Working at Home
An increasing number of men today are self-employed (or work some hours for their employer at home). You may be one of them, working in your spare bedroom at home, sitting in front of the computer in your bathrobe and slippers, and setting your own hours and schedule depending on the work. Because of this, you may not have to worry about pleasing a boss or adjusting your schedule to fit someone else.
In any case, your home office is about to be thrown into complete turmoil. Quiet and sanity and free time will all be relics of the past. Why is that, you ask? Because in the space of a few short weeks or months, you are about to be invaded.
In the last weeks of her pregnancy, your partner will probably stop working. Consequently, she will spend more time at home than she has in the past. This will represent a change for you because you are used to working alone and having the place to yourself during the day, but you will adjust. This adjustment is nothing, though, compared to the one you must make when the baby appears.
A baby does not just arrive in a house—she takes over. Her needs reign supreme, and they must be satisfied instantly or tears will stream down her cute chubby cheeks and her cries will ring out like a fire engine siren. Even when her needs are filled, she still cries. As her father, there is nothing for you to do but feed her and change her and walk her and burp her and pray that she falls asleep at some point to give you a break.
Finding a Quiet Space Outside the Home
But you still have to work, right? Even if you keep the door to your office closed at all times—heck, even if you soundproof the door and the walls—it is going to be a challenging work environment. You will hear the baby's cries, as well as the tired desperation in your partner's voice, and inevitably you will open the door and offer to help. Your partner may not wait for you to offer—she may pound on the door and demand it. In any event, when you work at home with a new baby, expect to help out. A lot.
During the pregnancy, it might be wise to check out other possible workplace options than your own home. Can you do some of your work at a library? What about temporarily borrowing or renting a room at a friend's or neighbor's house? If these are not practical, you may want to investigate the possibility of renting an office for six months to a year to get a quiet space to work.
You can also anticipate that you will be working unusual hours in the first months after the baby comes home. You will need to take care of the baby to give your partner a break and let her sleep, and your partner will need to watch her while you work and sleep.
Flexibility is the key when you have a child, whether you work at home, at a job, or whether you run your own business. Advance planning is also useful. Take the steps you need to take at work to find out how much paid leave you and your wife can take. Talk to your employer, who may be sympathetic to you and willing to arrange a schedule that works for you both. Thinking ahead will help you get the flexibility you need.