’t be interested then, as it was advertised as something else entirely, and would save us all some time by exiting now. The poor other candidate just sat there looking really uncomfortable. I reported the job listing to the job board immediately, but I’m unsure what came of it.)

  62. Stevesie*

    OP1: I’m wfh with my 1 year old and a nanny who is also one of my best friends. We’ve been able to make it work, though I am in a one story house rather than 1 bedroom apt. I only managed to continue breastfeeding for the first month or two after I went back to work, even while she was home with me, partly because of supply issues, and partly because of work demands. My older kid was born precovid and started daycare at 4 months, I actually breastfed longer because I was diligently pumping at work and it helped with my supply issues. All this to say please dont be hard on yourself if things don’t work the way you expect, feeding babies is hard work and it can truly make you crazy with guilt. And while I breastfed my first kid longer, my second kids is far more attached to me (for better and worse) since I’m around all day wfh. I know some people worry that they’ll lose out on that bonding experience with their kid, but that wasn’t the case for me.

    1. Hot Dish*

      To add to this from a therapist’s knowledgebase, the bond/relationship totally comes from how you respond to the baby–not whether or not you breastfeed, so to echo this commenter, please don’t feel like concern over bond has to be part of your decisions related to breastfeeding.

      Also, +1 for not being too hard on yourself as life happens and you figure out what works and what doesn’t.

  63. Anonymous Parent*

    LW1, when I went back to work and my husband was at home with the baby for a few months, he’d bring the kid to my office at lunchtime for a feeding. That got us through to when kiddo was six months old and didn’t need as much milk.

    Since it sounds like your potential workspaces are even closer to your home than my office was, could you schedule the nanny to bring in the baby once or twice a day? You might still need to pump, but not as much.

  64. Harper the Other One*

    OP2, I’d also remember that, while you’re actively trying to change things, these employees may have heard that before. They may be thinking “OP seems great but will they actually be able to change the culture here?” And unfortunately the only thing that can prove you will is time.

  65. EA*

    Preface this by saying I am 100% in support of doing what you have to do to keep up nursing and that I hated pumping! With my first child, I worked in office and had to pump, made it 9 months. With my second child, I was fully WFH with a nanny in a one story house and nursed for about a year and a half. I actually found it was OK the first months, but as they get older it gets harder and harder – not because of breastfeeding but they just get louder and interrupt a lot more! Also, I had the same nanny from my first child so we already had a good rapport and she didn’t feel like I was “hovering” the same way a new nanny might (a good point that other commenters raised!).

    OP1, is there any way you could do a combination of your options – half day at home and half day at the coworking space (or wherever it is you’d be going)? For example, you could work the morning at home and the afternoon in the 10 mins away location. I feel like this would have been the best of both worlds for me. You could have focused work time and time to take calls for half of the day and pump once – and also give your nanny a break from having to shush the baby and have you over her shoulder – but have half of the day to keep up nursing and be around more while baby is so little.

  66. DC Cliche*

    On the bonkers group interview — in the early 2000s I interviewed at a Bath and Body Works, and it was a group interview where we had to give the other candidates a hand massage (not a euphemism) while we sold the virtues of the lotion. Their feedback was taken into account.

  67. ContentIsHot*

    OP1 congratulations on your baby! Unfortunately, your wfh set up is absolutely not going to work. I’ve wfh for 4 years since my child was born, and you absolutely have to have some space away from the kid. Your baby will be crying for you constantly if they see you. When my child was an infant, I had to work in the bedroom so she wouldn’t cry for me and distract me. My babysitter would also forget and start chatting to me if I wasn’t behind a closed door. I would come out to nurse my baby, which was very convenient, but it was hard on her at first to get handed back. I wish you the best of luck with everything, but you need a different plan.

