Working the 3rd shift to be a sort-of-SAHM? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

 

I currently work a normal 9-5 job and have my 4.5 month old daughter in daycare. It's a good job and a great daycare, but I really miss my little girl so much. And this just isn't the life that I want for her.

 

I am thinking of switching to a healthcare job and working the 3rd shift (11p - 7a) so that I can be there for her during the day. She is an extremely great sleeper both at night and for her naps. For her naps, she doesn't nap on any sort of schedule but if i lay down next to her I can generally convince her to sleep for 2-3hrs.

 

Would this work? Does anyone do this? Do you all have any advice?

 

It makes me nervous to quit a good job but I just don't want her growing up in daycare. Not to mention, that I just never get to see her at all. (I commute in and we're gone from home from 6:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night).

 

Thanks in advance!

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#2 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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No, it will not work, at least not in the way you intend.  You will still need daycare, because you will have to sleep during the day.  However, you won't need as much daycare as you are using now, and you'll probably have more flexibility in your timing during the day.

 

My son is now 7.5, I have been working nights since before he was born.  The ONLY way to make it work long term is to make sure that you sleep during the day for a solid amount of time.  I have known a lot of people who think they can stay up all night then up all day with a baby, but they never last long. 

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that if there are night shifts, there is likely required weekend work.  How will you deal with that?   I currently work Saturday - Wednesday but my schedule is adjusted on Saturday so that I go in earlier and get off earlier so that I can still spend Sunday with DS. 

 

Overall I have found night work to mesh well with the daytime needs of having a young child, but you absolutely have to have childcare.  I fully plan to move off nights when my son is in middle school, though... as time goes on I appreciate the alternative schedule less and less.

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#3 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I work as an RN and when my daughter was 7 months old I left a job working 3 12 hour day shifts to work Monday through Friday 11p-7a.  I missed her so much being gone from 6 in the morning until 8 at night!  I thought I could be mroe flexible with my sleep and have much of every single day with her.

 

Well, the night shift is HARD.  At first it really affected my mood and I would cry thinking about continuing to live like I was... always tired, still missing her, sleeping even on Saturday which was supposed to be my day off because I was so exhausted.   After a few months, I did get used to it.  It is stressful to have to worry about getting enough sleep and I find it hard tearing myself away from here, especially when she is sick, or teething, or having an off day, or something..  I frequently end up very sleep deprived, which also isn't good for her.

 

I think it can work, especially if you are away from her for so long five days a week.  It could very well be an improvement and I would consider it given your current circumstances.  I do think it is unrealistic to compare working a night shift to being a SAHM, though.

 

I actually will be returning to my three 12 hour day shifts next month.  I see her less working nights, but that is with four days off a week.  Good luck!


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#4 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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I go back and forth with this dilemma myself.  I work 9-5, well more like 8-4 at a very flexible job.  No weekends, holidays.  But, am feeling the urge to go back to school to be a RN.  Already am accepted, just still deciding if I will actually do it!  

 

I agree w/ others about still needing to sleep.  It sounds like you will still need to work 5 nights a week to make a 40 hour week, right?  I don't think just napping a couple of hours a day will work.  If you worked 3 12's at night, you might be able to handle a long nap here and there, but you would still need to find time to sleep.

 

What I'm wondering with the RN's doing 3 12's, it seems like 3 12's and working weekends is no biggie when they are not in school.  When the kids are in school then you will miss them some of the weekends b/c of the weekend requirements.  I guess, I'm wondering what you all do when you work weekends and have school aged kids.  It seems like you wouldn't see them at all.  I guess it isn't every weekend, but just curious.  

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#5 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree that you will need some child care or if you can go to sleep as soon as your husband gets home and get some solid sleep then. I worked nights for 3 1/2 yrs and I too thought I could nap with DD and be fine but not getting a solid even 6 hrs of sleep was hard! The sleep I would get while working nights wasn't as great deep sleep for some reason for me. I walked around tired and almost depressed the whole time. Where as I can easily live on 6 hours of sleep at night and then work all day.

 

You could always try it but have daycare lined up so if napping with the baby and then sleeping once dh comes home works you can do daycare in the am then home and nap with her and see how you are left feeling. It is a hard choice.


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#6 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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My mom worked that shift as a nurse but only after we were in school all day. It's the only way to get the sleep you need.

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#7 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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From my experience no, it will not work.  I worked 3rds at the hospital for over a year and I was a single mom.  Trust me it would not work at all.  You will not be "there" during the day for the kids as you will be dead tired.  Nobody I worked with made it work, either, and all used childcare during the day of some sort.  My dh worked 3rds for awhile and it didn't work for him, either. 

