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To wonder how the chuff you have a family when both parents work shifts?

(24 Posts)
TraineeBabyCatcher Sun 21-Oct-12 23:24:02

I'm currently at university but the job I will go into is shift work. Dp has finally decided on the job he wants to make a career out of which is fantastic but its shift work aswell and I literally have no idea how we can juggle ds plus both of us working shifts.
Surely other people manage this? Some how?

Can you request certain shifts, or is that entirely down to the job?

Feeling a little bit panicy now, like there's no point me completing my degree if I then can't even work.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 21-Oct-12 23:26:08

It's down to the job but in my bitter experience no one is fighting for the weekend nights, you could request them.

WorraLiberty Sun 21-Oct-12 23:28:55

It's entirely down to the job.

You're both going to have to be realistic about this when applying.

mamamibbo Sun 21-Oct-12 23:29:20

my mum and dad worked shifts and nearly always worked the opposite one so one of them was with us, if not grandma looked after us smile

ENormaSnob Sun 21-Oct-12 23:31:32

I am a midwife and find it really family unfriendly tbh.

We would struggle without our amazing childminder and dh works mon to fri.

FutTheShuckUp Sun 21-Oct-12 23:32:25

Where I work you can only request shifts to a certain extent it's not guaranteed but can give two days (not weekends) where you have childcare issues and they will try to honour them. No idea if that's just my trust or NHS wide

ENormaSnob Sun 21-Oct-12 23:39:07

You could apply for flexible working but it is not always approved.

We can only request a small amount of our shifts each month.

We've decided just today that I'm going to have to resign during my maternity leave because we just can't get childcare to meet our needs.

I just hope I can find something else or we're screwed financially. I guess it helps if you have family nearby to help?

poachedeggs Sun 21-Oct-12 23:40:20

D h works shifts, I work fairlyrandom hours. Our CM has no young children so is OK with doing the odd everything etc and she's really flexible.

If you're lucky it can mean less childcare, not more.

aldiwhore Sun 21-Oct-12 23:41:20

I know a married couple who are both police officers and work different shifts... their time is limited and ruled strictly by a frequently updated calendar, but the time they do have is quality.

It's tough, but they don't seem any more or less down or up than any other parent who really puts effort into quality time.

It's a scary thought, and probably a logistical nightmare, but it is doable.

Finish your degree... some careers expect shift work only until you're experienced enough to get great work as bank staff (depending on career) but if you love the job and that option isn't available, with your degree you can find something that fits better surely? Whatever the future holds, please don't withdraw from your degree, not if you love it... likewise your DH should follow his ideal too. You will make it work if you want to. Even if your family time is a little crazy compared to others!! (My DH is self employed crazy hours - our family unit is strong but unconventional).

poachedeggs Sun 21-Oct-12 23:44:12

Also you will find you get nice time off together sometimes. Family trips on weekdays are ace, no queues anywhere!

WorraLiberty Sun 21-Oct-12 23:46:56

Also you will find you get nice time off together sometimes. Family trips on weekdays are ace, no queues anywhere!

That would depend on whether you have school aged children though.

aldiwhore Sun 21-Oct-12 23:51:00

Meh, lose some ethics worra we just took the children out of school for two days to ride rollercoasters at Alton Towers... though I do agree with you with regards to how many opportunities there are to do that without damaging another important part of life smile

Our school approves everything up to 10 days a year, for any reason... unless a child is struggling it's all seen as part of life's wonderful way of achieving balance... I take them when I need them, and so far, with a bit of planning I've not even got close to using up my quota. (Never ever thought I would advocate planning but needs must!)

whatinthewhatnow Mon 22-Oct-12 00:03:46

I'm a midwife, dh works shifts also. My work are very understanding - my mum comes 2 days a week and they give me my third shift based on DH's day off. This is because we are massively understaffed and they are just really pleased that anyone wants to work for them.

We might get 1 day a week together as a whole family if we're lucky. Usually we don't. It's really hard tbh, esp when almost all of our friends have awesome weekends together (or shit ones watching telly, at least they can do it all together!)

But as someone said upthread, weekday days out are awesome! We had loads of those before ds started school. I remember the first time I went to a museum on a weekend, I nearly cried, it was so busy and awful. So it has its upsides. And we have never had to pay for childcare which has made an enormous difference to us financially and has meant I have been able to work part time.

We're also lucky that neither of us are working christmas day this year.

horsebreath Mon 22-Oct-12 00:57:33

Do you have dc already? Or are you thinking about the future?