  68. Someone Else's Boss*

    A little perspective for the nursing mother – You cannot do all of these things well. If you try to work from home while your baby is there, in your small apartment and with caregivers you know and have existing relationships with, you will drop a ball. Or two. Or twenty. Your boss will notice. Your colleagues will notice. The caregivers will notice. You will wind up feeling like you’re failing, because you’re setting yourself up to fail. Please consider releasing yourself from some of these expectations. That might look like delaying your return to work, giving up on exclusively breastfeeding, figuring out a hybrid or PT schedule, or many other options. It sounds like you have a supportive partner and a vast support system, which is a great start! But three months into a job you then took maternity leave from is not going to be an ideal time to try to patch this all together. That’s okay – you’re not a bad mom or a bad employee, you’re just in a tough situation. But how you design the next year or two is something you’ll carry for a long time, so please be kind to yourself and allow yourself to meet your own needs.

    1. Lily Potter*

      A little perspective for the nursing mother from an employer/coworker/client perspective – You cannot do all of these things well from a small apartment. If you try to work from home while your baby is in the room with you much of the time, you are not going to be able to give your job the deep focus that you say it needs. When you’re on casual calls with coworkers, your baby WILL decide that’s a great time to wail – won’t matter if you have a sitter at home, your coworkers are going to hear him/her. Depending on how often this happens, you could become the “coworker with the annoying baby” rather than the “coworker who knows her stuff”. Can you really work efficiently from the common area for 20% of your time when you’re on conference calls? Or are you going to be sitting in the apartment lobby with a laptop on your knees, saying things like “I have that document upstairs, I’ll have to get back to you later?” Even taking the breastfeeding aspects out of this question, I see lots of potential issues just with the question “Can I effectively work from home with an infant in a small space?” Only you know your workplace norms, and maybe they’re such that you can make it work. I know that it wouldn’t fly in my workplace for positions requiring deep focus and/or client contact.

    2. Wendy Darling*

      I don’t even have a baby of my own but the human brain is basically hardwired to pay attention to babies, so I have a tough time concentrating if there’s a fussy baby in earshot because some old, pushy part of my brain is yelling “GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT BABY! NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE BABY!” Like obviously everyone is different and ymmv, but I am not a terribly nurturing person and don’t particularly care for babies, yet I hugely struggle to ignore a baby if one is present.

      I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to focus on work with MY baby fussing in the room even if someone else was currently in charge of caring for it.

  69. Elizabeth*

    I once flew across the country for a 2-day on site interview, and found out that morning that there was another candidate there also doing the 2-day practical. It was….awkward. When I got home, they reposted the position, told me to reapply for it as a “formality”, rejected me, and then automatically rejected me months later as well. It was for a charter school, which would shock no one who has ever worked at one. The number of industries that makes really weird, uncomfortable shit a part of their selection process absolutely boggles.

  70. Erica*

    “Rather than going on separate dates with the men I matched with on dating apps (who has the time?), I’ve invited them all to the same bar at the same time so that I can quickly whittle the pool down to the ones that are worthy of a solo meetup.”

    While the men would be justifiably annoyed, this honestly sounds pretty good! Reduce the nightmare of dating by a factor of 5.

  71. She of Many Hats*

    LW1 – you mentioned that your building has common spaces that you use for calls. Are those spaces such that you can set up work there for the day? You’d still be in the building and able to get “home” quickly as needed. Honestly, though, your family needs to look at upsizing because your little one won’t stay quietly little for very long (8 months) before they’re mobile and big enough to make real noise.

  72. Just Thinkin' Here*

    First time responding to all the entries. :)

    OP 1 – If you can work at the off-site location and then maybe go home to feed at lunch time, that might be a partial solution, but pumping is probably the most reasonable plan.

    OP 2 – Agree with Alison, it takes months for the hiring process, so the departures are a hold over from the prior manager if they are within the first 6 months or so. Often when people decide to leave there is little that will change their mind, including a new manager. Because bad bosses often lead to things like missed promotions, paltry raises, and failed projects that have long term impact on a career and salary even after the bad boss is gone. That said, you might save a couple of folks who are in the process if you focus on their needs. And I agree with the concern about the pendulum swinging the other way – it may feel like one extreme to the other for some employees, so it’s better to start in slow or somewhere in the middle rather than micro-manage the situation.

