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For those of you who have a partner on shifts & DC how do you make it work?

(31 Posts)
NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 13:38:33

I'm currently a SAHM, DD is 3 & DS 1. I got made redundant when DD was 1 week old but worked out ok & have been at home with the DC ever since. DD goes to nursery 2 days a week & DS is home full time, we'll look at him starting nursery once he's turned 2.

DH is talking about me going back to work, we're not broke, we're managing. Things are tighter then we would like but we manage, the bills gets paid, the mortage gets paid, the DC don't want for anything & I do a few things here & there (like selling the kids old clothes in eBay) to give me a little of my own money. In itself getting a job is not an issue although I have no idea where I would get a job but my issue is this;

DH is a PC & as such works shifts, they vary frequently & can change at a moments notice, he has unplanned overtime frequently, works weekends, evenings, early mornings etc etc. Now if/when I return to work how the heck is it going to work? I'm going to have to into an interview stating that I can only work between the hours of 9:30-2:30 (to allow for school/nursery etc) I can't work weekends or evenings & I would need every school holiday, every bank holiday & every non pupil day off including the 6 weeks summer holidays - who in their right mind is going to employ me?

I don't have other family members who could help with childcare, it would fall solely on my shoulders to sort out so if one of the DC were ill it would me who would have to take the day off work, DH wouldn't be able to do that (well he might be able to but he wouldn't) if one of the DC needed picking up again that would fall on me, doctors, dentist etc etc would all fall on me. So I'm going to have phone in & take days off on these occassions, I'm a real catch work wise aren't I hmm

DH is not listning to me, he is not hearing what I'm saying he's saying I can go & work in Iceland or something as their rotas only work 1 week in advance (our local one does anyway as DH used to work there) but why shouldn't I be able to go work somewhere that I actually want to work? Or is that being to selfish? Should I just work wherever I can & shut up moaning? Is anyone going to employ me knowing how infelxible I am?

How do you make it work?

ilove Tue 27-Oct-09 13:41:53

A lot of places offer term-time, schooltime hours, such as call-center banks, mobile phone companies etc.

Do you actually want to go out to work?

NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 13:44:41

I worked in a call centre & for a bank & there's no way I could have got the amount time off that I need now.

Right at this moment in time, no I don't want to go to work, I love being home with my children & hadn't planned on going back to work til DS was at school - but even then I would still have the same issue. However if needs must then I will get a job. I just cannot see how it's going to work?

CMOTdibbler Tue 27-Oct-09 14:12:48

I think that because you don't want to go back to work, you are making it into something more difficult than it actually is.

Both your children are of an age to be going to nursery or a childminder for now - so no holiday problems or before/after school issues. When they do go, there are before/after school clubs or childminders and holiday clubs.

If you worked 3 full days a week, you'd be able to schedule all Drs/dentists appts for the other days.

And does your DH really need to take all the shift changes ? Other PCs seem to know their shifts reasonably far in advance - so is he just always the one who volunteers to move around. But he will have more chance of being available for pick ups and drop offs than if he was always on 8-6 hours

TheFallenMadonna Tue 27-Oct-09 14:18:03

People manage using childminders/nurseries and nurseries for pre schoolers, and childminders/after school clubs/holiday clubs for school age children.

NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 16:41:57

Trouble is though if I spend out for child minders plus nursery I wouldn't actually be making any money.

CMOT yes he does have to do the shifts, he could possibly go to 9-5 hours possibly if he wanted to be stuck in an office but that's not what he wants to do so yes he does have to do the shift rota same as the rest. We usually know his shifts 7 weeks in advance but they are subject to chane because of court dates & we can plan overtime, if he makes an arrest it can take 4-5 hours to process that so he can't just pop home.

We're trying to hold off til DS starts nursery by which point DD will be in school so I do have to think about school holidays etc.

NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 16:42:52

can't plan overtime

hercules1 Tue 27-Oct-09 16:47:23

WHat FallenMadonna said. It's what most people do.

MarthaFarquhar Tue 27-Oct-09 16:50:09

Message withdrawn

You either get a job where your hours are fixed. So certain days/shifts and get childcare to cover those times.

Or you find a CM who is flexible and only charges you for the hours you use, ratherthan insisting you pay 8-6 5 days a week even if you only work 16 hours a week. They do exist, I have a lovely CM who is fine with me using her for different days every week.

I work random shifts, DH has a 9-5 job and with a CM its fine.

IControlSandwichMonkey Tue 27-Oct-09 16:57:42

My dh is a pc also and I am a SAHM. I was originally going back to work and I know from research then that there are childminders that work for police staff and advertise on their noticeboard so are more flexible in terms of understanding the nature of the job. That's just our force service though.

Has your dh btw ever, ever got off work on time?

SweetNiblets Tue 27-Oct-09 17:01:08


My DH works 12 hour shifts. 2 day shifts, 2 night shifts and then 4 days off (although the first day is usually spent with him sleeping). As it is a rolling 8 day pattern his days are never the same from one week to the next. He also has fixed holidays and has about 2 flexi days each year.

I have been a SAHM since DS was born, as the cost of childcare, second car etc outweighed what I could have earnt. DS started school in September and I am now actively seeking work but I am looking for school hours as I don't know what to do about school holidays. DH will look after the DCs 3 days out of 8 but unfortunately childminders want retainer fees for those 3 days.

We seem to be in a no win situation.

Bramshott Tue 27-Oct-09 17:02:38

What do you want to do? Plenty of jobs don't involve evening or weekend work, and if you can work within school / after school club hours in term time, you can usually find a childminder or playscheme for the holidays. A specific job is usually much easier to get your head round than "a job" in the abstract.

Or you could look at working for yourself - Usborne Books / Avon type thing, or start your own business.

I'm sure you're not alone in being the only one whose job and hours are expected to fit around family life while your DH carries on as normal hmm!

NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 17:20:41

Thanks all, at the moment it just seems impossible! Any money I make is going to be spent on childcare costs/travelling or a 2nd car so I can't see how we're going to be any better off!

I have tbh & say I really don't like the idea of having to cart the DC to holiday clubs, that's just me but I'm guessing I'm going to have no other option but I really am against that idea.

IControl I can count on one hand the amount
of times DH has knocked off on time Never thought of looking for a CM through the force though will look into that!

IControlSandwichMonkey Tue 27-Oct-09 17:29:46

Our force has cottoned on to the fact that the shifts were unworkable and have tried new ones since April. DH has done tolerably out of them but response officers are working ridiculous shifts, worse than the old 4 on 4 off system. I know of a few officers that have had childcare issues as a result.

DH never finishes on time. Every day I await The Phonecall. You know, the I've arrested somebody with 5 minutes until the end of shift and I'll be home in about 5 hours. No overtime either so they get TOIL that they can't take. DH has about 48hrs of TOIL sitting there laughing at us. Funny old job.

murderonthemidnightexpress Tue 27-Oct-09 17:30:35

Could you do something where you work from home/make your own hours? Our DCs are in nursery 3 mornings a week. My DP is a contractor, so he has periods working f/t and periods not working at all. ATM he's working away from home. I work freelance, so I can take on more work when he's not working, going up to f/t hours, and can reduce them when he's not working. There are occasional problems at overlap times because I may have committed to something, and he generally needs to start a new contract pretty promptly, but generally speaking it all works out OK. If you could find something freelance like that you might find it could fit in around your childcare arrangements.

However, atm when not working f/t I am pretty much working to pay for the childcare. However, I need to stay in touch with the industry until the DCs are at school so that I can get back to more f/t work at a later date. You may have to look at things like that.

