Working Mom Problems: The Non-Schedule Schedule

My husband started his new job about three weeks ago, and we are all very happy with how it is going so far.  He is back in the for-profit world, with a company and industry he is very familiar with, and by all accounts he is crushing it every day.  After a few months as a stay-at-home dad, he was ready to reenter the work force and hit the ground running.  Things are really great in that respect.

As the store manager of an optometrist office, however, his position is considered to be retail.  Working in retail has its own set of issues.  And right now we are adjusting to what I call the “non-schedule schedule.”  I work a typical 8-ish to 5-ish job in an office, so my schedule is pretty much set.  I leave around the same time every morning, and I get home around the same time every evening.  Zac’s schedule varies wildly.  He works three Saturdays a month, and the hours could range from 9-6 to 9-2 to 12-6 or anything in between.  He closes one night a week, but it could be any night {except Thursday, since I have tennis practice that day}.  On the weeks he works on Saturday, he has an off day during the week, but that day also varies.  Fortunately, this type of schedule affords him some flexibility during the week that I do not have.  This is nice for those errands and appointments that you can’t do on the evenings or weekends, and it gives him time at the house by himself one day a week to work on his honey-do list and tackle larger chores and projects.

The down side is that there is no set routine at our house.  We had gotten into a really good groove while he was at home with the boys and everyone was doing really well with the schedule.  Now we are in another adjustment period.  Most days Zac takes the boys to school on his way to work in the morning.  On days he closes or is off work, however, he might take them in around lunch so that he can have some extra time with them.  Which is fine.  I think it’s great that he wants to have some extra time with them and isn’t chomping at the bit to dump them off at school in the mornings.  But it is a hiccup in their routine.  Then in the evenings, either he or I will pick them up around 6.  This is pretty standard.  But if he’s closing, then the boys are home with me all evening and we just kind of goof around and have a quick dinner of sandwiches or take-out or a $5 pizza from Little Caesar’s.  I don’t really care to cook while watching two rowdy boys all by my little lonesome self.  So on nights I’m with the boys alone, it’s total Fun Mom time.

Saturdays are also a crapshoot.  I am playing USTA tennis this winter and our matches are on Saturday instead of Sunday, like they were in my ALTA league.  With Zac working on Saturday, I have to get the boys and myself ready, cart them to wherever my match is, and hope there is someone there to watch them.  This past Saturday Zac came on his lunch hour to keep them occupied, but my match took longer than an hour so he was rushing to get back to work.  Lesson learned, and this Saturday I will have a babysitter if he is working.  Then when he gets home from work, we try to cram in some kind of fun activity in the evening which usually results in us getting home late and throwing the boys’ bedtime off.  No bath, just teeth brushing and straight to bed.  Fortunately our boys are pretty adaptable when it comes to bedtimes, and they usually prefer to get a bath or shower in the morning anyway.

With any big change like a new job comes an adjustment period and some growing pains.  In addition to trying to get some semblance of a routine going, we are also reworking the budget to account for the added income and school tuition and all of that stuff.  I hope we get a handle on it soon, because this has been an exhausting couple of weeks trying to get it all figured out.

If you or your husband have a non-standard work schedule, how is your routine?  Is your life as haphazard as mine feels right now, or have you got a good thing going?  If so, I’d love to hear about it!

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