Check out how this work-from-home dad juggles earning for the family and looking after their newborn baby.
What can you read in this article?
- Why he decided to work from home
- Struggles of working at home with a newborn
- Tips to other work-from-home dads
All parents know that taking care of a newborn is no easy feat. You spend so many sleepless nights feeding your baby, trying to figure out what she wants and the reason behind those cries.
In the olden days and even in some traditional families, the mother is the “default parent” in charge of taking care of the baby, while the father, the breadwinner’s only job is to work for the family and put food on the table.
But the tables have turned. With women balancing successful careers and responsibilities as a homemaker, men have also learned the importance of being present in their children’s lives and sharing the load of taking care of them.
Such is the case of this proud hands-on dad. We found Daddy Michael Joseph Bagtas on LinkedIn, where he shares his advocacy for time freedom and his experiences on taking care of their newborn.
Making the leap to being a work from home dad
Image courtesy of Michael Joseph Bagtas
Daddy Michael, a certified public accountant by profession, was so determined on making sure that he is present in their daughter. Baby MJ’s life that he decided to give up a full-time job in Manila for a work-from-home job that will enable him to look after his child. Now, he’s freelancing as a financial advisor and bookkeeper with clients here and abroad.
Together with his wife Joy, he made the decision to relocate to the province two years ago when they got married. But their plans got delayed because of the pandemic.
Another important factor that made Daddy Michael pursue working from home is to look after his daughter’s health.
Possible complications at birth
Mommy Joy had a very delicate pregnancy. After her first trimester, she still continued to experience excessive vomiting. So they went to the doctor and she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism during pregnancy. Aside from being risky to the mother, hyperthyroidism in pregnancy can also lead to premature birth, stillbirth, and other complications to the baby’s health.
And in what was supposed to be an ultrasound to determine their baby’s gender. The couple found out that she was carrying twins. Unfortunately, the sonologist told them that the other baby had no heartbeat.
“We found out that young womb ni misis, dalawa pala ang nasa loob. We were shocked to learn na twins pala. Pero sabi ng sonologist, walang heartbeat ‘yong isa. So ibig-sabihin, it will not survive talaga,” shared Daddy Michael.
They had suffered from twin reversed arterial perfusion (TRAP), or a condition when the cardiac system of one twin does the work of supplying blood for both twins. This happens to 1 out of 35,000 pregnancies.
Because of this, the surviving twin could also be at risk of having heart problems and complications at birth.
Fortunately, Baby MJ was born without any heart disease or severe complications, except for having a low birth weight and club foot, which can be corrected through therapy later on.
“Swerte rin po namin kasi wala pong naging heart problem ‘yong baby namin. And wala rin po siyang nakuhang sakit sa paggagamot ng misis ko sa hyperthyroidism,” said Daddy Michael.
These situations became a major factor in why Daddy Michael contemplated on being able to work from home. Because although the doctors have cleared their baby of having any congenital heart disease, he wanted to be sure that he will be able to monitor his baby at all times.
“Plan ko na talaga mag-resign, pero at the back of my mind, nag-iisip rin ako kung paano ba ako magwo-work ng nasa bahay.
Kasi although na-consult na namin sa cardio pedia at sinabi sa’min na wala siyang heart problems, sinasabi pa rin niya na hindi niya gina-guarantee na ‘pag labas, wala pa ring problema. So that’s the time we decided na close monitoring dapat ‘yong anak namin.“
However, a few weeks after their baby was born, she started having seizures. After a checkup and some tests, they found out that Baby MJ has pneumonia. Thankfully, after antibiotic treatment, Baby MJ got better and there were no more episodes of seizure.
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Aware that his wife needs support especially during this postpartum stage, Daddy Michael took it upon himself to share the load of taking care of their baby.
“Ayoko rin naman na hindi ko nasasaksihan ‘yong progress o paglaki ng anak namin. At saka sa misis ko rin, sa mga pinagdaanan niya, alam ko na iba rin ‘yong stress level niya. Kaya gusto ko tulungan kami, na hands on kami pareho kay baby,” he said.
Aside from being able to keep a close watch on their precious little girl, Daddy Michael and Mommy Joy also believe in the importance of being their baby’s primary caregivers and raise her with good values.
“Kasi ang mga bata ngayon puro gadgets na lang. Hindi marunong mag-mano. Para lang huminto, bibigay na lang ‘yong tablet.
