to ask if you work night shifts and you hVe young children...

(42 Posts)
guiltynetter Thu 12-May-16 11:06:49

how do you do it?

I work regular nights as part of my job. no chance of stopping them. I only work part time since having my DD so they are just 2 x 12 hour shifts (unlike when I was full time and did 4 in a row)

on my first night shift I have my 2 year old DD all day. my DH is home from work at 4.30 and we have our tea then I go to bed to try and get a couple of hours in but I never ever can. i lie there desperate to sleep and thinking how hard the shift will be if I don't...I constantly clock watch, I just can't do it. it's a bit pointless really.

subsequently I go to work and by the time I've finished my shift the next morning I've been up for 27 hours with no sleep. I find it terribly hard and often end up in tears blush when I get home I take my DD to nursery for the morning, get 3 hours sleep myself then repeat.

am I just being really soft? I find it really hard to cope! any tips would be great. I've worked nights for 5 years so I'm no newbie it's just since having my DD I've found it hard. thanks.

NapQueen Thu 12-May-16 11:08:43

You absolutely need to use daytime childcare for dd whilst you are working night shift.

NeedACleverNN Thu 12-May-16 11:12:46

Yes you need day time care

Be it a paid nursery or a nanny or something.

You can't work all night and then come home and child care. It's impossible.

My dh used to work night shifts. He would sleep in the day whilst I did the child care (sahm).

He eventually changed jobs because he was only getting about 4 hours sleep at a time. Felt too guilty laying in bed whilst I was downstairs with dc

OhHolyFuck Thu 12-May-16 11:13:55

Hi, I work nights too (4 one week and 3 the next week) and have 2 DSs, 5 and 2

Slightly different in that I'm a single parent so I get home, get DS1 to school and then hang out with DS2 all day, I try and get a nap when he does but as he's gett bigger, he's slowly dropping this
He goes to preschool in September though so I can have 6 hours a day then!

If I'm really tired, I go to bed when they do at 7.30ish and get 3 hours til I leave for work again

It is hard but I like my job and it's the only shift pattern that allows me the maximum time with the kids, I'm working the time they'd be asleep anyway and I'm free all day for school runs/school events/dinners/homework etc

Micah Thu 12-May-16 11:15:18

Agree, get childcare for the days you are on shift. 3 hours isn't enough either, you need a full day. Either get a childminder or extend nursery hours. If you have any sort of responsibility mistakes are very easy to make when you're sleep deprived.

I coped with drugs- an antihistamine or nytol in the morning meant I got a good stretch of sleep. 2 shifts mean you can't get into a pattern of daytime sleep that quick.

Even then it was hard, get home, run DC to school/nursery, get back, have a drink and 20 mins wind down, get to bed around 10, up at 4 to pick up at 5. Like I said I almost found it harder only doing 2 shifts as I was all over the place and never got into a proper rhythm.

Lolly86 Thu 12-May-16 11:15:26

I work 2 nights a week if they are back to back then I have someone watch my DD 2 for 3/4 hours so I can sleep In between shifts. If they are separate then I just don't sleep until the night time after a shift. I also don't sleep before the shift. I think my body's adjusted lol. It's tough though smile

Writerwannabe83 Thu 12-May-16 11:17:13

Absolutely get childcare for the days surrounding your nights. You need sleep!!

bubblegurl252 Thu 12-May-16 11:18:02

I did 2 nights a week meaning I would get up Thursday morning, look after dd all day, go to work that night, get maybe 3 hours sleep then be up with dd all day Friday then off to work again then finally get to catch up on sleep by having a lay-in on Saturday.

Of course when I got pregnant with my son this work schedule made me very ill and I ended up being signed off for my whole pregnancy so I don't do that anymore.

bubblegurl252 Thu 12-May-16 11:19:31

From Thursday morning to Saturday morning (after shift) I would get a total of 6 hours sleep maximum

estya Thu 12-May-16 11:24:42

I used to work 12h nights pre kids. Some other people would put their kids in front of the TV while they slept on the sofa. And the toddlers would wake them up when they were hungry - not my idea of being a parent.

12hrs (plus a couple of hours commute) is a long long night. For me it was so much harder than an 8 hour night shift.
You need a proper rest.

guiltynetter Thu 12-May-16 11:25:27

ohholy your job puts me to shame! so you work 4 night shifts with 3 hours sleep for each of them?! how do you manage that?

I forgot to say we can't afford any extra nursery days. she goes 1.5 days now and it's so expensive, I think if we paid out anymore it wouldn't be worth me working :-/

my nursery does offer flexible working as in - if I could give them a months rota at a time they could a accommodate the days she needs to be in but I don't get my rota far enough in advance.

NapQueen Thu 12-May-16 11:27:39

Would a CM be any cheaper? What is your shift?

If you work, say, 9pm-9am could you have dh drop her off there on his way to work and collect her after a full day on the day between your two lates? Then the day after your last day shift she does a morning only (dh dropping and you collectibg) so you can have some sleep?

Alternatively; could you do a weekend night shift so that dh can have her during the day for you to sleep?

bubblegurl252 Thu 12-May-16 11:28:14

When I was pregnant with my daughter (pre-kids) I was doing 10 10-hour nightshifts in a row lol

Have you spoken to your employer about the rota/childcare situation to see if they are able to give more notice to you?

