The Yahoo Fiasco and Moms Helping Moms

heavier things

I kicked my Yahoo email address to the curb a loooong time ago.  I’m a Gmail devotee, and every search is done through Google or the handy toolbar in Chrome.  When I heard about the latest Yahoo outrage involving Marissa Mayer, my initial thought was, “Yahoo is still a thing?”

Color me surprised.  Not only is it still “a thing” (I GUESS), but it’s also in the midst of serious controversy.  For those of you who haven’t heard, Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer is throwing the axe down on telecommuters.  No more working from home.  All y’all need to hoof it to headquarters.

I know that opinions on this are wide and varied, but my own opinion is that this is a step in the wrong direction.  To imply that telecommuters don’t carry the same value, the same experience, and the same qualifications as someone who checks in to a brick & mortar location is narrow minded, to say the least.  It’s a quick fix for a company that has a myriad of other internal issues.  I think that working from home is… fantastic – for companies, for families, for the environment (how many cars are off the road Monday through Friday now that telecommuting has become a real option?) – and that it’s the company’s responsibility to implement the proper tools and methods of accountability that allow for this sort of relationship to be feasible.

In this case, since I’m a freelancer, I’m responsible for myself.  I have to meet deadlines and submit W9s and pay taxes and try not to go to jail.  But I also have three children, a husband who works full-time and then also runs his own side business, and food allergies to contend with (translation: I basically have to cook from scratch when I’d love to order fajitas to go).

A year ago a friend sent me a link with a “Pssst look what I found” note.  It was a message board with my blog as the topic, and people were making wild assumptions.  “She probably has a full-time nanny and/or a regular cleaning service.”  “They hire out a lot.”

Lolololol, y’all, who’s confusing me with J. Lo?  None of those things are bad, but our income would have to increase by leaps and bounds for us to even consider those.  But I will tell you what we do – starting this year – and how it’s been a win-win-win situation for us.

Meet Rachel.


She’s on the right (if you couldn’t guess).  Rachel and her husband have been married for two and a half years, and four months ago they welcomed a really cute baby boy, Isaiah.  Like many new moms, she had struggled with the decision to go back to work or stay at home.  If she put her son in daycare full-time, the cost (here in the expensive state of Connecticut) was almost as much as her take home pay.  In the end, she’d be averaging out at $3/hour.  Ultimately, Rachel and Steve decided to trim down their budget where they could so Rachel could stay home.  Steve would look into working more hours to make ends meet.

Now enter my family.  Sophie started preschool the beginning of this month, which now means she and Remmy are at school for half the day.  I loved the idea of getting the bulk of my work done while the two older girls are in school.  Minnie takes an hour long nap in the morning, but that hour goes by quickly.  So Jack and I came up with an idea, and presented that idea to Rachel and Steve.  (Jack has known Rachel since she was a wee little tot, so we’re all friends, in case you were wondering if I just downloaded a stranger’s photo off Facebook.)

Four mornings a week, Rachel and baby Isaiah head over to our house.  They arrive right after Minnie and I drop the big girls off at school.  Isaiah and Minnie spend the morning with Rachel while I work.  Minnie takes a nap at ten am, and Rachel will nurse Isaiah, hang out with him for a bit, and then put him down for his nap.  If it’s one of those glorious days that both babies are napping at the same time, Rachel will offer to throw in a load of the girls’ laundry or chop up some vegetables for dinner.  If it’s a cranky baby day, then Rachel spends more time doting on the babies.  Sometimes it’s hers, sometimes it’s mine, sometimes it’s both.


All of the pros (from Rachel’s mouth and mine):

– Rachel doesn’t have to pay for daycare.
– Rachel doesn’t have to worry about pumping milk.
– Rachel is able to supplement her family’s income.
– I am able to get work done while knowing that Minnie is in good hands.
– I still get to hang out with Minnie, nurse her, smoosh her face, etc.
– Rachel is way more affordable than a nanny (cause she’s bringing her baby).
– Minnie and Isaiah get to hang out with each other.
– Rachel and I get some face time with an actual grown-up.
– We get the satisfaction of knowing that we’re helping another mom.  (Really!)

Some cons:

– Rachel’s not making the income she was making before she had a baby.
– Sometimes I have to step in if both babies are suddenly causing a ruckus.
– If one baby gets sick, then Rachel stays home so both babies don’t get sick.

Truth be told, I work harder/longer now that I work from home than I ever did at any of the jobs I had before I had kids.  Partially because freelancing requires a lot of hustling, and partially because I have to make every moment count.  While I have a few hours every morning, I still work an hour or so in the afternoon (Minnie naps; Remmy and Sophie have “quiet time”), and then again after the girls go to bed.

