For most of us work is a necessary evil and balancing work with family can be hard and sometimes feel downright unmanageable.
I work shift work on a rotating schedule.
For those 9 to 5’ers (does anyone really work 9 to 5 anymore?) that means I work 12 hour shifts; half dayshift, half night shift. A dayshift for me is 5:45 am to 5:45 pm and a nightshift the opposite, pm to am. That’s right, I work all night and go home in the morning. I work a 28 day rotating shift: two days followed by two nights, five days off, three days followed by two nights, four days off, two days followed by three nights, five days off, repeat. Long days or staying up all night means prioritizing sleep is a must for me as I work in a very safety sensitive job.
Prioritizing sleep makes for little family time. I am up a 4 am, eat and walk the dog and out of the house by 4:30am. I get home around 6:15 pm leaving time to eat, chase the kiddos for a bit and then go to bed with (or before) the kids around 8 pm. When working a nightshift I leave after an early supper and get home around 6:15 am. I get up around 2pm and repeat.
Now looking at this I don’t have much time for family when I am working so every minute counts! Here are some quick easy things to do when time is tight:
Stories. Brom. and really the older girls as well, love being read to. Working dayshift we prioritize finishing supper and heading to the bedroom where I will read stories until we all fall asleep. We read everything from Dr. Seuss and counting board books, right up to Neil Gaiman. We read every day. Even when things are going rough at bedtime I will always read at least one chapter of what ever book we are working on.
Walking the dog, or just walking. We are lucky to live a short (2 minute) walk to a lovely nature area with a storm pond full of waterfowl.
We love running the dog down to the ponds and seeing if we can find the Great Blue Heron that lives down there or postulating the exactly where the nest is behind that protective Killdeer. A long walk for us is half an hour with most being less than 15 minutes, but more than enough time to reconnect with nature and little kids.
Clean the kitchen. Now this one is more for Sarah than the kids, remember your significant other needs to feel special as well! I try to clean the kitchen as often as possible, with my schedule both days and nights mean I am absent from breakfast. In our house the ability to make breakfast quickly can make or break a day, having a clean kitchen first thing in the morning means little empty bellies (and coffee cups) can be filled quicker and tempers are less likely to fire up first thing!
The important thing is to take time to focus on your family and really focus where they are your whole world, even if it’s only for five minutes. Those five minutes of undivided attention will mean the world to your family.
Time is tight but when shared with your family it makes everything so much more #unforgettable!