For the past few years, my wife has usually been the one to go out for work, while I have worked from home in a variety of positions: as a researcher, a marketing consultant and a freelance writer. Since our oldest daughter was born three years ago, I've had two roles at the same time, since I've been both a working dad and a stay-at-home dad.
These experiences have led me to a few conclusions. One is that being a full-time stay-at-home parent is the hardest work I've ever done, so people who portray staying at home to watch the kids as “not really working” are completely delusional. When I saw a vicious political cartoon in my local paper that portrayed stay-at-home moms as lazy obese women lounging around on a couch in front of the TV with a bag of chips, I felt something close to rage. It still amazes me that the paper would have given a forum to such garbage.
My other conclusion is that people who say you need a door with a lock on it in order to work from home are absolutely right. It's almost impossible to try to work while you are simultaneously responsible for feeding a baby, changing a baby and comforting a baby. However, there just aren't any other options right now. We can't afford day care, and we need to have two incomes, so the only remaining option is for one of us to work from home. That's the reality of being working parents in America today.