All this to say – (ha! maybe my current setup is completely irrelevant, roll with me, I’ve been eschewing caffeine for weeks now) – I think Marissa Mayer has a myopic point of view when it comes the benefits of working from home.  She understands the desire to be near children (she had a nursery built for her baby adjoining her office at Yahoo), but… she doesn’t want it for anyone else?  I also don’t think this is just something affects parents – there are some incredible benefits from telecommuting, even if it’s just you and the hum of your dishwasher running.  There are benefits to working in an office, too.  I don’t think one is better than the other, but shutting one down completely is shortsighted.. and kind of foolish.

PS.  We know we’re only a couple months into our working arrangement, so Rachel and I are still treading lightly.  Things are great so far, but if, at any point, this isn’t a good fit for either of us, we’ll adjust as necessary.  Have any of you tried out something similar?

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  • Reply Jess February 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I think I work more hours/week since I started my home business than I ever worked outside the home. My neighbor and I switch off with the littlest of our girls (preschoolers) so we each have a few extra kid-free hours per week. I also hand off work to her that she can do in front of her TV at night (wrapping soap, etc). She gets to make a few bucks and I am able to take on more business as a result. Works out great!! Moms helping Moms – love it!

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I love that, Jess! I need to find a neighbor with teeny kiddos like mine. The house next door and the house across the street are for sale, so here’s hoping. :)

  • Reply Yuliya February 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

    The Rachel set up sounds completely genius. When I stayed at home with my daughter (for the first two years) I would have given anything to find that kind of arrangement…to the point that I started researching communes!

    As for virtual flexible work, yeah I’m a huge fan (semi shameless plug http://www.slideshare.net/YuliyaPatsay/work-itbbcchicago121103150710phpapp02) and there are so many creative alternatives these days, a friend of mine has opened a co-working space for parents with amazing childcare on site so that parents can have the best of both worlds: an collaborative office with other smart grown ups AND proximity to your kiddo for maximum face smooshing potential.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      I think the idea of community years ago is wayyy different than it is today. Ages ago, helping each other out was the norm… now it’s like “Well, shoot, unless I can pay for a nanny, I can’t do anything.”

  • Reply Jennifer February 27, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I agree. From the view of an an outsider, I think it is a step in the wrong direction and sends a horrible message. From the view of someone that has worked behind the scenes helping companies fix problems, we don’t know the whole story. I hate it, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that there is more going on that the public is doesn’t know about, which is most likely the case seeing the company has been rumored to have problems for awhile. If telecommuting were working for the company then they would be in a better position. She answers to the stockholders of Yahoo, not the public.

    PS Being the devil’s advocate really, really sucks.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      True, I’m sure there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and maybe I’m cynical, but I feel like this a cheap way to make some layoffs happen. If people can’t make it into the office (how many of them even live in close proximity to Yahoo?), then they’ll have to quit, and Yahoo won’t have to deal with severance pay.

  • Reply Amanda February 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

    when I was working and expecting my baby, the CFO of our company came for a visit to our branch. our manager wanted all the women in our office to have a dinner with her so that we could bounce ideas and get tips from a working woman who has done well in her career. when i asked her how she balanced her work and family life she told me it was necessary to “integrate” it – she does this by taking her work home and by taking her kid with her to work. i thought to myself, “if i wanted to bring my baby to work with me, you’d have a fit. thanks a lot for the great advice.” and thus, i no longer work there and work part time from home for someone else. i think it’s easy for higher-up people in a company to make a decision that works for them without considering all of the regular employees daily lives.

    • Reply Holly February 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Wow, I sooo agree with this comment! “I think it’s easy for higher-up people in a company to make a decision that works for them without considering all of the regular employees daily lives.”

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Oh wow, I think I would have said, “Oh, I didn’t realize that taking our kids to work is an option! Cool. I’ll be doing that on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now on.”

      Okay, I probably wouldn’t have said that, but I wonder if she realizes how that even came out.

      • Reply Amanda February 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm

        haha yeah i should have sad “oh, ‘bring kids to work’ and ‘take work home’ is great advice. i’ll bring kids in Tuesdays and Thursdays and work from home Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” oh the snide things i think of saying long after the fact.

        • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

          I swear I always come up with them in the shower.

          • Katie February 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

            Love this comment thread! I ran into some similarly delusional higher-ups shortly after my daughters birth. I’m now working from home, more hours and harder work than I ever put in at an office…. and I love it!

  • Reply Rebecca February 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I work for a large corporation where flexibility options depend on your direct superior. Not the best, but could be worse. There’s been a lot of chat in the office about the direction of Yahoo, what this means for our company (if anything). It’s making some waves, f’sure.

    By the way, have you ever looked at http://peasandthankyou.com/ for some inspiration/recipes for your family? She raises her family vegan/vegetarian, so you could find some great stuff in there.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Great site, Rebecca! Thanks for passing it along.

