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Calling out for advice from parents where one of you works shifts

(16 Posts)
cookiemonster100 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:03:36


I have a LO who is 5 months old. My partner works shifts which vary day to day & include night shifts.

Him working shifts never really bothered me before but now the LO is here I am more aware of them. I find it hard to get the same consistent help as hubby is not around at the same time each day. For example friends with babies, hubby might do the night feed at the weekend or take the baby one morning so mum has a lie in. I don't get this weekend help coz DH shifts cover the weekend too.

DH & I have come to an understanding, based on his shifts, that he will do the first feed of the day for 3 / 4 mornings out of 10. However most of the time I feel like I do alot of the day to day on my own as he is either at work or sleeping. He does make an effort when he is awake it's just his normal working & sleep pattern is not the usual day / night schedule. This thread is not about his lack of input around the house.

So my question, if one of you are shift based how do you make it work for you?
I am looking to go back to work in the summer & would also like advice on how you managed this. One hope is that DH can do childcare one day a week which would be great. However I am worried that I will be working FT in the week & with LO over the weekend with no respite inbetween. Where as DH will have one day childcare & a few days off to himself. How do you get the balance right?

Thanks xx

florencedombey Tue 18-Mar-14 21:08:41

No suggestions, sorry, but wanted to say, thank you for asking this. DH and I are TTC at the moment and I do worry about how we will cope if we succeed as he works shifts and I do Monday to Friday.

Cookiepants Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:00

Me and DH both work shifts. Trying to sort out child care for when I go back in the summer is like trying to knit soup grin. For example my night shifts start 30 minutes before his day shift ends.

Working shifts is murder for routine. I am a fat, moody insomniac and I blame that entirely on shifts, I think I you have never worked them you cannot fully understand the toll they take on you.

However why isn't he taking the baby on his days off? Could you agree when he gets weekends off you get the lie in?

stardusty5 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:16:04

I don't know if this will be helpful but my parents raised us on a shift pattern from when we were babies. I am not sure how they would have done it without my grandma's help.

My mum worked 2-10 mon fri and my dad worked three week rotation on 6am-2, 2pm-10 and 10pm- 6am.

My grandma would fill in the gaps between shifts. My parents didnt see much of eachother through the week but they managed ok and made time on weekends.

MrsOB Tue 18-Mar-14 21:25:35

My DH works shifts and it's challenging... I loved it before DC but now I have 2 children, work full time, and spend a lot of time alone with my DC. He has one weekend in 5 off so we rarely have family time together.

The upside is that he can do school pickups on the days he is off / working nights in the week and he also does all the housework wink

My advice is to communicate, and be a team - talk about how you are feeling, I have to literally spell stuff out for my DH! Make sure you get some time to yourself whenever he is around.

One other thing, it's great to have the bed to myself and no snoring husband beside me!!

Good luck...

MrsOB Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:27

Oh, and the fact he gets at least 2 days to himself in the week is a major gripe of mine... Sooooo jealous of that!!

cookiemonster100 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:02:47

cookiepants I totally agree with you, shifts are hard & many a time I have had to just step back so he can sleep to catch up on himself. On a 10 day rota he has 3 days off, one is a sleep day from coming of nights. We use the other 2 days as "weekend days" so take it turn for a lie in. However that's not going to work when I return FT as this won't always fall on the weekend.

*Mrsob thanks, sounds very similar shift pattern. I am hoping hubby can do one day a week childcare however need to check the practicality of this as nursery / childminders tend to be fixed days but his days of per week are not consistent. I agree I loved it pre children now I am starting to resent it a little

mymiraclebubba Tue 18-Mar-14 22:20:38

My do works nights on a rolling 3 on 3 off pattern and its a blooming nightmare!! When dd was first born we did have a massive row and I told him I felt like a single parent as he did sod all helpful, ESP at nights.

We make it work now but it is hard and due to no government help or affordable child care I can't go back to work do our situation is different but keep talking, days he is home in the morning/evening he can help, doesn't have to be a routine of same thing just make him take over so you can get a break. I find a swift kick wakes him up at night too (sometimes) so I get a decent kip!

teacher123 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:26:31

DH works shifts and I work 3 days per week (term time only as I'm a teacher). We have a childminder for 2 of the days and on the third day a week either DH, MIL or DM looks after DS.

Because of DH's shifts he does get days off at home without DS when he goes to the childminder, however DH is brilliant and does all the housework/cooking/shopping/DIY on those days so it works well for us. Hardest is when he works weekends as he's out 6am-8.30pm both days and that's pretty tough going as he doesn't see DS at all at those times. He works 2 weekends out of 7.

Pros are that on earlies he's home at 3pm and lates he doesn't leave till midday. He also earns more due to shift allowance, and gets lots of holiday.

