Enjoy this guest post from Julia Garcia, RN – a nurse and mama who rocks both like nobody’s business!Ashley, Boss Mom Collective
Finding the best shift for a working mom is like discovering gold at the end of the rainbow, trust me, I know.
As a night shift nurse, my life was turned upside down and inside out, but in the best way possible. The first day I switched to working the night shift, I felt like I had walked into an alternate universe where I could finally breathe.
Yes, night shifts might sound intimidating to most parents, but the transformation in my work-life balance was dramatic and worth every minute of the transition.
With working the night shift, I found the flexibility I craved, allowing me to carve out quality time with my family and, most importantly, with my kids. I remember my first thought was, “This is it, I’ve cracked the secret to being a successful working mama!” I’ve traded in the hustle of the day shift, for the peaceful tranquility of night shift work, and I’ve never looked back.
Now, I know this might sound too good to be true. You might be wondering how I manage my sleep schedule, or how I juggle my evenings. You might even be thinking about those times when you stayed awake a few hours past your bedtime and how tired you were the next morning.
But stick with me as I peel back the curtain on the world of night shift work, and you might just find a work schedule that fits your life as a working mother like a glove. So, get comfortable, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into the ins and outs of this life-changing decision, together.
Balancing Act: The Working Mom’s Dilemma
As a working mama, I’ve wrestled with the constant tug-of-war between family and work. The early morning school runs, the endless household chores, and the exhausting scramble to prepare dinner every evening.
Couple that with the demands of a job, and you might often find yourself feeling more than just a bit tired. But, most parents would agree, it’s our reality, and we take pride in juggling it all because our family members are our biggest motivation.
Achieving a balance between work and family life can seem like an uphill battle. We want to spend quality time with our kids, participate in their bedtime rituals, and be there for their every milestone.
But equally, we have professional commitments that we can’t afford to overlook. That’s where the concept of finding the ‘best shift for working mom’ becomes a game-changer.
The Shift Spectrum: Exploring the Options
The Morning Shift: The Early Bird Mom
The first thought that crosses most minds when we talk about work shifts is the conventional day shift. These shifts usually start in the early morning and end in the afternoon. The benefits?
You’re working while the kids are at school, which frees up your evening hours for family time. But, on the flip side, you might miss those precious morning moments when the kids are getting ready for school.
The Afternoon Shift: The Midday Maven
Next up, we have the second or midday shift, also known as the afternoon shift. If your job offers a split shift option, this could work well for you. It usually starts around noon and extends to late evening.
It gives you those few hours in the morning to get the kids ready for school, do some shopping, or even indulge in a little self-care. The downside? You might be at work during the evening when most family activities take place.
The Evening Shift: The Sunset Superstar
The evening shift typically begins in the late afternoon or early evening and ends around midnight. This shift allows for spending quality time with your children in the morning and early afternoon.
You could even take on the school run. But, it does mean working through dinner time and the kids’ bedtime, which could be a tough trade-off.
The Night Shift: The Moonlight Multitasker
Lastly, there’s working the night shift, often seen as a lifesaver for working parents. Working the night shift means you have the entire day to spend time with your family and take care of household responsibilities.
You can be there when your children get back from school, help with their homework, and establish a regular bedtime ritual. The challenging part? Maintaining a healthy sleeping schedule and staying awake throughout your shift.
Each shift has its pros and cons, and the ‘best shift’ varies from one working mama to another. It comes down to what aligns with your family’s needs, your personal preferences, and the demands of your job.
In the next sections, we’ll delve deeper into the world of night shift workers. As a night shift nurse myself, I’ll share with you the nitty-gritty details and insider tips to help you decide if working the night shift position might just be your best fit.
The Great Shift Search: What to Consider
As you decide on the best shift, there are several factors to mull over. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Kids are the Priority: Childcare Availability and Needs
Your children’s schedule is paramount when choosing a shift. School hours, extracurricular activities, and their bedtime routine – these all play a part in determining your work hours. Consider when you’ll need to be physically present and when you can rely on others or independent play.
Tag Team: Spousal/Partner Support and Their Work Schedule
This is where your spouse or partner comes into the picture. Their work schedule can influence your choice. If your husband works a day job, the evening or night shifts might allow for seamless childcare coverage. The idea is to ensure that one parent is available for the kids most of the time.
It Takes a Village: Availability of Family and Friends for Support
Support from family and friends can be a lifesaver for working parents. If grandma can watch the kids a few hours in the afternoon or your neighbor is willing to carpool for after-school activities, this opens up shift possibilities and lightens your load.
The Energy Factor: Personal Energy Levels and Productivity Patterns
Everyone has different peaks of energy and productivity during the day. Some people are night owls and feel most alert during the late evening, making the night shift a viable option. Others are morning people who thrive during the early hours, so a day shift might be better.
Aim High: Career Goals and Job Requirements
Finally, consider your career aspirations. If a certain shift aligns better with your professional growth, it might be worth exploring. And remember, job requirements are essential. Certain positions, like my night shift nurse job, require working night shift.
The Shift Lowdown: Examining the Options
Morning Shift Marvel: Advantages of Morning Shifts for Working Moms
Morning shifts typically align with school hours, making them a popular choice for many moms. This shift allows you to be there for breakfast, send the kids off to school, and be back in time to greet them when they return.
Afternoon Allure: Benefits of Afternoon Shifts for Moms
Afternoon shifts can offer the best of both worlds. You get to spend the morning with your children and have the evening free. This could mean extra time for grocery shopping or attending a yoga class, which is a win for self-care.
