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How do you manage an evening routine when both of you work FT?

(15 Posts)
HugoTheHippo Mon 17-Feb-14 21:01:10

DD is nearly six months and I'm still on maternity leave, but I'm starting to seriously wonder how we will maintain a good routine for her when I return to work this spring, and wanted to ask how others do it?

We didn't do very well with routine in the early months, but are really trying to establish a proper dinner/bath/bottle and in bed by 8pm routine. We'd like to all have dinner together as a family, but DH doesn't get home until after 7pm and it's all starting to feel horribly rushed and DH is feeling like he barely sees her. I know he would secretly like to go back to the newborn days when she sleeps on his chest until 11pm!

Ahead of my return to work in a few months, I'm just wondering how other people manage their evenings with a very young one when both parents work? Does one of you feel as though you hardly ever see your child? Do you push bedtime later? Have a grandparent/childminder do bedtime? Just looking for some experiences we can learn from as we want to spend as much time with DD as possible, but also make sure the routine works for her.

mysister Mon 17-Feb-14 21:10:57

I would push her bedtime,she's still young,doesn't have to go to school in the mornings and can have naps during the's more important that she sees her father/parents.

AmethystMoon Mon 17-Feb-14 21:11:55

DP gets DD up in the morning after I have left for work (I'm gone by 6:30). He then drops her off at CM at 7:30.
I collect her at between 18:00 and 18:30 depending on how late my train is! I get home with DD by about 18:30/18:45, I start cooking dinner, then DP gets home about 18:45/19:00. We often just feed DD (we eat later if our food will take longer so as not to delay her food) or if dinner is quick we eat together, then bath her and she is in bed by 19:30.
So I see her for between 60-90 mins per day and DP for slightly longer as he does mornings.
We both work FT, both in demanding jobs, I have four hours per day commute, DP about 90 mins to two hours per day commute.
It's hard but doable.

missmagnum Mon 17-Feb-14 21:20:01

We eat once ds is in bed, so we can spend the little time we do have with him, purely concentrating on him. We get in from nursery about 6pm, quick bite to eat for him, then playtime for half an hour. Dp plays with him whilst I'm running his bath and getting clothes and bags packed for the next day. We both bath him or dp gets in with him, then story and in bed for 7:30. We tried putting bedtime later but he was getting too tired.

Don't worry, you will soon find a routine that works for you. Main thing is to be organised. I get his clothes out for the week in piles at the weekend, to make it easier.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 17-Feb-14 21:30:40

I would cut out the family dinner - just give her something quick from the freezer and get on with bedtime. We've been doing this since I went back to work when DD1 was 5 months old, she's now 8.5 years old! We rarely our evening meal together, but have breakast and lunch together at the weekend. While mine two are older now, we haven't really changed the routine since they were tiny as it works well for us.

I get home with the DDs just past 6pm, and they play/unwind, we talk about their day etc until DH gets home at 7pm. He baths them and reads them a story while I walk the dog, clean up downstairs and start to get dinner on. Then I go up to read them a story and say goodnight. We finish tidying up/cooking together, then finally flop on the sofa to eat/relax.

Yes, sometimes it feels like I hardly see the DDs, but three mornings a week I wake them at 7am, then we cuddle in bed until we need to get up at 7.20. They aren't very good at waking up so those 20 mins give them time to adjust to the day and I get delicious cuddles. Then we another hour together while they dress/eat breakfast, and I get another hour plus story time in the evening. We feel like we're getting enough, and at weekends we all see plenty of each other!

You'll be fine, just start to look at your schedule now and try to tweak it so that it will work when you're out of the house all day. At least you've got time for a few trial runs and to find what works for you.

ceeveebee Mon 17-Feb-14 21:32:24

We have 2 yo twins and I went back to work when they were 10 mo (I'm 4 days a week, DH very FT)

DH gets them up around 7 and changes nappies, then goes off to work shortly afterwards. I either have to be ready before he leaves at 715 or I have to try to get ready with two DCs tearing around the bedroom.
Twice a week they go to nursery and on those days we leave at 745. On the other days our nanny comes to the house by 8 and I leave for work.

I get in from work around 630. DCs eat at 5 ish with the nanny, by the time I get home they are in their PJs so I just spend an hour or so with them before they go to bed. DH usually gets in after they are in bed, maybe once a week he might get in before then and see them briefly.

So I see them for 1.5 hrs a day plus all day Friday, and DH for 15 mins a day. Pretty rubbish now I write it down. Makes our weekends very important!

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 17-Feb-14 21:50:44

The DC eat with me earlier and DH has his warmed up. He has always got them up in the morning and spent time with them before going to work.