The reason it works though is that when he's at home he really pitches in. We always get up as a family unless really tired, and he'll do breakfast whilst I get up etc and vice versa. We are a team, and he looks after DS independently and takes the initiative.

It is wearing not ever knowing what's going on though and having to have about 4 diaries!!

cakebaby Wed 19-Mar-14 22:33:41

Hi, its a nightmare isn't it? DH works shifts, days/lates/nights and is permanently jet lagged. ds is 6 mnths, i've done every bedtime, night waking and morning so far. Dh helps when he is home/off but the reality is that for 4 nights on the trot he isn't there for bath/bedtime. Its bloody hard work. Its going to get harder as we do the same job but on different shifts so when I go back we will have a shift pattern spanning over 6 months. Childcare is a total nightmare too, family will be helping us, otherwise I couldn't go back to work.

I have no idea how to get the balance right. Let me know if you find out grin

cookiemonster100 Wed 19-Mar-14 23:06:12

*teacher123 can you get your husband to talk to mine lol! Lovely as my husband is his default position is sofa & TV. I literally have to tell him every teeny tiny task that needs doing. When I was working, on his days off I had to leave a list of jobs to help in the house otherwise he would have just spent the day chilling out! I am just exhausted thinking about it!

We do have some family help but it's limited as they also work. I just feel if family can't help, he's at work it will be me that gets squeezed with juggling work & baby. I think it's this that's stressing me out about returning to work. It's me that has to be organised & plan daily who is looking after LO, organise DH to help, on top of working FT & being on my own majority of the weekends.

mymiraclebubba Wed 19-Mar-14 23:09:10

Cookie - if I didn't micro manage do he would do fa towards the baby (and his other kids) not cos he is a crap dad or lazy, just cos he just simply doesn't see things that need doing I. The same way I do!! I have been away this week and asked him to vac the stairs as I can't lift the dyson. He has vac'd the entire house except the bloody stairs grrrr

And left the bloody washing in the machine that I out in before I went on Sunday morning

LongPieceofString Wed 19-Mar-14 23:23:40

OP my DH works shifts like yours - it is a massive chore sorting it all out. Especially if he gets kept on at the last minute or has a shift change due to being sent on a course or whatever.

I never get a day off as am either at work or responsible for children, even on his long weekend as we would never spend time as a family if I had time to myself then.

However the DC are 9 and 7 and I've always worked full time so we have managed it somehow!

On his weekday rest days, I work longer hours, to compensate for the days I do the school run. Plus he does the laundry and cleaning because he is at home with no children.

However all the THINKING, checking Rotas, who is going to parents evening, can I get DS to x party and DD to y party this Saturday, etc is down to me and that is tiring.

At the end of the day, it is doable, the priority is making sure children have a routine and then the parents fit round that. And hey we have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Good luck OP.

LongPieceofString Wed 19-Mar-14 23:26:06

PS always make sure you have chocolate and wine to hand. Nothing worse than being stranded at home with sleeping child when DH on nights and it's been one of Those Days.

MyNameIsKenAdams Wed 19-Mar-14 23:32:17

Ok. I work shifts and my dh does mon-fri 9/5. My shifts are 7.30-4 or 2.30pm - 11 so no nights but sometimes the late shift falls before the early so I basically come home to sleep for five hours.

How our days go (mon-fri)
7am - dd wakes. If im at work early, im already out the house. If off or on a late I stay in bed. Dh leaves the house at 7.30 so he has been up half an hour. He gets dd up. If im already at work he drops her at the CMs on his way. If im off, he wakes me (with a brew) at 7.25.

Daytime, he is at work, some days I am too (all day) so DD is at CMs til 4.30 when I collect her. If im on a late, I drop her at CMs at 2, dh collects her at 5.30. Dd eats breakfast lunch dinner at cms (8,12,4) if she is there at the right time.

6.30pm - dd has a bath (dh does this) I read her a story kn bed if im there. Bed at seven. We eat after she has gone to bed.

Weekends - im usually off Sunday, and on a late Sat, so we usually sort who gets the lie in by thurs. Typically, I lie I Sat, dh takes dd to the pool. We all have lunch together, then I leave for work at two. Dh obviously does dd stuff for the rest of the day. Sunday - dh lies in. Dd and I play, go to the park or watch a film. We all go out for sunday dinner then maybe to the ILs for the afternoon.

Housework wise (not sure if this is also a bone of contention in your house) is pretty even - what needs doing gets done. Dh does the bins, I clean the bathroom. Eberything is just do as you see.

MyNameIsKenAdams Wed 19-Mar-14 23:33:48

Should add, dd is only at the CMs when we are both at work.

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