  • Reply Amy @ drivethirtythree February 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    i heard about this on the radio the other day and was like “WHAT?!” I agree..totally a step backwards..and you are right, it’s up to the company to make sure there are policies and processes in place to make telecommuting work. But wait…um the CEO had a nursery built next to her office? So…it’s okay for her to bring her baby to work..but her employees can’t work from home (some of whom may not even have kids). I don’t get it…

    I also heard she took a 2 week maternity leave. that’s just crazy. to each his own though!!!

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Right, I took a short maternity leave, too. But I work from home and had a babysitter come, so it wasn’t that crazy. Wait, it was crazy, but it was feasible because I had the option to be flexible.

  • Reply Jennifer Laura February 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for sharing , I’m always interested to hear how other people make working from home work. My husband works nights so he watches our boy for a few hours during the day, but it’s never enough time because he still needs his down time and wants to spend time with me too, so I try to stop early so we can have lunch together. This usually means I’m trying to answer e-mails on my phone or have my computer open on the floor during tummy time.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Hahaha, I totally understand that. Can’t tell you how many emails I’ve answered while nursing Minnie. :)

  • Reply jane February 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I just wrote this long comment in response to your post (I think MM/Yahoo is making a good decision), but I think this article sums it up better: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/25/172905442/to-become-one-yahoo-tech-company-bans-telecommuting

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      I think there’s a way to “fix things” without alienating a large segment of your employees. Like, “Listen, over the next six months, we’re going to transition into ________, and here’s how we’re going to do it.” I don’t really buy the whole “We’re doing this to become a stronger, more unified company!” I think there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

  • Reply Erin February 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I work for a global organization, but have had the privilege of working from home full time for the past two years. This news scared me a little (hoping other companies – mine included! – don’t follow suit) but I am blessed with an AMAZING boss (a mother to 3 herself) who trusted me with this arrangement and we’ve been able to maintain it with frequent communication and flexibility. I have a standing weekly call with my boss and I travel to New York City (from Pittsburgh) for 2-3 days once a month (and other times as needed). I do have a full time nanny as well (have you tried doing conference calls with 3 kids under the age of 4 under foot??) but I’m righthere if I’m needed for anything during the day, and I have enough flexibility where I can do the occasional gymnastics class and preschool pick-up/drop-off so it’s a great system for our family. :)

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Sounds like a great system, Erin! So glad for you. It sounds like you and your boss have an incredible working relationship, too!

    • Reply Ingrid March 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Go Erin! I think you are a wonder woman. I seriously don’t know how you and Mike do it!

  • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Roo, can I just like, reach out? Therapy style? Because I feel like we’re friends even though we’re totally not? (HAHAHA BUT ARE WE? Internetz?)

    Here goes…

    Long story short — I AGREE WITH YOU. Long story long…

    This is really encouraging to me. My baby boy is 7 months old and I was forced to go back to work full time when he was just 8 weeks old. Here’s the kicker — I work as a writer for a WEBSITE. That means if I have access to the internet and a phone, I can literally do my entire job. But my company refuses to let me telecommute, despite the fact that the laughable wage they pay me plus my husband’s salary (my husband is a full time youth pastor, by the way, which you can probably understand since Jack leads worship… pastors don’t make that cheddah) do NOT afford even the OPTION of PART TIME childcare.

    However, telecommuting isn’t something that ISN’T done for my company. If one of us is “sick” or having a bad morning, we have the option of working from home. But to allow me to do that full time in order to care for my baby is absolutely not an option. I don’t understand.

    Here’s the I NEED THERAPY part. Because I am heartbroken.

    This situation is forcing us to pick up and move our family far away from the life we’ve built. Far away from the church in which we serve. Far away from the kids that Dan ministers to. Possibly moving in with my mom. Because we can’t care for our baby this way.

    I just feel like if my company would let me work from home, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

    See also: reasons I’ve been so persistent about learning from you about how to monetize my blog.

    Okay. I’m done sobbing on your blog now.

    • Reply Kirby February 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Oh swettie, this is heart breaking. We will be praying for you, of course, but have you brought any of this up to management, maybe they would be willing to work with you. Teleworking 3 days/week and possibly getting a sitter. Hey, work later so maybe you can “hire/barter” with one of those kids he ministers to. You know you teach them about your job, tutor them or something in exchange for a free sitter….or with someone else from the church. I’m sure you’ve tried lots of things and I totally know where you are coming from, I was fortunate enough to be a SAHM with my oldest but had to return to work after 12 weeks with my youngest and now that I’m a single mom, I have no choice to continue working. So again, we will be praying for you that it works out to be what’s best for your family.

      • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

        Thank you for your prayers! Please keep them coming. We have faith that God will prove faithful in this season but it is disheartening for sure.