 

3-12's might possibly work.  Could you work prn and make your own hours?  You certainly would not be a "SAHM" but you would get more time with your kids without sacrificing things like school functions, etc. that way.  You could also see about working just part time 2-12's on the weekend at an urgent care clinic or something.  In college, I was an andrologist at a RE clinic on the weekends and it allowed me to see my kids more since it was primarily a very early morning job. 


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#8 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I think it would be near impossible without daycare.  I know families that do it, but they either have kids in school full-time, or they have at least part-time childcare.  And even then, the person who works nights is usually exhausted and pretty much half-functioning most days. 

 

I'm thinking about doing it myself, at some point.  But, my kids are all in school, and I would only work PRN -- and probably only one 12-hr shift per week.  I know I can sleep the day before and the day after while my kids are at school, but I wouldn't consider it if I had an infant or toddler at home (even if they slept through the night and didn't need me to nurse back to sleep). 


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#9 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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When my son was 5 and first starting school, I worked the 11pm-7am shift at a homeless shelter and it was hard. In our case I got home in time to get him to school before my dh left for work anf by the time I got home I was so up, I couldn't sleep. I ended up sleeping 10-2 then it was time to get my son, my dh came home by 5:30 and then it was dinner, etc. If I was lucky I would go back to sleep from 8-10 before heading to work. I did that for about 6 mos and it was hellish. I was younger then (20's) and despite the fact my son was school aged it was still hard. On weekends all I wanted to do was sleep. I can't imagine how that would feel with an infant or toddler.


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#10 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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I'd say it won't work. You have to sleep sometime! I started overnights (4 8r shifts a week) when DD was 4, and it wouldn't have worked if she wasn't the sort of kid who could entertain herself while I slept. It was hard on her at first. Now, at 7, she's fine with it (that, and I only do 2 overnights now each week). But it took a fair bit of using the TV as a babysitter and DD having enough obedience to not investigate opening the garage door via stepstool while I slept, and being big enough to get herself snacks, etc.


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#11 of 23 Old 11-11-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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As for the three 12's and every other weekend with school age kids...  I am not sure.  Under those cirumstances, maybe a 9-5 would be better, as you would have every evening and weekend free...   But, four days off a week is a lot.  I think it might be nice to be home in the afternoon sometimes.  And also to have some days for errands and housework.  Missing the weekend activities and festivities is never easy, though...  Now you have got me thinking.


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#12 of 23 Old 11-12-2010, 07:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by quietmim View Post

As for the three 12's and every other weekend with school age kids...  I am not sure.  Under those cirumstances, maybe a 9-5 would be better, as you would have every evening and weekend free...   But, four days off a week is a lot.  I think it might be nice to be home in the afternoon sometimes.  And also to have some days for errands and housework.  Missing the weekend activities and festivities is never easy, though...  Now you have got me thinking.


I think this is part of my dilemma w/ changing careers from a RD to a RN.  I have a 9-5 job, but with my little one being only 2 I would love 3 12's.  I keep thinking of when she is in school and if 3 12's would be what I would want?  I guess you wouldn't have to work every weekend.  And it could be good bonding time for daddy and kids.  

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#13 of 23 Old 11-12-2010, 08:10 AM
 
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I don't have personal experience with the third shift, but bear in mind that naps change.


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#14 of 23 Old 11-12-2010, 10:13 PM
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There's no way its going to work unless you hire someone for daytime so you can sleep.  I've worked nights (but only 8pm-3am), for about a decade.  I had DS over 3 years ago and  went back to work at 6 months.  Its very hard if you don't have care (many mornings we didn't and I'd have to wake up after 4 hrs of sleep to be up with DS all day)...it can be a nightmare if you don't get rest! Even with sleep, I notice I can be cranky around the edges...when I take time off from work and sleep at night, I tend to be a more patient and positive person overall..so I don't know, I think night shifts are just tough...

 

If you have consistency in help though, and can get consistent sleep (I need at least 6 hrs to feel really decent),  then it can work and give you nice flexibility and more time with your family.

 

I like it, and am thankful for it, but I look forward to when DS starts full-days at school, so I can sleep at night, get a day job, and function like a "normal" person!

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#15 of 23 Old 11-12-2010, 10:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

From my experience no, it will not work.  I worked 3rds at the hospital for over a year and I was a single mom.  Trust me it would not work at all.  You will not be "there" during the day for the kids as you will be dead tired. 


This is my take on it as well. I did 3 12's on nights for all of 6 months before I was totally burned out on it, quit my job, and went to PRN (and back to being broke). For a while, FT nights was okay, but I soon found that 2+ days a week were spent physically recovering from such long shifts on my feet with few breaks, so really I didn't have any more days off than when I worked 7a-4p, pre-kids. It wasn't at all like 4 REAL days off. I felt like a zombie 90% of the time, and was generally a crappy mom to DD, due to being tired and snappish.