    OP 3 – If I was told the interview was 8 candidates, I would say, No Thanks. If I called into an interview with 8 candidates, I would say “This was not my understanding, call me back when you are available for my interview” and hang up. I’m guessing this employer wants to hire the loudest person in the room? Because that’s what’s going to happen in a group interview scheme.

    OP 4 – Agree with Alison, $10K isn’t as much of a concern vs what percent of a pay cut that is. Is there anywhere you can go internal to your current employer that would be less stress? companies often have pockets of “high flying teams” which you might be on. You could see if there are teams that are more… paced in their work-life balance and keep your current salary and benefits.

  73. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    For OP1, Alison is quite right about the noise and interruptions. You can’t tune out your own breastfed baby like other noise!
    Take the option 5 minutes away, and ask your childminder to bring you the baby rather than you rushing back every time the baby needs feeding. That way you can catch up on emails or perform other light-concentration tasks as she feeds.

  74. Ivebeenthere*

    I’ve seen these sort of “cattle call” interviews for certain sales positions. You know, the kind that have no base pay whatsoever and is 100% commission. Think timeshare sales or door-to-door canvassing positions. SUPER high turnover, CONSTANT hiring. They are honestly fine with all 8 candidates making it through to the second round. Since there is little or no base pay, there is no downside to saturating the market by hiring a ton of people. ~80% of passing that interview stage is showing up on time, looking professionally dressed, and body language that shows engagement.

  75. Bruce*

    LW2, I agree that after only 4 months you could still be seeing the fall out of the previous manager. I like Allison’s suggestions for how to draw people out, try to approach it from a feeling of confidence: you want to give the vibe that you are open to their input without sounding like you are desperate for someone to tell you what to do. Also I expect you are being gracious to the people who do leave, that can make a good impression on the ones that remain.

    LW4 I don’t see how it can hurt to interview as long as you have the spare time required. You may learn a lot, and it could be good practice. A relative is interviewing right now, he almost cancelled a meeting for a job that is at the outer end of his commute, but went through with it and found that it was a big confidence boost… and that he needed to get his references lined up!

  76. Hot Dish*

    LW 1: I’ve nursed/pumped for two kids (still in it with #2). Both of mine would be perfectly content with other people, but they just had to lay eyes on me before they’d lose it, crying to get me to nurse them. (I was wfh while my husband did his paternity leave with #1, and I was literally hiding in the office, peeking around corners, checking to see if I could go use the bathroom, etc to make sure #1 did not see me. #2 was similar but not quite as dramatic.) I second using other space as Alison said.

  77. Dandylions*

    #1 On teams click settings then devices then turn on noise supression. Works great with a headset. People never hear my baby screaming a foot from me. I’ve checked in with friends on the call to make sure.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I can specifically recommend Steelseries Arctis headsets for their noise-cancelling mics, if people don’t mind gaming headsets. I prefer gaming-style headsets that go around my ears vs “professional” headsets that sit on my ears because my ears hate anything putting pressure on them, and the Steelseries ones are pretty inoffensive-looking as gaming headsets go (matte black, nothing really lights up).

      At a previous job I did a LOT of client-facing Zoom and Teams meetings, and for a lot of that time I was working from home while they demolished the building immediately outside my window and put a new building in its place. No one noticed. Pre-pandemic I also had a few incidents where I got caught out by unexpectedly bad traffic and had to take client meetings in VERY loud cafes (one was running a coffee roaster in the cafe AND blasting classic rock) and no one was the wiser — I asked a coworker later how I sounded and he didn’t realize I wasn’t at home because we didn’t turn on video.

      I had a coworker who had the same headset and a new baby, and for the most part none of us knew if the baby was in the room unless he turned his video on to show us. The only exceptions were a couple times when he was holding her and she decided to scream straight into his mic.

      That said I’d be more worried about my own ability to concentrate. Technology can solve the problem of my coworkers hearing a crying baby, but not the problem of my deep desire to lunge across the room and comfort the crying baby.