        We have gone to upper management, both at my job and my husband’s. They just won’t budge. They say if they deviate at all from an 8-5 “in the office” environment for one person, they’ll have to do it for everyone and they refuse to do that.

        Which I don’t get. Why NOT do it for everyone? So many studies have shown that people who work from home are actually MORE productive than those who work in an office.

        I could go on, really…

        • Reply Meagan B. February 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

          I will be prayin as well! The Lord will provide but when you can’t see how it is very scary! I am a SAHM but I watch my niece and nephew and I kind of know where you are coming from. I went back to work after only one week of “maternity leave” with both of my babys. I watch 4 children (2 my own) but we are talking about moving, having a third, and my husband switching jobs. It is all so up in the air right now that it is a little disconcerting. What will our family look like a year from now? Will we be happy? In a good home? With enough income? Oh my heart breaks for you because I’m sure you are asking yourself these same questions. Take heart that I am right there with you resting in the peace of the Lord!

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Oh my gosh. Who’s been taking care of your baby while you’re working? This sounds like a really rough situation. :( I think it’s hard to be productive at home while caring for a baby, but if you could flex your hours, you could work while he naps, at nighttime, on weekends, for example. I’m so sorry that you’re in this situation, and I hope that something changes soon!

      • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm

        My husband has been pulling double duty since Dax was born. Since he’s a pastor he does have a very flexible schedule and when Dax was a newborn, it was pretty manageable because he slept so much but now he needs constant supervision and Dan just can’t do it anymore. :(

    • Reply Roo September 15, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Psst. Remember this comment? ;)

      • Reply Lindsay September 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm

        HAHA WOOOWWWW what a throwback. I feel the need to provide an update!

        – I should have gone to real therapy. I mean, blog-comment therapy is certainly more affordable than the traditional kind but JEEZ what a mess I was.
        – Dax is now almost 2 and a half. Wowwww.
        – My husband and I were both offered jobs at a church in South Florida. At first, I was permitted to work from home under my initial supervisor but he got fired for uh… being a Shady McShadesALot so now I don’t work from home that much anymore. (About 8 hours a week.)
        – Dax has started preschool two days a week which helps buuuut…
        – I’m not on birth control and if Minnie does that thing she did that one time where she is so freaking cute that she makes me spontaneously ovulate 1,000 times and I get pregnant again (and I DON’T end up miscarrying) we’ll have to change things AGAIN because, with our current financial situation, we really can’t afford school/daycare for two kids.
        – We are now a one-car family because of that whole finances thing. Have any insight on Mopeds? ;)
        – My spirits are certainly higher than they were when I first wrote this (which is great since that was ALMOST two years ago, again, DANG) but
        – Because Dax’s still so little, I still have trouble feeling like I’m “choosing” work over my child (and, God-willing, future children) when I’m away from him during the days. I KNOW that I’m not. I’m choosing to provide for him. Of course. But it just FEELS like it sometimes and if telecommuting was more acceptable I feel like we would be able to manage that tension a little bit better. Also, it all really boils down to the fact that I’m selfish. He will only be this little once. I’m going to blink and he’s going to be a teenager who hates my guts and wants nothing to do with me and THAT will be the time that I dive headfirst into a career-minded lifestyle/vats of ice cream.
        – It will certainly be hard to monetize my blog as I really don’t blog anymore because… well, we can talk about that offline if you have the time. :) #GOMI #eatingmyfeelings #passthepizza

        • Reply Roo October 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

          Let’s get on a video chat. For real. Email me; let’s book it.

  • Reply Kirby February 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I think that’s an awesome idea, Roo! I wish I could tellework at least once a week, cut back on daycare one day at least (I will soon with the threats of sequestration and furloughs….ah!) and be able to drop off the older kids in the AM and Pick them up so I’m not paying for after-school program. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite figured out how to do that. I’m working on it. Shoot, I can furlough one day, telework another day, cut back on gas, daycare (2 days), after-school program (2 days) and spend more time with my lovey. I am totally capable of nursing and typing (most of what my job consists of) or nursing and training (all computer based and like a movie) or playing with the babester while listening/watching the training, also, she naps so I can do that during naps and when the big kiddos are home, i can send them for showers (so cool they can do it all on their own as long as we turn the water on!) and still be working and cooking. Oh the possibilities, I can get more done without screaming kids and still be working and be less stressed. ROO! Come pitch this to my supervisor…..3 day in the office work week, one day furloughed, one day teleworking!

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Even once a week would be so nice for you, Kirby!!

  • Reply J.Mill February 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I’m with you on this one and wrote a blog post on it yesterday. http://answertheunasked.blogspot.com/2013/02/tipsy-tuesday-telecommuting.html

    I think that one thing you and I have in common when it comes to telecommuting is our self-accountability.