 

Recently I went back to nights, only PT this time. It still doesn't work nearly as well in real life as it does on paper, so I will soon go back to PRN. One night shift per week, it turns out, is about all I can handle with two preschoolers at home and still remain sane. It's also really rough on my kids to not have a consistent bedtime routine or schedule.

 

There *are* positives to this schedule, of course- getting to take the kiddies to the park at lunchtime on a weekday, for instance, and being able to do errands and appointments without taking time off. But the weeks and weeks of poor quality day sleeping, even with someone there to watch the kids so I can sleep, wear on me a lot more than I had expected.

 

(Oops just noticed that you're talking about 11p-7a. I actually think that schedule would be a bit better than 3 12's, IF you have someone to watch your baby during the day while you sleep).

 

Good luck!


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#16 of 23 Old 11-12-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Quote:
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As for the three 12's and every other weekend with school age kids...  I am not sure.  Under those cirumstances, maybe a 9-5 would be better, as you would have every evening and weekend free...   But, four days off a week is a lot.  I think it might be nice to be home in the afternoon sometimes.  And also to have some days for errands and housework.  Missing the weekend activities and festivities is never easy, though...  Now you have got me thinking.


I think this is part of my dilemma w/ changing careers from a RD to a RN.  I have a 9-5 job, but with my little one being only 2 I would love 3 12's.  I keep thinking of when she is in school and if 3 12's would be what I would want?  I guess you wouldn't have to work every weekend.  And it could be good bonding time for daddy and kids.  


An RN who works the three twelve hour shifts typically works every other weekend.  In the hospital where I used to work it was every third.
 


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#17 of 23 Old 11-13-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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I mentioned this upthread, but it's really important to factor in weekend work.  In my line of work (not medical) the new people were lowest in seniority and got the worst days off.  Like usually Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was lucky that I got my night job before my son was even born, by the time he reached school age I was able to have weekends off because I had several years of seniority.   Just something to keep in mind.  Finding weekend child care when needed can be a real pain.

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#18 of 23 Old 11-13-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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I did night shift for a year so I could sahm during the day. It nearly killed me. I got 1/2 hour of sleep a day, yeah, naps changed and my two youngest got off schedule. I slept ONE night a week. I was a walking zombie. I started falling asleep while I was sitting with the kids during the day. I don't remember much of that year. And it's not hard for depression to get a hold of you when you are exhausted. My dr threatened to have me hospitalized because I was doing so bad mentally from exhaustion, and my dh was on board with him too. My health was bad and I lost it mentally, I just wasn't there. We ended up moving 5 hours away to a low COL area so I could take time off to get better and really be a SAHM. Meant my DH went over the road and wasn't home, but it's what we had to do. It took me nearly 2 years to get back on schedule and even think about working again. My Dah was able to leave over theroad and work locally after that as well That was over 4 years ago and I still haven't worked more than part time. (if you don't count school) within the next couple years I'll be transitioning to full-time again and it scares the crap out of me.

Point is, it may sound like a good solution but it's not. It's far more exhausting than you'd think and i wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The long term health affects can be severe as well.

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#19 of 23 Old 11-14-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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Not with kids, but my experience working nights was that it was just fine if I kept the same schedule on my days off. The second time I tried the night shift, I was married and tried to sleep with dh at night when I could. Worst.mistake.ever. Depression, insomnia, I was constantly sleeping, or trying to, and still constantly tired. If my job had been a responsible position like a nurse, I would've ended up fired, but fortunately I was working a much less stressful and mentally challenging job.

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#20 of 23 Old 11-17-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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I can only speak from personal experience, but I changed to the night shift a few months ago.  I work within the Healthcare environment too.  It's the best thing that I've done all year.  I work two 12 hour shifts per week, giving me 5 days 'off' per week.  I am SO much happier working this shift pattern.  I just have more time with my son, more time overall to be honest.

 

Good luck x

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#21 of 23 Old 11-17-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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Personally, I could NEVER do it because I need to have a "normal" schedule. My good friend, however, is an RN who works 3 12's on the night shift. And she stays home with the kids on her days off unless she really needs some solid sleep, then her husband will drop them at daycare a day or two a week. But she is able to go back and forth with her schedule and it works great for her. I agree with the other posters, though, who are reminding you not to forget that YOU need to sleep during the day, too!

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#22 of 23 Old 11-18-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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I think you've got a ton of good advice from smart mamas who've BTDT

 

Maybe the real questions is if you can shorten that commute, get some flextime, or just feel better about your current daycare schedule.


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#23 of 23 Old 11-29-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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I'm a single mom, and an RN. I work a mix of days/nights (12 hour shifts) and sometimes I think it would be easier to work Mon-Fri (9-5) or (8-4) because the days when I'm working - I don't see my kids, and my days off feel like they're spent recovering from the flip flopping of shift work. And I absolutely work every other weekend - sometimes more if I have to pick up additional shifts.


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