Confusion about work permit and green card application

So, if anyone could try to break this down for me in the simplest way possible that would be great. Usually my understanding of English is near perfect but as soon as I try to understand the USCIS website my brain just gives up on me.

I’m a EU citizen married to a US citizen. I don’t live in the United States but my spouse and I are planning on beginning the application process any day now so that we can finally be together. However, the timeline confuses me a bit. If I understand it correctly, you file form I-485 as well as form I-130 and I-864 and then eventually I’d have to go to an interview at my local american embassy.

Now to my questions and confusion: at the same time as we’d file for my green card, we would also file for a work permit as those are usually approved before the green card is hence the reason why I’d apply for a work permit, but if it gets approved before my green card would I be able to go live with my spouse and work legally already while waiting for my green card to be approved? If so how would I enter the country? So far I’ve only entered on my ESTA. Would I just show my work permit or is this only for the people who already live in the US on other visas? If this is not possible, do I need to stay outside of the US until it gets approved? And lastly, has anyone here had any recent experience with how long it would take for the green card to get approved? I’ve read online as for people with a US citizen spouse and living outside of the US it would approximately take 11-18 months but I figured I’d ask that as well.

Thanks in advance!

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