    We push ourselves to get things done and not waste time for the sake of our business (self employed or not).

    The problem with Yahoo is that they are a bloated, struggling company in comparison to their tech counterparts. This decision is smart for them and will force some accountability (and some downsizing). If there are valuable telecommuters, they will find a way to be employed (and maybe for a thriving company – not Yahoo). If they aren’t valuable, they will go off and launch their start-up… which is what they’ve been working on all along while taking a paycheck from Yahoo.

    Insiders at Yahoo and former employees know that this is the right thing for Yahoo at this time. Who knows, once M.M. turns the limping company around, maybe they can reinstate this privilege.


  • Reply Rebecca February 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    First, I love this blog. Thank you for keeping me entertained every day. I grew up in CT, too, which makes me think we’re like buddies or something. False in reality, but ya know. Any-who…

    It remains to be seen whether nixing telecommuting (along with countless other changes) will do the trick to put Yahoo back on the map, and if I were telecommuting and had to suddenly stop, I’d be upset, too. Heck, I wish my boss now would allow me to work from home! However, coming from Google’s “think-tank” environment it would only make sense for Marissa Mayer to implement core ideologies from a company that’s doing everything right, in order to try to salvage a company that has done quite a bit “wrong” (by comparison).

    It is likely that telecommuting will come back to Yahoo in some form at some point, and maybe Mayer will consider other folks’ babies and build in a nursery component for the rest of the company. Let’s hope that she can move the corporate world that way! But if you delve further, many of the work-from-home employees at Yahoo weren’t as productive, and there were many who Yahoo was hoping to shed (w/o using standard layoffs) anyway. Whether this is a nice way of purging people or not, it is a way to see exactly what everyone is doing and start “anew,” on the same page.

    As women and moms, we should be supportive of one of only 42 female CEOs in Fortune 1000 companies. That accomplishment alone should be the big news. Encourage people like Marissa Mayer – women who have made it to the top of their field – to change the corporate world in favor of mothers, but let’s not knock her down so soon into her leadership over just one of the zillions of decisions she has to make each day. If a male CEO built a nursery next to his office, we’d all be swooning over a man that values family. Marissa Mayer has them, too. Let’s applaud her corporate accomplishments and wait to judge her until she has some time to establish a track record at Yahoo. Let’s support other women, whether they work from home or in an office, and teach our daughters to admire women with goals and drive in all spheres of their lives.

    Sorry that got longer than intended. Womp.

    BTW, I think your arrangement with Rachel is super creative and cool! Hope it keeps working for you both! And, lastly, I appreciate the peek into how you make your day-to-day life work. Those are always posts I enjoy.

    • Reply Sabrina February 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      I totally agree, and I’m a full-time working mom that would looooove to have the ability to telecommute.

      • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

        :) See my response to that comment right therrrreee… V V V V

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I totally agree that Marissa Mayer should be celebrated because not only is she a woman CEO, but she’s young, too, and making strides! However… and this probably seems incredibly cynical, but I Just.Don’t.Buy. any of the reasons they’re giving for completely shutting down the option to telecommute.

      I suspect that Yahoo was on the verge of needing to do some big layoffs. Instead, they’re shutting down telecommuting, which puts those employees in a bind. My first question: Are all of the employees who telecommute within a reasonable commuting distance to the office? Or have they relocated? Second: Is three months’ notice really feasible for people to go from working from home 5 days a week to working at the office? What if these people share a vehicle with their spouses since they’re able to work from home? Now they need to buy a car, and quickly.

      So, my guess is that some people are going to quit, and that’s great for Yahoo, because now Yahoo doesn’t have to lay them off and then give them severance pay. I’d applaud her decision to build a nursery at her office if she built a daycare facility for the rest of the employees, know what I mean? :)

      I support other women, absolutely, but I won’t throw blind support behind someone who is making decisions that seem to be detrimental to a lot of people’s careers and lives.

      Heyyyy I’m sure you wanted to read an essay. Hahahaha, thanks so much for speaking on behalf of the other side of the coin. You’re great, Rebecca. :)

  • Reply Amy February 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    So I’ve been working as a nanny for 5 years, and I love it, it has been great for me, for the children, and for the parents. But my life is heading in a new direction now, and someday I’m ging to be starting a new career, getting married, and wanting to have kids, but stuff like this makes me nervous about that. I know that in the career field I want to get into, I won’t be making the amount of money it would take to justify hiring a nanny for my future children. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot. When I was a kid I fully planned on using my mother as a free babysitting service, but now I know how much that would be asking. But I really dig your setup. It looks like you have a great friend in Rachel, and I hope one day women will all support each other the way you two do. That Megan lady sounds like she needs a cheek smoosh. I gotta get off yahoo.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I’m really blessed… this is a great setup right now, even though I’m responding to this comment with Minnie on my lap. :)

  • Reply Melanie S February 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Have you read http://www.girlsgonechild.com? She just posted something similar and then posted an awesome video of Amy Pohler thanking her child care providers who allow her to do her job. We have to find what works for our own families. For us staying home wasn’t an option an when my triplet boys were born, we had a wonderful woman come every day. Eventually we moved them to a daycare/learning center and had amazing staff members watching my children.
    For me, telecommuting would be nice but I honestly would have still sent my children to daycare so that I can focus on my work. But that is me knowing my limits and am not sure that I agree that it should be taken away for everyone.