Writerwannabe83 Thu 12-May-16 11:31:55

Can you have your nights split?

I used to have to do two nights a week but I did them 3 or 4 days apart so I never had to go for prolonged periods without sleep.

Babyroobs Thu 12-May-16 11:32:09

I have worked night shift for 16 years and when they were young it was very hard. At one point I had 4 under seven. I used to be exactly the same as you, up for 27 hours and then just snatching a few hours sleep whilst the kids were at Nursery or with grandparents. It was tough and like you I used to end up in tears , unable to cope and feeling agitated and very unwell . I was lucky in that years ago when my workplace was much quieter, we were allowed a 2 hour break and were allowed to sleep on that break ( this has changed now!). My kids are older now and I probably work about 4 or 5 nightshifts per 4 week rota, sometimes 2 together or sometimes 3. It is fine if they fall on a weekend as dh is home to take care of everything although the noise of people/ kids outside means less sleep. In the week I still have the school run to do for youngest dc so get around 5.5 hours sleep, it still doesn't feel like enough and also I am now late 40's and tnightshifts do get harder the ler you get. Sometimes I have been busty all day and then do not stop all night ( very busy unit).

Babyroobs Thu 12-May-16 11:33:19

sorry that should say busy not busty !!!

Babyroobs Thu 12-May-16 11:37:02

Also have you checked whether you can get any help with childcare costs. I 'm sure you can claim ( dependent on income) even if you are sleeping for the actual hours that your child is in childcare, rather than working.

looki Thu 12-May-16 11:38:16

What can of work allows you to work two nights a week? I know there must be loads but I can only think of nurses and care assistants. I'm asking as I would really like something similar.

OhHolyFuck Thu 12-May-16 11:38:30

guilty I sleep 2/3 hours in the day if ds2 will nap and 3 hours before I go to work

I work with homeless adults so it's not as 'full on' as say nursing, there's often time to sit down with a brew and chat to residents although obviously we have nights where something has happened and its 'go' all night but then I find its adrenaline that gets you through!

Babyroobs Thu 12-May-16 11:45:07

I think the problem with Nursing is that you obviously have to be fully alert all night so a good nights sleep is so important. I do worry a lot if for some reason ( noisy neighbours etc) I haven't had enough sleep. A big part of my nightshift is giving ( often large doses of opiates) to people in pain and I know I need to be completely on the ball obviously as a mistake could kill someone. It does really worry me that lack of sleep could cause me to be unsafe.

guiltynetter Thu 12-May-16 12:28:37

I do have a responsible job, I'm a health care support worker, I give medication & look after children with tracheostomies and ventilators. usually my night shifts are quite drama free but I still struggle! I work alone so I don't have other people to jolly me through! It's the next day I find myself to be teary and ill.

I did look into getting a childminder when I first went back to work but I couldn't find one that I liked with a place for her.

guiltynetter Thu 12-May-16 12:59:32

so I've never used anything like nytol etc - would these only be a good idea if I needed to sleep for a long period of time? for example would it help me get 4 hours sleep before tonight or would I wake up feeling groggy and yuck? x

completelydone87 Thu 12-May-16 13:41:19

I work nights to and am a single parent...i tend to not sleep before my first shift. I get home about 8am get my dd's sorted for school (my sister stays overnight with them whilst I'm at work) and sleep from about 10-2 before getting ready to go collect them from school then that is me awake until I get home from work the next day and do it again...if its weekend my sis or mum keep them for a few hours so I can sleep but most days to be honest I'm just tossing and turning and attempting to sleep before giving up confused I think one weekend I had 8 hours sleep in the space of 80 hours bit was still coping...u get used to it eventually believe it or not grin

ginnybag Thu 12-May-16 14:44:25

I'm very sympathetic and would really recommend you talk to your employer to see what they can do.

Ultimately, though, you need to sort out some form of Childcare or change your working pattern.

My company have a lot of night working staff (and I do them myself) and we make it very, very clear that we expect them to be at home sleeping for reasonable periods between shifts, not trying to carry on with an 'ordinary' day as well.

It's horrible, and hard, I know, but we've had staff disciplined and even sacked when it's become clear that they're coming into work at the levels of tiredness you're describing on a regular basis and its because they're trying to burn the candle at both ends. It's not fair to you, to your family, to your employer, and depending on your job, it may even be dangerous, either to you or to someone else.

I really think your need to either for your shifts to be split up, so your aren't working them back to back, or you need to re-jiggle your childcare around. I'd certainly be asking for more notice of shifts - how mauch are you getting currently? We try either to 'fix' rosters, so people can project them forward, or we give at least a month's notice, so there's time for people to make arrangements.

completelydone87 Thu 12-May-16 16:01:54

I work nights to and am a single parent...i tend to not sleep before my first shift. I get home about 8am get my dd's sorted for school (my sister stays overnight with them whilst I'm at work) and sleep from about 10-2 before getting ready to go collect them from school then that is me awake until I get home from work the next day and do it again...if its weekend my sis or mum keep them for a few hours so I can sleep but most days to be honest I'm just tossing and turning and attempting to sleep before giving up confused I think one weekend I had 8 hours sleep in the space of 80 hours bit was still coping...u get used to it eventually believe it or not grin

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