Work - FT Night Shift and Family Time?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by smhbbag, Dec 10, 2005.

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  1. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Does anyone have any experience working a full-time night shift (in my case, 11p to 9ish a.m.) while having a family?

    Because that is the time for a job I'm looking at for when I get married soon. Now, I highly value family time, and work is merely a means to support them, and I'm just wondering how difficult (or not) it may be in the future if I keep that schedule. Looking very long-range here....many kids, probably homeschooling, etc.

    Is this manageable? I love the job opportunity; it's something I could be happy doing and would pay the bills. Just looking for some insight from those with experience.

    I've discussed this with the future-Mrs. at great length, and we're both not really seeing much of a problem with it. I'd still have mornings, like 9-11, and evenings from 6 or 7 until 11. So it seems completely workable. But am I being unrealistic?

    I've been working this 11p-4a part-time for a long time now, while in school, so the hours don't bother me at all (in fact I like them), but just wondering how big of an impact that will be on the family. Thanks :):
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I worked 2-3 years of night shifts stateside in the army. Maintaining a regular routine is a must. Even stick to your work schedule on your days off.

    I liked it better. On my days off I maintained my scheduling and it sureis a relief to do one's Walmart shopping at 2am when it is empty!

    No big deal if you follow the above. Get a dark room with a loud fan and make sure that no matter what you sleep from about 6am to 2pm or so. Your spouse or kids cannot disturb you (even if its "just this once). Afterwards, you can play with the kids, etc, until you go into work.

    And by all means....take the phone off the hookduring those hours.
  3. Henry from Canada

    Henry from Canada Puritan Board Freshman

    An 11PM to 9AM shift is do-able.

    This is especially true if you can get to sleep by 10 or 11AM.

    This type of arrangement means you can sleep 7 or 8 hours and have 'breakfast' at 6PM.

    There are potential problems areas, however.

    On the weekends, while your wife and kids are out and about, your body may want to sleep.

    Another possible issue is noise while you are trying to sleep, such as unwanted phone calls from sales people.

    If you do a google search on "shift work", you will see a number of studies that document potential problems with irregular hours.

    Even if you have 'steady' latenight work hours, you may still find yourself shifting sleep schedules to account for medical appointments, Saturday afternoons with the kids, church, etc.

    Irregular sleep patterns can be brutal on the body.

    If you do a google search on "midnight shift" and "circadian", you will find studies outlining how irregular work hours can affect the body.

    However, when you are single, midnight shifts can be really cool. This is especially the case because the 'the city' is different at night.

    When you have a wife and kids, however, odd hours can be a problem.

    Then again, if you and your wife deal for all these problems, then odd hours can work for you. Instead of working during the day and sleeping at night, you do just the opposite. Either way, you may be able to spend hours each day with your wife and kids. (Which is better than millions of people with regular hours.)

    A big factor you will have to consider is your body. How much sleep do you need?

    If you go to a ball game on Saturday afternoon and church on Sunday morning, can your body adapt? Or, would you normally go to games on Saturday night and church on Sunday night, anyway?

    I think that you are wise to ask this question now. By dealing with this issue now, you may be able to head off potential problems before they become problems.
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I have worked night shifts on and off for years now. My job in college was a night stocking job at Lowes. In the Navy I would work 2 months of nights alternating with 2 months of day shifts. Right now I work about 2 nights a week because that is the only time I can really put in hours to make some money and still keep up in seminary. I love working nights, for many reasons; no traffic, calmer work environment, usually work more independently. But my wife hates it. She wants me home at night.

    But there's only one way to do night shifts right. You must do it consistently. That means you need to be a vampire. You need to stay on night shift even on your days off. Your body can't handle swapping day and night routines all the time. If you're young you can handle the rigor, but it will age you very fast, trust me. I'm 29, but some people think I'm much older (seriously! one nurse I work with thought I was 45!). You will get sick more often. You will always be tired. Your body runs on circadian rhythms. Most people function by the pattern of sunlight. A consistent night shift lifestyle can train you to reverse the pattern without much stress. But irregular scheduling will hurt you over the long haul.

    This night stuff works great for single guys. But for married folks it can be taxing, especially when you have kids. The kids will often wake you up. And for me, I can't shut off the "dad" mode. If my kids are acting up, I always feel the urge to get out of bed and handle it even though my wife may be doing fine. If your wife is on an opposite schedule you will feel a strain too. It will be hard to find time together. If you have family or freinds visiting, you need to adjust accordingly because they don't understand your schedule. You also will lose sleep when you need to meet appointments during the day. Depending on your job, it may be harder to find a replacment too if you want to take vacation or something like that. Most people don't like working nights. It's also much harder to be active in church throughout the week. Sundays are hard because you feel like sleeping and it can be difficult to stay alert and attentive in worship.

    Anyway, probably wrote too much. Thought I would share my experience though. I don't want you to get your marriage started off on the wrong foot. It's workable, but you will have to be extra diligent to make time for your family and the church, especially when you feel like sleeping. If you can find a decent day job, then I recommend doing that instead.

    [Edited on 12-11-2005 by puritansailor]
  5. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    We've found 2nd shifts worked best for hubby could still sleep without disturbance from the children and we could do things during the day as a family. We ended up hsing in the evenings during that time (we knew another family that did this as well). Hubby was never able to deal with third shift...couldn't sleep, and the schedule threw his system somehow affecting his attitudes and almost his personality it seemed at the time. We known it to affect several ppl this way...but then we've known others who loved it. But with many children at home and homeschooling...that's going to make it more difficult than someone who's kids are away at school during the day when most 3rd shifters are sleeping.
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