    • Reply Roo February 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      I agree, Melanie. I cannot… CANNOT.. simultaneously be productive AND watch my children. Childcare is a must, I think…. Or, at the very least, flex hours. I’ll check out that post!

      • Reply Melanie S February 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        Flex hours would be perfect! We used to have that option, but it was abused by some employees and was taken away.
        I’m just glad that more an more women are taking about how hard it is to balance work/life and to say its ok that we need help to do it all. And that we aren’t all gettin judgey pants too!

        • Reply Sarah February 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

          YES. THIS. I love that we’re having this conversation as women and as a nation. It’s like we’re not just fighting for all the rights that men have, but we’re fighting now to make our place in these massive corporations. Putting our stamp on the culture.

      • Reply Melanie S February 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Here’s the link to the Amy Pohler clip http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2013/02/thank-you-amy-poehler.html?m=1

    • Reply Erin February 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Melanie, totally agree with you — I am SO grateful for the woman that cares for my children while I work. I know my own limitations, in that I would go crazy being a SAHM … or at least I wouldn’t be a very good one! We are blessed to have her love on our boys during the day while we love on them every other minute we get!

  • Reply Kate February 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    We do (nearly) the exact same thing. We barter out childcare- couple of hours here for a sleepover. :) win. win. win. Us parents get to work, gocery shop, or sleeeeep in without a concern of how can this work. This same friend/couple friends watched my daughter for a while but I felt it was straining our friendship- which is when we decided no more money exchanging (just tighten the old budget belt) and do fair swapping. I don’t mind a little sleepover- toddlers sleep great! and tire each other out :)

    As for Marissa, I do what I want. And I’ve been yahoo free for at least 8 years. Boom, roasted.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

      Totally smart. And here’s my question… she went from using a gmail account to yahoo? Come on.

  • Reply Sarah February 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I think the situation you have going is awesome and I love that there are two families working together to make things work for both of you and that is awesome beyond awesome.

    When I read the article though I could sort of see the point she was getting at though about needing innovation at yahoo and that face time with your coworkers and your project groups is the best way to get that done. I’m not sure that skyping can take the place of getting to know your team, ya know?

    I’m not saying that telecommuting is never good (and I agree with much of what you said in your argument above) but I think that maybe for what Mayer is trying to accomplish that she makes a good point. This is a tough one for me.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:22 am

      I don’t disagree that maybe their telecommuting program needs some work, but… (I’m copying and pasting a response I wrote to someone else here:)

      I suspect that Yahoo was on the verge of needing to do some big layoffs. Instead, they’re shutting down telecommuting, which puts those employees in a bind. My first question: Are all of the employees who telecommute within a reasonable commuting distance to the office? Or have they relocated? Second: Is three months’ notice really feasible for people to go from working from home 5 days a week to working at the office? What if these people share a vehicle with their spouses since they’re able to work from home? Now they need to buy a car, and quickly.

      So, my guess is that some people are going to quit, and that’s great for Yahoo, because now Yahoo doesn’t have to lay them off and then give them severance pay.

      It just seems disingenuous to me. Like “Oh, we need face time!” Sure, that may be A reason, but I don’t think it’s THE reason.

  • Reply VivaLaCottage February 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I was reading about this last night on Daily Beast and shouldn’t have let it grind my gears, but lordy did it! We agree with DB that “sometimes it seems that Mayer has to go out of her way to prove that she is more male than most men!” I mean, who doesn’t take maternity leave…even men take paternity leave now a days. Arrr .We have never worked as hard as we do now working from home. Actually, we sometimes fantasize about the days when we went to work at an office and were able to check our problems at the door.
    I digress from the main point I wanted to make. Thank you for opening up the doors of sisterhood once again to us, Roo. Right when we wonder if the intensity of balancing mommyhood and work is as chaotic for others as it is for us, you step right in and give us a glimpse of how you work it. Muchas gracias!

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:23 am

      “Actually, we sometimes fantasize about the days when we went to work at an office and were able to check our problems at the door.”

      Yes, a million times this.

