Since Hub’s changed his job two years ago, as a family we’ve had to get used to living life around his shift patterns. Previously he worked Monday to Friday. They were long hours and he brought a lot of work home, but it was Monday to Friday nonetheless. He was always here during the night and our weekends were guaranteed downtime from the daily grind.
Hub’s left behind the Monday to Friday routine in favour of the most irregular shift patterns known to man! As a saver of lives he works nights, afternoons, twilights and every shift in-between. It’s been incredibly difficult for me to accept the way of life that shift work brings, at first it seemed so alien for Hub’s to be out all night and asleep all day.
Shift work can mean that Hub’s misses seeing the children for days on end, so over the last two years we have developed a few little life hacks that make family life and shift work a little more compatible!
- After a night shift, we have breakfast as a family before Hub’s goes to bed. I hate night shifts and I wish he didn’t have to work them. But seeing as that’s something I can’t change we make the best of them by eating breakfast as a family. Twenty minutes of catching up, laughter and cuddles with the kids sets us both in good stead for the day. I always look forward to breakfast on these days, often they don’t last long enough!
- We have dinner as a family before Hub’s goes to work. Similar to having breakfast together, this makes it feel like we have all enjoyed some quality time together before Hub’s heads out. The nights can be long once the kids have gone to bed so grabbing some time at dinner is important to keep me sane!
- Whenever our ‘weekend’ falls, we make the most of it. More often than not our ‘weekend’ falls on any day but Saturday or Sunday, this can often mean that we miss out on a lot of occasions. On a positive note though, places are often much quieter and easier to get around on weekdays. Staying in too much is no good for anyone, so even if it’s Monday and everyone else is back at work, we get up and get out to make the most of our time as a family.
- Acceptance. The key to making the most of shift work is accepting the situation that you’re in. Even if it doesn’t seem ideal, often there’s nothing that can be done to change it. Accepting that this is where you’re at marks the beginning of a blissful work/family relationship! Truthfully, I’m still working on this one but with these little life hacks thrown in, it’s definitely becoming a little easier.
Do you have to plan family life around shift work? What life hacks have you developed to make the most of it?