Evening Enchantment: Pros of Evening Shifts for Working Mamas
If you’re an evening person, this shift can be advantageous. You have the day to tend to household chores and family activities. Then, when the kids are tucked in bed, you can focus on work.
Night Shift Nuances: Considerations for Mom Night Shift Workers
The life of night shift workers can be tricky but also rewarding. You get to spend the day with your family, and not feel guilty for missing out on quality time. But remember, to stay awake and maintain a healthy sleep schedule can be challenging.
Choosing the best shift for you involves considering your family’s needs, your personal preferences, and your job demands. It’s about finding a balance that helps you thrive in both your roles – as a mom and a working professional.
As you weigh your options, remember that it’s okay to try a few shifts before settling on the one that works best for you and your family.
You could even consider split shifts with another fellow momma sometimes when you need a little extra family time and you can afford it financially.
Conquering the Clock: Adapting to Your Preferred Shift
Choosing your ideal shift is just the beginning. The real game-changer is how you adapt to this schedule. Here are some strategies to help you thrive:
Master of Minutes: Time Management Tips
Time management is the secret sauce to juggling work and mom duties. Break your day into chunks and allocate time to work, family, and self-care. Spend a few hours on your job, followed by quality time with your kids, then focus on yourself.
Planning your week ahead can also help. Prepare a weekly menu, so you know what’s for dinner each day. Consider meal prep or grocery shopping during the weekend to save time during the week.
Beauty Sleep: Strategies for Sleep and Rest
Sleep is a non-negotiable, especially if you’re working a night shift job. Being sleep deprived is not an option when you’re juggling work and kids. But how do you sleep soundly when your schedule is upside down?
First, create a restful sleep environment. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in blackout curtains and earplugs if necessary. Second, establish a bedtime routine. Just as you would with your kids, create a routine that signals to your body it’s time for bed, even if it’s 8 a.m.
Finally, don’t skimp on rest even on your days off. It’s tempting to revert to a “normal” schedule on your off days, but try to stick to your work sleep schedule as much as possible.
Childcare Conundrum: Navigating Childcare
You’ve got the work part figured out. But who’s watching the kids when you’re clocking in those hours? Enlist the help of your spouse, family members, or a trusted babysitter. Exploring local childcare options can also be a good move.
If your kids are school-aged, after-school programs might be a godsend. It takes a village to raise children, and there’s no shame in seeking help.
The Balancing Act: Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
One of the most critical strategies for working mamas is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When you’re a mom, working that night shift life or any other shift, life can sometimes feel like a blur.
Set boundaries for your work and personal life. When you’re with your family, be present. Turn off work emails and focus on your kids. Make sure you’re carving out time for family activities, even something as simple as watching a movie together on a Saturday night.
Don’t forget self-care. Take breaks during your shift. Use this time to stretch, take deep breaths, or enjoy a quick snack. Remember, a happy mom equals a happy family!
Navigating through the maze of shifts, work demands, and family life isn’t easy. But with the right strategies, you can strike a balance that works for you and your loved ones. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. You’re doing a great job, mom!
The Night Shift Narrative: Real Stories from Working Moms
Hearing from other working moms navigating their chosen work shifts can be truly inspiring. Here, I share some anecdotes from real-life super-moms who have embraced various shifts, from early morning starts to those late-night hours.
Dawn’s Early Light: The Morning Shift Mom
Meet Jessica, a morning shift nurse who loves to catch the sunrise before her kids even blink awake. “Working early in the morning means I get to spend my afternoon and evening hours with my children,” she shares.
“I’m there when they come home from school, and we enjoy a family dinner together. I won’t lie; waking up in the wee hours can be tiring, but seeing my kids’ faces every day makes it all worth it.”
Afternoon Tales: The Second Shift Mom
Then there’s Sophie, a customer service representative who works the second shift. “I like that I have my mornings free to spend quality time with my kids, help them get ready for school, and even squeeze in some self-care,” she says. “My husband picks up the evening routine. It’s a juggling act, but we’ve found a rhythm that works for us.”
Night Owl Chronicles: The Night Shift Mom
Lastly, let’s hear it from Naomi, the night shift worker in a manufacturing company. “At first thought, the idea of working nights seemed daunting. I didn’t want to miss out on my kids’ lives,” she admits.
“But it’s been a pleasant surprise. Working the night shift allows me to be there for my kids in the day. I get them ready for school, help with homework, and we have our special ‘pre-work’ dinner together.”
All these moms, with their unique schedules, have found a rhythm that works for them. It may not be perfect, and they may sometimes feel tired and a little sleep-deprived.
But they’ve created a work-life balance that allows them to fulfill their professional duties while still being there for their kids. Their stories show us that the ‘best shift’ truly depends on individual family needs and personal preferences.
And there you have it, my fellow working moms. Remember, the journey of juggling work shifts and parenting is as unique as our kids’ lunchbox contents. Whether you’re a morning lark, an afternoon dynamo, an evening enthusiast, or a late-night owl, it’s all about finding that shift that best fits your family’s rhythm.
It’s okay to feel tired sometimes and to miss a few bedtime stories or school events. What matters is you’re doing your best for your family while taking care of your professional goals, and that’s what makes you a superhero.
So, don your cape (or comfy pajamas), hug those precious little ones, and keep making the most of your work hours. You’ve got this!