  • Reply bethaney February 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Awesome post. I don’t have kids but I am a freelancer and enjoy the freedom it allows. If one of my clients did away with telecommuting, I’d find work elsewhere. Sad that Yahoo has taken to this drastic measure.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Freelancer high five, Bethaney. Totally agree with you.

  • Reply Ashley @ Yeah. We Bake. February 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I rarely even glance at the comments section of most blogs, but for some reason I at least scroll through yours and sometimes read every single one. Thanks so much for consistently sharing thought provoking posts. I really enjoyed today’s especially. As someone without children but with a big move coming up and no promise of a job right away I learned from each of your commenters that everyone has a unique story and a unique set of circumstances. There is no one right way to do everything.

    Anyway, thanks again, Roo.


    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Aw, thanks Ashley! I love that you read the comments! :D

  • Reply Los Franich February 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I absolutely agree with you regarding Marissa Mayer. She had the perfect opportunity to speak out for women’s rights and equality being the CEO (while pregnant, even!) of Yahoo and instead she seems to have gone backwards. It’s unbelievable that she equates working from home as being less important than working inside an office when it seems actually much harder when caring for children at the same time. I see no benefits for the working mom on her side of the argument . What a shame.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Parenting aside, even every single telecommuter was childless, this seems like a bad – and sudden – move.

  • Reply S February 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I have no kids (yet) and honestly have no idea what I will do when I do, but they are at least a couple years off for us. I did work as an assistant manager in retail for 5 years, where a fellow assistant manager approached our district manager to request off for her son’s birthday. He denied her (in front of us) and said “when I leave for work in the morning, my daughter is still asleep, and when I come home at night, she is already in bed, so no, you need to make a sacrifice”. That company? Well, they are a super popular baby store.. I thankfully no longer work there, but it blew my mind how unaccomidating it was. Retail hours are awful and change week to week, so there is no planning around them.
    Where I work now I give my company 24/7 availability. Meaning, one day I can work 12pm-9pm and the next day 3am-12pm, then maybe 6am-3pm, then maybe 10am-7pm. Basically I work a random 8 hours a day, and it changes weekly. I literally have no consistency in my schedule at all from week to week. The only reason I do it is because I work for a really good (top 10 fortune 500) company and love what I do.
    I really applaud stay at home working parents. I know in most situations, working parents are working even harder at what they do to stay ahead. I completely agree that this is a step in the wrong direction.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Wow, that manager sounds like he was awful at his job. :(

      S, that’s a craaaazy schedule, but it sounds like it comes with some awesome benefits. Sounds like you have to roll with the punches every day.

  • Reply Meg February 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I tried working from home with 2 toddlers when we were starting up our medical practice (but the office hadn’t opened yet). THAT didn’t work. Then I tried bringing a babysitter who was an ed major at a local university for a few mornings a week. That worked better. Sort of. And then we opened. And I went crazy. So now I go to work and the kids go to daycare/preschool. I wish it had worked the other way, and I’m so grateful we had the option to try it first, and the ability to decide for ourselves what brand of crazy we prefer!

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:28 am

      Totally hear you, Meg! Plus, I think this sort of flexibility embraces the fact that we all work a little differently. I would never be able to get work done and watch kids at the same time. (For example, I’m responding to this comment, and everyone’s been in bed for hours now. :)

  • Reply Caitlin February 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Oh, Roo; I love your thought-provoking posts!
    Now, Yahoo I think is right to call home telecommuters. Well, for the most part — I do think telecommuting is an option that should always be available at a company if you need it (my company doesn’t offer it, and it’s a shame because when we have kids, I will be in a bit of a bind over my paycheck vs. daycare costs)

    While I think that telecommuting when you have small children should be a very available option to most people, there isn’t much evidence that those are the types of people she’s calling home. I am taking a guess here and thinking that Yahoo was actually losing money on the people who work from home… partly because I am not a fan of Yahoo, so I’m sort of thinking “What could they do from home?” But partly because it’s kind of a public secret that Yahoo isn’t doing so well.
    I don’t think it has anything to do with SAHMs, really. I bet it has more to do with people who are doing less work and more Facebook when they’re on the clock and off premises.

    But also, let’s not forget that this is the same Melissa Meyer who skipped out on most her her maternity leave only a couple of weeks after the birth of her child to continue working at her (then brand-new) CEO position at Yahoo. Maybe she doesn’t have much patience for dual parenting and working? I’m making broad assumptions on that one.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

      I agree with you, Caitlin. I wasn’t trying to imply that this had to do with SAHMs. There are proper infrastructures and tools of accountability that companies should put into place when making telecommuting happen. I think that Yahoo is due for some layoffs, and this is a big ploy to get people to quit so they don’t have to deal with the expense of severance pay.