Para ‘yong pag-supervise sa anak, napupunta na lang sa technology. Ayaw namin ma-experience ‘yon. Ayaw rin namin ‘yong parang iaasa sa iba.
And ngayon, dahil mas naging precious si baby sa’min, kaya sa part ko bilang father, gusto ko hands-on talaga.”
But as the head of the family, Daddy Michael knows that his work is important. So while Mommy Joy is in charge of Baby MJ when he is busy attending to his clients’ needs, he makes sure that he is there to support in other ways like changing the diapers, cleaning the baby bottles, and watching the baby so his wife can rest.
“Kahit hindi literal na binabantayan kasi may work rin ako, at least kahit sa pagpapalit ng diaper, paghuhugas ng bote nakakatulong ako. At saka nakikita ko siya anytime. Kaya nagdecide ako na ganito ‘yong trabahong papasukin ko.”
What Mom has to say
We also asked Mommy Joy about what she thinks of this setup and having Daddy Michael around to help her with their baby. She said that she is very thankful to have a partner who is so hands-on and willing to share the load of caring for a newborn.
“Maswerte ako kasi hindi naman lahat ng father ganoon ka-hands-on. So kung ire-rate mo siya ng 1 to 10, 11 siya. Kasi grabe ‘yong pagkahands on niya kay baby. ‘
Yong kapag naririnig niya na umiiyak si baby, sisilip siya sa’min para icheck kung kamusta kami. Tapos sa gabi, kapag narinig niya na umiiyak si baby. Gigising siya tapos siya magpapalit ng diaper, o siya magpe-prepare ng gamit ni baby.”
Tips on working from home with a newborn
Image courtesy of Michael Joseph Bagtas
Like any work-from-home parent during the pandemic, Daddy Michael also encountered some struggles while doing his job and looking after his baby. For instance, when the baby cries when he is in the middle of a meeting.
But the hands-on dad believes that it’s just a matter of aligning his work schedule and his time for the daddy duties. According to him, having a good schedule is critical so he will be able to accomplish his responsibilities at work and at home.
As a freelancer, he looks for jobs that are output-based as opposed to time-bound. He can also take breaks in-between to help Mommy Joy with nappy changes.
He also shared some good points that other dads (and even moms) can keep in mind when working from home with a kid:
Daddy Michael believes that you should be able to talk to your partner about the delegation of duties and responsibilities so that there will be no misunderstanding later on.
With respect for his clients and for his work, one rule that the couple agreed on is that Daddy Michael shouldn’t be disturbed if he’s in a meeting unless it’s for an emergency.
“Nag-usap na kami ni misis na kapag may mga iyak moments si baby, kapag nasa meeting ako, huwag akong istorbohin unless kailangan talaga ng attention ko.”
At the same time, since he has since adjusted to his sleeping patterns, he took it upon himself to be the first one to take care of the baby in the morning to give his wife a few more hours of rest.
Seek advice from other parents.
As a first-time father, Daddy Michael also sought the advice of friends and seniors in his industry about the realities of being a parent and why they chose to stay in their specific jobs. From their experience, he was able to make a better decision on what matters to him as a father.
As a work from home dad, Daddy Michael believes that having a system is important to make simple tasks easier. For instance, Mommy Joy is the one giving Baby MJ a bath, but he is the one who prepares the clothes that their daughter will wear.
He’s also in charge of keeping things organized and that the bottles are clean while Mommy Joy is in charge of inventory, to make sure that they don’t run out of baby supplies.
“Ako ang nag-aayos ng sequence ng bote, para pagtimpla, mabilis. Tapos si Misis naman ang nagche-check ng inventory. Ako ‘yong nagche-check kung paano magiging systematic sa room, para mas mabilis makita ‘yong mga gamit. Ako rin kasi ang naglilinis.
Tapos si Misis naman ang bumibili sa online ng mga gamit.”
Because of his role as a new dad, Daddy Michael has found a new advocacy which is time freedom. While work is still important, Daddy Michael encourages other fathers to reflect if the job they have now allows them to look after their children and witness their milestones growing up.
“Masarap kasing i-kwento sa anak mo kapag naranasan mo, hindi ‘yong kinukwento lang sa’yo ng asawa mo. Iba pa rin ‘yong nafi-feel mo talaga kasi hindi na mangyayari ulit ‘yan.”
Hats off to you, Daddy Michael!