Q&A: working from home with a tiny baby

Melanie writes:

"I've got a quick question for work from home mothers out there. I'm dueFebruary 14th (my first!) and plan on starting my maternity leave on February 12th. One of the great things about living here in The Bahamas is that I get 12 weeks paid maternity leave so I won't be returning to work until May 7th. I have the option of working from home full time after that but part of my job entails placing answering phone calls (phone calls would be forwarded to me and I would route them back to the office). I also have the option of taking a pay cut and doing only paperwork. Is it feasible to even think about answering office phone calls with a new baby in the house?"

Hmm. From my experience, the problem with answering phone calls is that you can't count on a baby being quiet. If you knew the baby would nap all day (not) or the baby would nurse all day (not) or would be a baby who just never cries (not) you could reasonable answer phone calls. But unless you have a super-fast trigger finger on the "mute" button, the people on the other end of the phone are going to hear crying.

The real problem, though, is that you can't do any job that doesn't let you shift your own workload. When you baby needs to be changed, or rocked down for a nap, or to eat, you can't just let the baby wait (and cry heartbreakingly) while you do your job. You have to have a job that you can put on hold for 5 minutes or 30 minutes while you tend to your baby.

This is why working from home is so hard. (Well, one reason.) If you had the option of having full-time childcare, I think you could answer the phones from home. Otherwise, I think you'd be stressed out and not doing even a decent job of either working or mothering by the second day, and it woudn't necessarily get any better.

Are there any work-at-home moms out there who want to give opinions corroborating or contradicting my advice?