If none already, put in a couple of years and get a feel for it.

IME they are desperate for people to work weekends. A lot depends on the person doing the rota and how reasonable they are.

sashh Mon 22-Oct-12 01:54:58

My brother is a cop, his wife is a nurse.

His wife's line manger is also (obviously) a nurse, married to a cop, I think that makes a huge difference, the person making up the rota.

On the up side, their eldest was 5 before she was looked after by anyone other than her parents.

ENormaSnob Mon 22-Oct-12 10:10:14

It was easier before e rostering came into our trust.

Before that you could have a word with your manager/person doing the off duty and generally get by.

Now you are limited to x amount of requests per month. The only way to get round it is to swap shifts with willing colleagues or use annual leave. It is an equitable system but makes life much much harder for the staff with childcare issues.

avivabeaver Mon 22-Oct-12 10:17:12

just one thing to say


There are 2 of you to do childcare, which is one more than some families. You clearly made your choice first, given that you are doing a degree towards it. Point out the difficulties to DP and invite him to find a solution.

skateboarder Mon 22-Oct-12 10:19:27

I know 2 couples who both work shifts. They both have a lot of family help for childcare.
The couple who both do the same job, have weeks they barely see each other as they work alternative shifts. On some weeks, they spend lots of time together, depending on how their shifts fall. Thus being able to have lovely family days out and now their children are at school, have lovely couple days together (usually on the golf course)
One thing my friend did do when her children were small was to get a cleaner and sent her ironing out. Saved them arguing over the small jobs

MrsWolowitz Mon 22-Oct-12 10:20:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FayeKinitt Mon 22-Oct-12 10:33:52

It depends how sympathetic your line manager is and whether e rostering is in force.

When I was a nurse I had e rostering. It was bad. Very bad. It was a big factor in quitting and being a SAHM for a few years that, and I hated the job because it was too hard trying to find childcare for Sunday at 6am or Tuesday 7am-8:30am etc, but never the same requirements two weeks running. And DH quitting or changing jobs wasn't really an option because he has it very good where he is.

My DM on the other hand is a ward sister, and is fab with her staff, bends over backwards to accommodate their childcare needs. Unfortunately she is a rare breed.

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 22-Oct-12 10:42:08

DH and I both work 12hr shifts and the only way we manage is by working opposite shifts. He is on permanent nights so the days where we overlap PIL will keep the kids until I get back.

We're lucky because DS(15) is able to help get DD(5) ready for school if we're both working. I get DS and DD up before I leave (uniforms, lunches and breakfast stuff left out the night before), DS gets breakfast for both of them and helps DD dress. By the time DH gets in (1hr difference max) they are ready, DS heads for his bus and DD gets left off at school. DH sleeps until 2:30 and gets DD at 3. If he's off he will stay awake and make tea etc, if he has to work either PIL or a friend will collect DD and keep her until 5 so that he can sleep longer, feeds the kids and leaves them at PILs as the overlap can be nearly 2hrs depending on how busy the ward is. DS could watch DD but we feel that the morning is plenty of help and it gives him the chance to do his homework without being disturbed.

There are people who I work with who have younger kids who swap round in the car park. It's difficult but it can be done. My slow cooker is a godsend!

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 22-Oct-12 10:48:06

E rostering is the work of the devil! angry It's largely ignored on my ward as everyone swaps shifts around and the WM hates it because it means she is working on 3 rotas at any given time (original rota, the one with all the swapped shifts and the amended version that is submitted and looks nothing like the original). Luckily she knows what she's doing and takes great pleasure in annoying the auditors by telling them how shit it is grin

The odd person takes the piss with requests but WM usually puts a stop to that.

Emsmaman Mon 22-Oct-12 11:25:33

I don't have experience of working shifts but just want to say - it's never easy anyway. DH and I each work a 1 hr + commute away from home but wanted DD to be in childcare near to home rather than work which means constant rushing around for me - I leave home at 7:15 and return home with DD at 18:45, am constantly fretting about nursery late fees and missed trains, and all this for the princely sum of £80 per day. Luckily I was successful in finding pt work so this is only 3 days per week.

I guess as some of the above examples show, if you get lucky with the person who makes the rota, you may be able to avoid or at least minimise the time your future DC's are in childcare which will be good for your family as well as your pocket. (this is not an anti childcare comment - I love my DD's nursery but I think 11 hours per day is a bit on the long side for a toddler and wish I could reduce it by finding work closer to home!)

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