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any solutions for juggling the third shift and motherhood?

i am a waitress at a 24 hour diner. i work the third shift (10p.m.-6a.m.). i have two children(1yr and 4yrs). i am not financially able to quit working, and the shift i am currently on is the only one i can work considering my husband's working hours. daycare is not an option. times are tight and we simply can't afford it. often i come home to a dirty house and enegetic children who are ready for breakfast. i do my best to stay up with them until nap, then sleep a few hours and do it all over again. i feel like i am always grumpy and impatient. and i can never seem to stay on top of the housework. have any of you gone through this? does anyone have any tips or ideas on how to juggle children, chores, and work? i am desperate.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 11:19 AM on Jan. 1, 2010 in Money & Work

Answers (10)
  • My husband and I are the exact opposite. I get the "normal" job during daytime hours and normal sleeping patterns while he's the one who is constantly tired from 3rd shift and up with our 9 mon old all day, except nap times. I feel so bad all the time but we too cannot afford for one of us to not work. My advice is leave the housework alone. There's no reason it HAS to be done. Myabe your husband could pitch in a little more too. It's not fair for you to have to do it alone. I tell my husband too, leave the chores, sleep when she's sleeping. And try to keep remember that it won't alway be like this, you know? Once they're in school full time maybe it will be different. Good luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:34 AM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • When does your dh get home from work? Is it possible that he can watch them when he gets home so that you can get some sleep? After all, he's sleeping while he's with them at night... Also, could he stay up a little later and do some of the housework as well?

    If he's not willing to do this, then honestly, I think I would be a jerk about it and call him all night while you were at work, so that HE was up, and see how tired he was then having to go to work the next day... BUT - honestly, it shouldn't come to that. I'm sure if you talked to him and explained how exhausted you are - and point out that really, the options are 1) him helping, 2) you have to pay for someone to watch the kids so you can sleep, 3) you have to give up your job, or 4) you (or one of the kids) end up in the hospital when you collapse from exhaustion (or fall asleep and they get hurt) - which would be the most expensive of them all.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 11:37 AM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • oh my gosh well you go girl. i am single with 2 kids and out of work- i was hoping to find a 3rd shift job like that. are you doing full time or part time? maybe you could switch to part time- you need to rest sometime! for more than a few hours! if you have a slow cooker you could use that for meals- and on your days off or when you have time make meals to freeze. i like to double a meal and freeze half. does your 4 yr old know how to pick up toys? put a big storage box in each room that has toys and just throw them in- dont worry about organizing them for now. im sure your husband is worn out too, but maybe you could give him his weekly list of chores? maybe he can do the laundry? oh and my friend has a great tip about laundry- if it can be hung- hang it. shes saves alot of hassle without having to fold everything!

    Answer by snoober_k at 11:47 AM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • Can a family member watch the kids for a few hours a day in order for you to sleep? When I worked 3rd shift, my mother would keep my son in the morning so I could sleep. It is not healthy to not get enough sleep. And your husband needs a foot in his ass about the housework.

    Answer by ronjwake at 11:53 AM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • i would try to get them into a cheap day care, maybe once or twice a week. maybe head start, sometimes it's free for certain incomes. there's really nothing you can do till they are in school otherwise, and for both of them that's a long way off. you might have to compromise your work situations to keep your sanity. i hope it works out for you.

    Answer by angevil53 at 12:03 PM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • Have you considered changing the kids' sleeping schedules? When I was pregnant with my second I worked the night shift & my first was only one. I worked 11pm-7am. I got him use to going to sleep a little later so he wouldn't wake up until 10am and I could get a few hours of sleep before he was up. Then a few more hours when he laid down for his nap. Hubby got home & I would sleep until I had to get ready for work. It was rough but luckily only lasted a few months. Hope you work something out. Sleep is important.

    Answer by lizafur13 at 12:25 PM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • Could u join a mommy's group and swap childcare with another mom?She could take your kids while u nap,and then you could take her kids.I used to work nights with no childcare and I would sleep on a mattress in front of the door during the day, and had tv and snacks in the room, so my daughter couldn't get out of the room.It wasn't great sleep, but it would give me a few hours, which was enough to get through the day and the night ahead.As for the dirty house, I really think you need to stress to your husband that he needs to have it clean before he goes to bed.You are getting the short end of the stick here, so he should be picking up more slack in regards to housework.

    Answer by mommy020608 at 12:56 PM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • Working 3rd shift actually affects your longevity. I worked 3rd shift, 3 nights a week when my kids were little, and had daycare 2 days a week from 9-3. Basically I slept from 9:30- 2:30 on those 2 days. I also tried working every other night, so that I did not go too many sleepless(or few hours) nights in a row. Also I was sick all.of.the.time AND have long term sleep issues as a result. I worked the overnight shift for 10 years. I worked with many nurses who tried having NO childcare, staying awake and napping when the kids napped. Personally, I think this is an unsafe practice. NO ONE should be thinking they can work all night and stay awake ALL day to care for kids on a long term basis. How many ladies would accept working all day and staying awake caring for kids ALL night and then repeating that process day after day? Realistically, how long could you last? Would you be happy and a good mom or wife?

    Answer by Sisteract at 1:13 PM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • My only suggestion is to sleep when your DH gets home. Aside from naps. Then when the kids are awake you're awake. This might help you get some house work and sleep all into the same day.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 1:53 PM on Jan. 1, 2010

  • i rember putting up a fence across my living room door and putting in a movie. then taking a nap on the couch. my new shift is midnight to 8. so, i'm planning on getting a little sleep after he goes to bed & before I go to work

    Answer by JeffersonMom at 8:34 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

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