One of the top questions I get asked is “What do you do with Wacey while you’re working?” The answer? He comes with! He’s been coming to work with me since he was a month old, and hasn’t stopped since. It’s basically our only option, since there isn’t any daycare in our county, and private nannies/babysitters are way out of our budget, and very hard to find round these here parts.
We’re very lucky that we are in a very family-oriented industry on a particularly family-oriented ranch. I remember when my current boss called me and offered me the job, we hadn’t yet told anyone I was pregnant. I said “Yes, I definitely want the job, but would you offer change if we were, ah, expecting a baby in February?” He didn’t even skip a beat between saying that of course it wouldn’t and being so excited for us, and telling me about how he and his wife had never even considered daycare for their girls so why should we? I remember having to close my office door (I worked in town at the time) because I was so overcome and saying a prayer of thanks that this was an option for us.
How Wace has come to work with me has changed as he’s grown, but he’s been my sidekick from day one.
When I used to go into the office every day when he was a tiny baby, I’d time it so he’d sleep most of the time–he spent many an hour passed out in his bouncer or pack n’ play while I worked on cow records or paperwork. I used to have to go into the kitchen of the bunkhouse and work, though, because turning the pages of the cow book would invariably wake him up!
I’d usually carry him in my Solly wrap (THE BEST THING EVER) if we were working at the barn or outside. It’s the ranch joke about how he’d sleep through the ungodly din of calves bawling at a branding or working cattle if he were in my wrap–for the first few months, the guys hardly ever saw him awake! He’d stay in his infant carseat if wearing him wasn’t feasible, or if it was cold so that I could wrap him up in blankets.
As he got older and was less thrilled with just sitting in his seat at the barn, I’d bring his carseat with lots of toys and his spare exersaucer and we’d switch back and forth between each of those plus whoever’s lap was available. I’d also stick him in the Ergo if I was going to be on my feet a lot–he started to prefer it over the Solly around 4-5 months.
At the office, I would keep a special set of toys for him to play with and he was usually good for a few 20-minute stretches or so playing by himself, as long as his tummy was full! When it time for a bottle, we got multi-tasking down to a science.
Now that he’s a full-blown toddler, I work mostly from home, during naptimes and after bedtime, and snatches in the afternoon in the playroom if I need to. It’s a lot easier to stay where things are toddler-proof, and where the guys/interns aren’t constantly in and out of the bunkhouse, slamming doors while Wace is sleeping and such. I find that I’ve become a lot more productive after becoming a mother. When I know my time is super limited, I power-work and get done twice as much in less time. As for the barn, rodeos, etc., he’ll usually start in his stroller, and end up “helping” or being toted/followed around by whoever is up to the task. Thankfully, he loves everyone and everyone loves him, so we’re blessed with tons of help when he gets fussy or needs to stretch his legs.
As he gets older, I’m sure we’ll have to change it up even more. I have no idea what we’ll do with two babies next year, but we’ll just have to figure it out.