This is something that I have been pondering for AGES as a parent.

In many of the households I know, both parents work and there is a schedule that gets divvied up between the two as to who does what for the kids daily in order for the household to function relatively smoothly.  Everything from work outs for said parents, to packing school lunches and bags to dressing kids gets allocated to a parent and time slot and in most cases one just goes with it.

In our household we also take the different “shifts” on week days. As in the morning shift and the afternoon shift.  The morning shift is handled by myself.  Hubs leaves early (6h20) so he can beat the traffic and I deal with the kids whilst I also try get myself ready and out the door on time (07h20 latest).  Most mornings run relatively smoothly but some mornings are just a disaster.  I find that playing referee whilst in the shower is quite a challenge as I often have to get out mid soap up and handle a spat between the two darlings.  Then getting myself dressed and clad in make up usually involves holding a grumpy, clingy baby toddler whilst the elder kid moans that something isn’t working on the IPAD I’ve given to entertain for 5 minutes so I just slick my mascara on.  There are normally toys strewn all over the floor of my bedroom and the toddler often goes quiet and when I think to find her, she’s unravelled the entire toilet roll all over the bathroom floor.  Or she’s playing with the toilet brush in the toilet with water going EVERYWHERE. (Must remember to close the darn loo lid) Then getting the eldest dressed for school is a circus all of its own.  Nine times out of ten the toddler will make poo half way thru the getting the eldest dressed which means that he runs around like a loon half nekkid, smacking his bum and wiggling his man parts around.  Just try get him to put his clothes on after this.. lets just say there is sometimes a time out and shouting involved. Then tears, mostly his.  Brushing teeth is the next challenge which often ends in tears (again his) because I finished brushing mine before he did or the toothpaste (which is the SAME EVERYDAY) tastes sour, off or like raspberries (WTF?).

Leaving the house is also a palaver.  Getting K to the car is an art of either racing or hop skip jumping or something of the like.  Once we get to school we race or hop skip jump (we aren’t allowed to “step on the lines” but this definition changes day-to-day in K’s rule book) into the class.  By the time I hit the car to head into work I feel like I’ve worked a full day already.  Then I sit for the better part of an hour to two hours in the most aweful traffic.  By the time I get to the office I am FINISHED.  If I’ve managed to eke out a run that morning I’m even MORE FINISHED.

Yesterday I got to do both shifts.

If you follow me on social media you know how *awesome* my morning was.  I was considering cracking open that Tangled Tree wine I got at the momblog meet up at 07h00, so you can understand…

The afternoon shift ROCKS in comparison!!

You fetch the kid from school, you relieve the nanny, you feed the kids and then you play on the lawn or in the toy lounge until “mommy” gets home.  Its AWESOME.  Yes there is still some refereeing to be done and if the toddler hasn’t slept particularly well she’s slightly grumps.  But you get to handle bath and bed time as a team and it’s really smooth sailing.  As the afternoon shift person you also get to make supper while the kids PLAY (quite nicely actually) at your feet in the kitchen on in the “adults” lounge around the corner.

Man alive, I think I pulled the short straw on the whole shift thing!

I suggested a shift swop last night.  Needless to say the man parent IS NOT KEEN on this idea AT ALL!  I wonder why?

Do you have “shifts” in your home too?  Which one do you prefer?

15 thoughts on “Shifts…

  1. I prefer neither 🙂

    No, just kidding. I always prefer anything when I’m awake, so the mornings are never good for me. D wakes ours but they get dressed by themselves and Sib arrives halfway through the “shift” to jolly them along and do K’s hair (this is actually a THING and another reason I’m very grateful she’s back – K is happier with S doing her hair).

    I actually love the afternoon shift when D isn’t home yet. We craft, talk nicely and you may even hear an angel or two sometimes 🙂 Once we’re both there they go beserk and it’s a madhouse.

    I’ve got a suggestion for you. Since you have two kids to sort out, why doesn’t C get Kade at least dressed in the mornings before he goes at 6:20. They can make it into a game – “the boys are going to beat the girls” (this is what i have to do to get Kendra MOVING – she can faff like you have not seen…..)

    I wrote about the division of labour on the blog once There’s actually another post – I will find it for you!

    I believe you need to negotiate these things regularly – at least once a year. Mind you, we haven’t for YEARS so thanks for that reminder.

  2. LOL sounds so very familiar. I’m still fighting with them to get dressed… and they’re 8 and 11!
    We split the mornings.
    I get them up and start them getting ready while I do tea and lunches etc. In theory, when L comes downstairs they should have finished their breakfast and be ready to go… but inevitably he fights with them about finishing their breakfast, and about their bags not being packed for the day’s sport and referee-ing fights in the bathroom over toothpaste wars.
    So much of fun.
    When L goes to work early twice a week, I’m it for the morning.

  3. Lol this is so funny and I feel like our family is so normal reading this. We don’t have shifts but who does what all depends on who has an early meeting. With Chris travelling so much on business I seem to run all shifts at least twice a week and often more. I try to manage everything the night before because mornings have been known to end with me crying on the floor with the kids. We have started packing as much of school lunches on a Sunday as possible. So lunch box packing is a simple task in the evening. Table gets laid for breakfast before we go to bed at night and I to to get myself clean before the kids are even awake to try limit the chaos. We have stopped tv in the morning and it has reduced the chaos (sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it). I have almost as much trouble in the evenings as they are exhausted and grumpy and whiney and this is the time of the day screen time in the form of tv or phone games comes to save my sanity. I have to say all mornings is definitely the short straw in my house. I’ve just finished a week of 4 morning and 4 evenings. I am exhausted.

  4. I pretty much do both but today (Saturday) I got to sleep in while Brett put the kid in front of the TV! Yip, that is his babysitting solution.. sigh..