HugoTheHippo Tue 18-Feb-14 08:38:34

Thanks for the replies. I guess it's dinner time and bed time we need to experiment with. And just make the most of the weekends!

Safyre Tue 18-Feb-14 08:58:58

DH and I work in the same place, both doing (different) 4 day weeks, so on the days we are both at work we all leave together in the morning, drop DS off with his grandparents about 0745, and go to work. They give him dinner, then we collect him about 1700, bring him home by 1800 if we have stayed to chat, earlier otherwise, and do bath, bottle, bed for 1900. So we get about an hour with him in the morning and 2 at night. It's not ideal but it works just now.

We never eat until after he goes to bed unless one of us is going out in the evening.

Tailtwister Tue 18-Feb-14 08:59:45

We get up at around 6am and have breakfast together. DH then takes DS1 to school (they leave around 7.30) and I take DS2 to nursery at around 8.30.

I collect the children just after 4pm and they eat at 5. DH gets home around 6 and supervises bath etc. They are both in bed asleep by 7.

I work part-time, but I guess on working days we see the children for around 1.5h in the morning and in the evening 3h for me and 1h for DH.

At the moment we don't eat together in the evenings as the boys really need to be in bed by 7 and it would be impossible to fit it in. We do eat together as much as we can at other times though. When they were babies we did the same tbh. It was (and still is really) all about everyone getting the food/sleep they need, rather than meals together.

JassyRadlett Tue 18-Feb-14 09:13:51

It depends what your childcare is, really.

DS has his three main meals at nursery, so it's supper when he gets home from nursery between 6 and 6.15pm. Some days I collect him earlier if I've managed to get in early enough. When he starts school I'll batch cook at way with him when we get home.

DH and I both work a slightly compressed week to get half a day off each week which precludes family time on work days. It's actually nice to have the one on one time. We start bath at 7 and have a very leisurely routine so he's in bed by 8.

What will your arrangements be? Will you've sharing drop offs and pick ups with your DH? I think it can be very hard if both parents work FT but only one does drop offs and pick ups. Otherwise it becomes very lopsided and stressful, unless you have a nanny.

Millionprammiles Tue 18-Feb-14 09:45:50

Some good advice above. Only things I'd add:

- It helps if your childcare provider gives dd her dinner. Dd's nursery gives a proper two course meal at 4pm and offers fruit at 5pm so dd will just have a snack (eg banana, yoghurt, toast) at home around 6.30pm, then her bedtime bottle around 8pm. This makes a huge difference as we can spend most of 6-8pm playing, reading etc. instead of cooking/in the highchair.

- you may find your dd is very tired when she first starts nursery/CM, especially if she takes a while to get into a nap routine. Until dd was around 14-15 mths old we had to put her to bed around 7.15pm as she was so tired. I'd suggest not pushing the bedtime later if your dd is really shattered. It won't be long before she can stay up later.

HugoTheHippo Tue 18-Feb-14 11:52:48

I'm hoping to go back four days a week and DD will have two days with my MIL and two days at nursery. The plan that we're thinking about at the moment is that I will do mornings / drop-offs and DH will do pick-ups in the evening and then I'll try and get home in time to do dinner at 7. It will be tough though to get it right as we both work in jobs which can easily run late. I guess it's all about learning to be more disciplined and organised. I'll be sorry if we can't manage dinner together, but I suppose there's plenty of time for that as DD gets older.

Thurlow Tue 18-Feb-14 12:05:14

DP gets in before me and does dinner time with the 2yo, then I come home and do bathtime and bedtime. Bedtime is between 7.30-8. We've started to drop the bath every night as she still settles well for bed and sometimes it feels more like quality time to not be playing in the bath every night.

In your situation I would probably drop trying to do dinner together. It is nice to have dinner together, but it is also nice for your DD to have a similar routine every day. On the days we are in we have dinner with DD at her dinner time, and on the other days she has dinner alone (well, we still sit with her!) or at the CM's, and then DP and I have dinner together later. I'd definitely prioritise her having a nice bedtime routine that is similar most days to having dinner together. Eating together is nice, but there are other opportunities for it during the week.

I found the first few months of being back at work were hardest as I saw DD less, but as she's got older we've been able to push her bedtime back a bit so I get the better part of an hour with her. Her wake up time has gone back a bit later too, which is quite nice in the mornings!

Artandco Tue 18-Feb-14 12:39:46

I would just move dinner and bed back. She can nap longer in day which would work better as then she is awake in the eve with you. Ask the nursery to let her nap more/ later in day if poss and same with mil.

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