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  • Family Balance & Swing Shift

    Hi Everyone!
    I was wondering if anyone has any experience with maintaining family balance while one parent is working a swing shift? My DH is considering applying for a job that we think would be better for our family all around except that it is swing shift. The shifts work in rotation so you know what your schedule is as it stays the same. Our concern is how will our daily life be balanced? We aren't scheduled people as it is as we have 3 children under the age of 4 so a "real" schedule is not possible, lol! I am assuming that the children & I will not be able to follow the same hours as my DH & I wonder if that will make it more difficult on me as I am already overwhelmed. But on the other hand, I will know exactly when he will be home as opposed to his current job that he never knows when he will leave which stinks! Anyone in a swing shift situation that could share their experience, ups & downs of it? I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

  • #2
    Aww...how rough for your family to never know when Daddy will be home!

    My DH worked the swing shift for about a month a few months back (extra cash, so we couldn't resist) and it was tough because he was home asleep all day and gone at night. It meant that I had to do all the nighttime parenting and most of the parenting during the day all by myself. It was very tough some days.

    On the bright side, he as home at the end of his shift early enough in the morning that he actually could spend some quality time with my daughter before going to bed. In some ways, he was actually home during the time my daughter was awake time more on swing shift than he was on his regular shift. Plus, my DD was well rested so it was more enjoyable (more happy play, less general fussiness).

    It was hard for my DH to sleep though during the day w/ a toddler making all kinds of noise and the dog barking at delivery trucks, etc. Invest in a tub of ear plugs for him and room darkening shades/blankets. That will help a lot.

    It was hard for me though...in talking w/ some of my friends it made me realize that it is very similar to single parenting because even though your partner is around some, the days feel even longer because at the end of the day when you really need the break/help, your partner is up and quickly on his way to work. But...maybe your Dh will prefer to wake up early and give you time in the afternoon evening vs when he gets home from his shift in the AM.

    Good luck. Hopefully, some other mamas will have better advice for you!

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    • #3
      My husband worked swing shifts for almost 7 years. He did 3 twelve hour days and one 4 hour day. He would work 2 weeks days, and then swing to 2 weeks of nights, and worked every other weekend. Before we had kids it wasn't too bad for me, since I was at work all day. After we had our daughter it got worst. I always worried that our daughter would wake him. When he was on nights I felt also like I was a single parent.

      Changing your sleep patterns constantly like that can weaked havoc my husband's body. He wasn't able to sleep during the day usually, and by the second week of his nights he was a wreck, and not pleasant to be around. That put stress on me and him. Ear plugs and a sleep mask or room darkening shades are a must. You have to look at the hours also. Is he going to be changing constantly from working days to nights, that is tough.

      My dad worked nights from 8 pm - 5 am for almost 20 years and our family life wasn't affected too much with that schedule. He would put us on the bus when my mom started working, and be there when we got home. I do remember my mom always worrying about being quite when we were all home and not being able to make a lot of noise because my dad was sleeping.

      It's a tough decision, unfortunately you don't know how the schedule will affect you until you start it. My husband thought his schedule was great when looking at it on paper, but after he worked it a couple of years he had other opinions of it.

      Hope this helps. Good luck.

      Mary

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      • #4
        Thank you for your replies! Gives us alot to think about. My understanding is that the shifts work like this:

        1 week 7am-3pm
        1 week 3pm-11pm
        1 week 11pm-7am
        then start over with it

        All over time is voluntary not forced like our current situation.

        I am really worried about the shift changes taking it's toll on my DH's body like mentioned above. However, he is worse w/ all the long hours he has now & never knowing when he will get off. Also morale (sp?) is horrible at his current job & they are pretty much production only & who cares about the employee & they are treated nasty at times. Alot of unfair rules have recently been put into place & my poor DH is so tired of being there. He's been there 13 yrs & before they got new owners it was better. It's a factory job & until he gets through his schooling all he can get is another factory job. Plus his pay is good for our area & this new job pays good & any other job he'd take a pay cut about 1/2 what he makes now. We just don't know what to do. I am willing to make sacrifices if it means better situation for my DH but not if it means taking it's toll on our children. DH thinks he will be around to help me & spend time with our LOs more. But still I have a bad feeling about it. Well, I am also afraid to be alone at night w/o him but it would only be one week out of every three. I just don't know. I am going to share your experiences w/ him when he gets home. Thanks so much!

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        • #5
          let us know what you decide, vanessa!

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          • #6
            Hi Dedra!
            I will let you all know what we decide. It's such a huge decision.

            Today I made a possible schedule as if DH was working the swing shift & there are possitives like for one week he'd actually be home for 2 meals instead of just 1 like now, he'd have more play time w/ LOs & one BIG possitive is that my DH would get more sleep! His body takes a beating from physical work on hardly any sleep (he helps alot w/ our LOs & often gives up sleep).

            One huge downside would be that one week out of every three DH would not be home to co-sleep. We all sleep in same room but older two sleep in king size bed, one on each side of DH & I am in seperate bed next to them w/ baby (safer that way & easier on me). LOs have bonded w/ DH more through this arrangement & we have worked hard & long at this arrangement for it to work out. Hate to mess it up.

            Never knew raising a family would be so...... gosh, I don't even know the right word to use, lol! I have never been surrounded by so much love before nor had so much to worry about since we've had our children. Having another person's life in your hands is such a blessing yet so scarey!

            Maybe Peter Parker's uncle in the Spiderman movie said it best....."With great power comes great responsibility".

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