      1. Observer*

        Technology can solve the problem of my coworkers hearing a crying baby, but not the problem of my deep desire to lunge across the room and comfort the crying baby.

        That’s true. I don’t think you need to worry so much about people hearing the baby – lots of ways to deal with that. But it’s all of the other pieces that are going to get in your way.

  78. sara*

    For LW#1: My answer would somewhat depend on how long you plan to stay in this apartment. I think for most people trying to stay in a one-bedroom apartment with a child would not be desireable after baby is 6-12 months old or so. If y’all are planning to move in the next year, I can see wanting to try out this arrangement for a few month gap between current apartment and new living situation, to be supportive of the breastfeeding relationship. If that’s the case, I would at least give it a try to work in the bedroom with door closed and strict understandings around interruptions.

    If this is the longer term setup (which doesn’t seem super sustainable to me – at some point kid is going to want their own private space, but maybe you can pull off room sharing until age 2 or 3? Although you may lose your mind…), then I would be more inclined to figure out a more permanent solution, such as looking at the workspaces 5-10 minutes away. I wonder if an option is for the caregiver to bring baby to you for feedings? Especially if it’s only a 5-minute walk, and with summer upon us, this could work pretty well until winter weather arrives to have them bring baby to wherever you are, and then nurse outside on a bench so others in the work space are not disturbed.

  79. Evan*

    In response to #3. There is no way I would EVER sit in an interview with other candidates. I should actually add “again” because I did it once, several years ago. I was invited to an in-person interview (before Zoom interviews were a thing) and directed to prepare a presentation for the interview. (That was fine since the role was a training role.) What I didn’t realize however was when I got there, there would be 20 (yes, you read that right) other interviewers there for the same thing (for one position) and each of us were told we’d be giving our presentations to the entire group. I walked out and vowed I’d never do it again.

  80. WonderWoman*

    LW1 – I’d like to add that a couple factors that might impact your choice of where to work:

    – How long it takes your baby to nurse vs. how long it takes to pump (some babies nurse very quickly, and some need more time)

    – Which one of those activities is more disruptive to your workflow (ie, can you continue working while either is happening? pumping is loud, and you might need to hold your pump equipment, but it might feel more passive than nursing)

    – The potential disruption of needing to store and travel with your milk

  81. Elizabeth West*

    #3 — This one reminded me of the time I showed up to an interview for an admin position with a dental office. The interview was scheduled at a nearby hotel, which I thought was weird, but okay — hotels have conference rooms and maybe they preferred to use that space?

    When I got there, I discovered it was a group interview in an auditorium with close to a hundred candidates. A woman at the table outside the auditorium handed me an application and told to take a seat inside and fill it out; there would be a presentation and then whatever followed. I was so gobsmacked I don’t even remember now what that was.

    I sat down in the back, looked at the app, looked at the mass of people in front of me, and then got up and left. I gave my app to the woman and said I didn’t think this was for me, thank you very much, have a great night. Oh did I mention this interview was scheduled for 5:30 pm? Yep.

    Every panel interview I’ve ever had with other candidates was awkward and weird. It’s bad enough sitting in the reception area together. At this point, I just won’t do multi-candidate interviews. Kthxbai!

  82. SleepyHollowGirl*

    LW1: My baby was uninterested in bottles, so I worked 5-10 min away from the daycare and went to the daycare to direct-feed.

  83. Elan*

    LW#4: I know I’m late to the comments, so won’t add much in terms of the great advice you have already received (I’m in the “keep breastfeeding and use the co-working space” camp, as someone who had a nanny, only worked 10 min away, and ended up being able to bf for over two years) except I *highly* recommend you rent a hospital-grade pump if you do think you’ll need to pump at all: we had a women’s/birth center that rented them and they are MUCH more efficient (faster and not painful) compared to the typical pumps you get with insurance (which are still nice to have in case you need to travel). (Although the rental wasn’t cheap, the amount of time (and unpleasantness) it saved me was worth it!) Hope it all works out for you!!