NormaSknockers Tue 27-Oct-09 20:47:24

IControl - oh yes, The Phonecall. I always plan my days with the fact that DH isn't going to knock off on time that way if he does (ha ha) it's a welcome suprise. Same here DH has loads of TOIL, about 2 weeks worth, all stored up that he just isn't able to take angry plus they've just been told that the O/T pot is empty so not to do any O/T - like that's possible!! He's a response officer too, that dreaded arrest 5 mins before the end of shift is just awful isn't it? His shift is currently 7 on 2 off which is pretty much how his has been since he started tbh!

murder - I do mamke cards (check my profile) but that's as a hobby, I toyed with the idea of making it a business but I don't think I would ever make enough to make it worthwhile IYSWIM? The plan had been for me to some courses once DS was in nursery as I wanted to get into freelance photography (I know that's unlikely to take off right away so was more then happy to start from the very bottom) but I don't know if that's going to be doable or not. I think I'm going to look in lots of different options & see what will work best - I'm still hoping a dinner lady vacancy will come up at the school!!

Bramshott Wed 28-Oct-09 09:27:52

Wow Norma - your cards are fantastic!!

NormaSknockers Wed 28-Oct-09 21:11:54

Thanks Brams blush grin

Mithered Wed 28-Oct-09 21:14:34

Can I just say that as a PC he is actually entitled to parental leave as well so if a child was ill he could finish work early.It depends on how much you and he want to make it work.

Good luck with the cards though - probably the best option for you and something that you really want to do

supersalstrawberry Wed 28-Oct-09 21:23:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sausagesupper Wed 28-Oct-09 21:23:52

have you investigated tax credits to pay towards child care costs? worked for us, paid most of it, worth a look?

shinyshoes Wed 28-Oct-09 21:24:46

My DP works shifts, 36 hour week.

I have to fit my 19.5 contracted hours around his shifts.

His shifts vary week to week and consist of 3 shift patterns over a 20 week rolling rota.

Its a bit of a PITA but we manage, I work around him I have too.

Luckily i've been with the company 7 years and am flexi working time so I tell THEM wwhat days and hours i'm available.

unless you have a good support network in the way of childcare or flexi working hours you'd find it a struggle.

I also enjoy my job which helps.

SquIDGEyeyeballs Wed 28-Oct-09 21:40:39

I work 16-22 hours a week, spread between 0815 and 1745 Monday to Friday.

My DH not only does mad hours but is away for weeks/months on end (he's in the military). We have no family to help out.

We manage because DD2 is at school and goes to breakfast club if I'm on a morning shift (ie starting at 0815) and is picked up by a CM if I work an afternoon shift (ie finishing at 1745). DD3 is in nursery which is open 0745-1800.

I think it boils down to whether you really want to work (or really need to). If you want/need to work then you make it feasible. If you don't really want to go out to work then you look for barriers.

sleepychunky Thu 29-Oct-09 06:10:21

I work full time and DH is a security guard at the airport, working very random shift patterns (he's on nights at the moment but then has 7 days off before the next 4 nights). We know his shift patterns 6 months in advance and DS goes to a childminder 2 days a week regardless of whether or not DH is working. The other days if DH and I are both working we are lucky enough to have family who can help out, although that's gone to pot a bit recently and I've had to use annual leave on some days.
If you really need to work then you find a way of making it work (we both need the fulltime salaries), but given the choice I don't think either of us would work full time.
When I go back to work after mat leave it's going to be a lot more difficult as we'll have 2 children to pay for, plus our lovely childminder is retiring and DS1 will be starting at pre-school, so it won't be whole-day care and we'll need to look at how that works. Can't think about that yet though!
I think you're lucky in that you don't have to go to work to pay the bills, but I understand your frustration at not necessarily being able to do a job you actually want to do. I see it as one of the sacrifices you have to make when you have kids though, and in a couple of years' time it will be easier and there will be a lot more flexibility in terms of what you can do.

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