Making the Most of Life Around Shift Work

Children, Family / Monday, March 20th, 2017

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!


  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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?



24 Replies to “Making the Most of Life Around Shift Work”

  1. Im in the middle of writing a lost on shift work as we speak! I work 4 x 12hour shifts a week a mix of days and nights, sometimes I dont see the kids for 4 full days as im away at 5.30am and not home til after 7pm. Its tough but you just do what you have to do. We do breakfast as a family when we can i think thats important. Sound slike you guys have it pretty figured out. Acceptance is definitely key! Xx

    1. Oh wow that must be really tough! It’s nice to have breakfast together, especially if you haven’t seen them for days! I look forward to reading you post! xx

  2. That must be so hard to get used to. I work 2 shifts that finish at 10p, and I hate them, but it is nothing to what your hubby does.

  3. Wow that sounds tough, but how great that you’ve found ways around it. I will stop complaining that hubby is late home from work on the odd occasion from now on. Thanks for linking up again 🙂 #TriumphantTales

  4. Shift work can be so hard to juggle everything. We dont have that anymore and I am pleased that we dont have that added to our life. I’ve done many a night shift before the kids and it was hard even then, I wouldn’t relish the thought of it now. Well done you for all your positivity.



  5. I am quite a creature of habit and the very idea of not knowing what days we’ll all be off together makes me feel a bit stressed! You must have to be very organised, and as you say – appreciate every snippet of time together as a family.
    Thanks for shedding a little light on life for working parents in the shift world…and for linking to #coolmumclub

  6. This must be so tough. Mr Lighty doesn’t work shifts, but he does do Saturdays and Sundays on a rota, and those weeks are hard as he’ll work 12 days straight. Apart from the fact that, as you say, you often miss out on weekend occasions because of his work, he’s absolutely shattered by the end of the 12 days, and if ever he’s going to get ill, you can guarantee it’s when he’s run down after a weekend shift. Agree with you that acceptance is key, There’s no point in stressing about something you can’t change. I’m glad you’ve found some ways forward, thank you so much for linking this up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  7. I agree with you that shifts can be frustrating. My husband also works them but not over night. He’s the cook in the family too as he’s the one who loves it. So we eat late some days but perhaps too late for our babies! #DreamTeam

  8. Although we dont have shift work, Hubby does on call on a three weekly basis which starts on mondays at 8am and runs 24/7 until the next monday at 8am. This means he could be called out at any point in the week on top of his normal working hours and it could be for something that doesnt require a visit into work or could mean an all nighter and still expected to go into work the next day!
    If he gets called out during the weekend we usually go into town together and I shop with Ben whilst Hubby works and then once he’s finished we go from there. Unfortunately two christmas’s ago he was oncall at ten minutes into turning up at my mums he was called out and didnt return until 8pm. It is hard and will now become harder now we have Ben, but I do agree that acceptance is key. Without this the hours could impact the relationship. Luckily, Hubby has had this job since we got together so our relationship has always had an element of restriction.
    Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back again in the morning!

  9. Gosh I really feel for you. My husband works insanely long hours not coming home til 11pm and working every Saturday too but I think the thing that keeps me sane is that he is here every morning (thank God because it’s HIM that does the breakfast/packed lunches/get us all out the door on time!!) and sleeps in our bed every night. And we get ever Sunday with him. It’s all relative isn’t it? I know a lot of people who feel sorry for me as we see him so little but then I remember how hard it was on family life when my Dad worked nights so I know I’ve got it easier than you so to speak. You’re positive though. That can only help right? #coolmumclub

  10. Yes, I definitely feel the pain! I currently work 4 10 hour night shifts F-M. Dad works day shifts during the week, so we rarely have time to really sit down and just enjoy each other and the kids. On the weekends, we’ve made breakfast our “thing” too. I come home and I cook for the kids. We eat and plan the day and then I attempt to sleep. We miss a lot of events on the weekends but I make up for it during the week. Sometimes I will sacrifice some day sleep. It works for my family and I just roll with the punches right now. It is definitely HARD and not for the faint of heart! Lol

    1. It’s definitely hard work, I take my hat off to you for going without sleep that must be tough! Thanks so much for stopping by x

  11. Not something we’ve ever had to deal with but know plenty who do. We have parent friends who are both police officers on seemingly endlessly opposing shift patterns – im always in awe at how they cope with that. But I always recognise those who serve others and their families for the sacrifices and compromises they make.

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