  84. HannahS*

    OP1, I’m late to the party, but I think this is pretty doable–source being that I had a kid in 2021. Initially, I was on leave and my partner worked from home. He was in a room with a door that closed, and I had the rest of the apartment.

    Some things to keep in mind:
    -It’s best that you work in the bedroom, and baby + caregiver have the rest of the apartment
    -Nursing when you’re the one working is doable, but best if you do it on a schedule; I did some nursing, some pumping, and some formula and it all was fine
    -It’s definitely harder to focus when your baby is nearby, but if you’re motivated you can make it work

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  85. Moonstone*

    May I just say that I absolutely adore the writing style of LW3 and wish we could be friends. This letter was equal parts hilarious and terrifying!

  86. Dr Sarah*

    OP #1: One point that I’m surprised that nobody brought up is that it is possible to get a hands-free pumping setup and thus keep typing while pumping, which you can’t do while breastfeeding. Depending on how often and for how long your baby nurses (and on how much of your job can be done by typing, but I’m assuming quite a lot if you WFH), this could actually make pumping more compatible with work than breastfeeding is.

    As I say, a lot depends on the baby. I’ve been reading all these comments about how babies only take ten minutes to nurse so it’s a lot quicker than pumping while thinking ‘waaaiiiiit…. there are babies that do this?’ My early months of motherhood were a fog of my baby wanting to be on my breast non-stop.

  87. Hyaline*

    OP1–you got a ton of views and experience upthread, but one thing I didn’t see mentioned (apologies if it was!) is that with babies, everything changes SO fast. Kiddo is eating every few hours now, but within a couple short months, the schedule stretches out with larger feedings and longer times between. Then you intro solid food and the game changes again. Then kiddo discovers cups and WOW cups are FUN and (depending on kiddo) I never need to breastfeed AGAIN and you get the idea. You’re worried about your initial setup, which makes sense–it’s your first hurdle!–but don’t stress if it’s not perfect, because the situation is going to change very rapidly and you’ll have to keep pivoting and refining as you go. That’s normal and ok. So maybe working from home is not an ideal solution, but maybe it works best with the feeding schedule right now. It’s not forever. And then working at a space away from home works better in a couple months even if you’re needing to break and come home a couple times a day. That’s not forever, either. And then maybe being away all day a couple days a week works better later (and you can better prioritize that deep work). Basically–no, working from home is not ideal and a coworking space is not ideal but maybe each will have a place as you remain flexible and find what works for you. Good luck!

  88. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – it might not be you, but it was suggested, that the exodus started before you got there and others are now active candidates in outside situations. You can throw money at the problem, but you might want to sit with the eight individuals, one-on-one, and have what is often called a “come to Jesus” meeting – express your concerns, and you can ask leading questions. “Is there something wrong, that might need fixing?” “Is the compensation fair?” “Not saying we’ll do them but is compensation fair, in this market?”

    And remember, in situations of full employment, which we are now enjoying in the United States (apologies to those who AREN’T employed), people do jump ship for a variety of reasons. They’re less reluctant to try something new.

    #4 – I took a slight pay cut once, and it was the best thing I ever did. BUT it was a SLIGHT cut. I escaped a world of 24/7 on-call, where my family’s sleep was interrupted three times a week. I was in a sweat-shop. Getting out saved my life. But if it’s a MAJOR cut, as someone said – it could put excessive strain on you in other areas of your life, and greatly affect your quality of life. We need more specifics.

    #3 – the group interivew. RUN.LIKE.HELL.

  89. Hermione Danger*

    #2 As someone who left a tight and talented team earlier this year and was the first of several to do so, I can tell you that it was not remotely my new manager’s fault. They were amazing and their efforts made it emotionally harder for me to leave, even though I’d been planning to for months prior to their arrival. I left anyway because the leadership above that new manager made demands that negatively affected me, my team, and the work we did, and I knew those people weren’t going to change.
    So take a look at the people above you and how they handle things, because they may be what’s driving your team away.

Comments are closed.