      • Reply Caitlin February 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Ah, now wait — I read further into it, and rumor has it that Marissa built (with her own money) a nursery directly adjacent to her office at Yahoo.
        Now I think THAT is unfair and a driect insult to her employees who may not have the same opportunities (and the kind of money) that she has to take care of her children. She should at least be providing a daycare on site for employee child care, the same way she has (supposedly) done for herself! Especially if some of the people who are now required to work at the office have smal children.

        I bet there would be less stress in our lives if we (Americans) had a better “support” network (overall — not just daycares!) for our children.

  • Reply Jen February 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    I love that so many have talked/joked about the commune idea. You’re not alone. My therapist (I ain’t ashamed!) has told me many times that Moms (working or not) should have assistants, especially if their husbands work crazy long hours (as mine does). I think the arrangement that you and Rachel have made is brilliant, and that if more mothers did this (again, working or not) there would be a greater sense of community, and a way for those who do need a bit of extra income to earn it. What you and Rachel are doing is, personally, a glimpse into the future of how we will care for our kids as we try to do what’s best for us as mothers and women.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:30 am

      I hope we can all do it a little bit more! I think we all need a few more win-win scenarios in our lives. :)

  • Reply Laura Shaw February 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Is it just me or does it seem like you add a new post every day?!? How is this possible with three kids?

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Haha, Laura, I try to post four times a week. I think I’m due for an extended break, though. *yawn* :)

  • Reply Juliana February 28, 2013 at 12:48 am

    This is a huge deal here because the Yahoo headquarters are in the SF Bay Area about 1 hour from San Francisco. There are a ton of people now to have to make the trek into work and a lot of people who work at Yahoo live in SF. I can’t imagine this whole idea of her’s is going to last for long.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Yesssss, I totally agree, Julianna. How about those people that are telecommuting that aren’t within a reasonable commuting distance? I stand by my statement that I think this is a ploy to avoid formal layoffs.

      • Reply Juliana February 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        Agreed. You know she would get a lot of media attention if she came in and let go 1,500 employees. I feel like she is forcing her employees to choose between their families and thier careers. There will be a lot of people who will have to quit and for for a job elsewhere and that is no so easy in Silicon Valley.

  • Reply Aya Amurjuev February 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Firstly, I love how you articulated what we were all thinking and took down the pompous internet execs a couple of notches in your opening. Yes, Yahoo is totally not a thing. Thanks for saying that out loud.

    Secondly, I just read a good article explaining why Marissa Myer’s is fair, just, and good: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2013/02/27/yahoo-kills-telecommuting-three-cheers-for-marissa-mayer/

    I was all convinced until I read your post. Of course it’s not fair! It will be fair when all mothers working for Yahoo will also get custom built nurseries attached to their offices (or cubicles, or whatever.) Very astute and persuasive analysis. YOU’RE SMART, YO!

    Lastly, I think your arrangement with Rachel is awesome. I wish I lived in a community where I knew people who would be willing to try that out with me. I seems like a very smart, sane option. The hoops I’m jumping though to get my 3 babies’ daycare paid for right now are not at all fun.

    Awesome post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! MORE LIKE THIS MORE LIKE THIS! :)

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 7:50 am

      I read that post you linked, Aya, and I want to call BS on every single point. Check the comments when you have a second – people are posting interesting stuff regarding the work culture in the US.


      • Reply Kate February 28, 2013 at 8:40 am

        If its going to be such a big problem, I think we should just revert back to the 50’s, dust off our pearls, and start baking. And stop voting. And get push up bras and cute dresses.

        Coming from someone who made an okay/decent salary prior to having a baby, I decided to not return full time (after that maternity leave “payback” was out of the question) but the culture in the U.S. is work, work, work. Well, I don’t have timmmmmme. I’m busy raising my daughter and teaching her cute little fist bumps.

        I figure, they (future children, currently it is 1) are only little once. Soooo, lets be broke now, don’t worry no bill collectors here (or my dream kitchen :() and then when the kid(s) are school age, work can be a full time college-saving priority again.

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  • Reply Liz March 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I am so ridiculously late to this discussion but I wanted to say that after I had my son, my boss was kind enough to allow me to work from home one day a week. My husband is self-employed but also watches the baby full-time so he needed one day a week when he could go to meetings, have important conference calls, or just get out of the house. And I need more time with my baby than weekends and 2 hours a night. It’s been a few months with this arrangement now and it seems to be working out perfectly. I still log my office hours 4 days a week and when I’m at home, I’m able to start work earlier and end work later so that if I have to be offline for 30 minutes here and there, I’m still getting my hours in. And most of all, it’s helped my job satisfaction. I know not every employer is this generous and it’s kept me from entertaining offers elsewhere, despite any significant pay increase I could potentially get. Win/win for everyone!

    • Reply Roo March 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Liz, that sounds like an awesome setup! Kudos to you and your employer for making it happen! :)

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