Some of the first posts on this blog were about parenting and shift work, how hard it was with a baby and then two young children to manage family life around Dave’s shifts. But it wasn’t something I was unprepared for, he had always worked shifts, it was pretty much the only thing that wasn’t perfect when I met him – he ticked every other box – and I knew that if I wanted him in my life I had to accept the shifts and so I did that very early on. Shifts have always been part of our life together and, in all honesty, I thought that would always be life for us.
But, thirteen years after I first met my husband he has agreed to a new job role within the same company. One that will see him working pretty typical hours – Monday to Friday – and it will give us weekends and evenings together, something we have never consistently had.
But, it will be so strange, and maybe even quite hard for all of us to adapt to that change. I know that working nine to five is the ideal for family life. It means we will have a proper seven day routine that we have never had but it will take some getting used to.
At the moment we have a good balance of Dave and I sharing the school drop offs and pick ups. We both get lay ins and we get some mornings together, some afternoons together and sometimes whole days together. No two days are the same and no two weeks are the same but it’s life – and it’s what we are used to.
I know I will find it hard having Dave at home every night and all weekend when I am used to him not being there for four evenings/nights out of ten. I’ll find it hard doing pretty much all of the school runs and all of the swimming lessons. The children might find it hard him not dropping them off or picking them up as much.
But, we will all love having every weekend as a family. Every single weekend together to do as we please. Just the thought of that, all that time together, makes me so incredibly happy that whatever happens during the week will be fine – we’ll all get used to it and we really will start to live for the weekends.
You see, a year ago I was in a job where I worked every Saturday and often Dave would be working the weekends too. It felt like we never saw each other and I gave up my day job to get a better balance. The balance has been great, but we still didn’t get that much time together because of the children’s school hours – we lived for the school holidays.
But, Dave’s shifts allowed me to go back to work after maternity leave. If he’d been in a Monday to Friday job at that point childcare would have been unaffordable. But, because he was working shifts we didn’t need as much childcare when I returned to work after having LP and then when I went back after having Little Man I could work part time with Dave’s lovely parents looking after the children when Dave and I both happened to be working. We could plan my working hours and the days we needed childcare months in advance and it worked. It worked really well for as long as it did and it gave me the chance to build this blog and to fulfil my dream – of being able to work from home around the children.
And now, I am still living that dream but Dave gets to do something that will change our dynamic once again and I am sure it will change it for the better. How amazing will it be for the children to grow up having both parents around every weekend? Knowing that we can, finally, commit to clubs and activities on a weekend? And being able to have lazy mornings, cooked breakfasts and maybe even pancakes on a Sunday morning – the kind of family routine we have always longed for but never felt possible.
Life for us is changing massively and although it may be hard whilst we get used to it I am going to embrace it and make it the positive I know it can be. I cannot wait to have a new kind of normal, one that so many other people enjoy and I know the children will love it too. Roll on the weekends!