  5. Hi! Yes we do have shifts, I have the afternoon one, but I can tell you, no matter the shift I get, mine is always challenging. The toddler screams constantly unless I hold her up in my arms. Which means I have only one hand to cook dinner. The boy then gets needy too and starts acting up (tiredness and hunger play their part…if only I could get dinner on the table..), I refuse to put on the telly because then suddenly the hunger is gone at least till the end of the cartoon which is late and then it’s even worse. My children are just in general much better behaved if I’m not in the house. I went to a conference for 3 days and I was actually a bit worried for the workload Mike had to handle..I shouldn’t have! They were perfect! Mike then does the bath/teeth and then it’s my turn again to handle bedtime. Bottle to Martina while telling a story to Oliver who always wants one more. Some evenings are smooth of course but many others involve threats (“only one story this evening, then you sleep!! if you ask for another one then tomorrow there will be NO story at all!!”). Our treat to one another is a sleep in at the weekend one day each. I actually get giddy thinking about my sleep in the day it’s my turn. Till Mike lets one of the children “join me in the bed”. Like this morning. You can imagine how that went.

  6. Sounds hectic and I have to agree with Marcia’s suggestion maybe hubby should help a bit with Kade before he goes off , assuming K is up when he is leaving that is!! No shift in our house as yet. Our K is usually still sleeping when we leave home and I deal with her in the evenings. One reason I’m grateful for live in help

  7. It’s a juggling act that requires a calm demeanor and good negotiation skills. Walter and I pretty much share the work load in the mornings depending on whose turn it is to run.We both make sure we’re home by 6am from our runs/gym and then I do the breakfast while he gets the girls up and he feeds them while I get the pre packed lunches and school bags ready at the front door. He then hits the showers by 06h30 and I get the girls dressed, teeth brushed etc by then he’s ready to leave and he drops Ava at school before 07h30. In that time, I launch myself through the shower do hair and make up (thankfully by this time Eva has arrived so she takes Hannah off my hands) by 07h45 I leave and drop Hannah at school.
    Afternoons are almost always my responsibility as I negotiated reduced office time so i’m usually home by 3pm when I start prepping suppers and packing lunches for the following day. By the time Walter gets home at 6pm I’m ready to commit murder and he usually entertains the girls for a half an hour while I read my book, drink some wine and just have a sanity time out. Then it’s bath time and bed time and finally our alone time!
    It’s tough but I couldn’t do it without him, that’s for sure.

  8. I am pretty much on both but if David is at home he does help out with whatever is needed. If I know he will be home early then I do often leave bath time for him.

  9. Oh well, I do both actually. But I guess thats “payment’ for working 4km from home and hubby in Midrand. So he actually has to leave early and sometimes get home just in time for shower and bed, sometimes not even. Some days I felt as if I ran a marathon by the time I get to the office. Now with having to get contact lenses into L’s eyes I even have to be more prepared. I just get up really early to shower before they all wake up – at about 5:45 – by 6 I am done and the rest of the household gets up.

    I do as much possible the previous night and I have to assure you that it does get easier as soon as they can dress themselves etc. Now I even have a 10 year old that feeds the dogs for me, gets her own food and helps so much. On the other hand I have a 7 year old ADHDer that simply does not function until he gets his meds.

  10. J leaves for work at 6:15 so I have the morning shift. I do the afternoon shift too, and if J is working late, then I do supper/bed shift too. If he’s off or finishes early then I’m a much happier mom. ; )

  11. Wow, do I feel grateful for having landed with my bum in the butter and a SAHM role?
    Back in the day, I was out the front door at 5h40, so I avoided the morning chaos unless A was travelling. Even so, the girls were fed breakfast at day-care, so the only chaos A really ever had was potty training La Petite Monstre and fighting about which costume or pair of pyjamas to wear to ‘school’ that day. The afternoon shift was 2-sided. 2 sets of dinner preparations, plus tired and grumpy equals The Purple Hour, but not every day was like that.
    These days I do a fair bit of breakfast rustling, snack-box packing, and dressing and hair stuff. And I fetch and carry them to and from school for lunch (because cantine meals are out of our budget, and packed lunches are not an option). And I have the afternoon shift, with homework and dinner prep. A only gets home after 7. At least its only one meal these days. Friday afternoon is my day off- from 4pm that is.

  12. We share the shifts, but we have certain set roles: I dress and get Little Miss ready, while Hubby makes breakfast and we both get out of the door at the same time. He drops her so that I can get to work early to fetch her “early” (4pm) in the afternoons. Hubby is mostly home and has started on dinner when we get home, but from there we share the load again. We both check the homework. I bath and get her stuff and lunch ready for the next day, Hubby does the dishes, he reads the story and I lay with her for a while. (Most of the times!) Repeat!!

  13. We have different jobs we both do, rather than shifts. For example I always get the youngest out of bed while hubby makes them breakfast. It’s aways chaotic though – seems like I am not alone!

  14. Morning brushing and going to loo are handled by hubby, and I take care of the bathing part. Things have been easier since the older one turned 3 (two months back). Some days are more whiny than others. Sometimes, he dresses the girl once I have bathed her.

    Baby is mostly on me.

    Hubby goes to gym in the morning…so sometimes, I have to hold fort till he comes and takes charge. He works long hours, and works all days of the week and weekend.

    Also, evenings are me. If she is home, and I have an off, noons are on me too.

  15. I do both shifts alone for the most part, hubby leaves early and gets back at 6pm just in time for family dinner which is non negotiable. Of course he is there for the fun part only and I often feel like I’m doing all the hard work. But as the kids are getting older, it’s gotten easier. They do everything pretty much themselves and I just manage the situation and they are also really helpful – so it does get easier, I promise! xx

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