Shift parenting is not the way I pictured raising my children years ago. It is not something that I recommend if you can avoid it honestly. However it is what our family needs to do and I am okay with that.
I am a teacher and I work days. My husband is a music pastor and he is also a waiter. The twins go to daycare for socialization so that leaves my husband at home alone with Adalynn during the day. I am lucky because Adalynn gets to come see me everyday at work and nurse during my lunch break. I never have to go more than 4 hours without seeing her smiling face.
I get home from work and my husband immediately leaves for his job at the restaurant (he works part time at the church and the day he does go in, he gets to bring her with him). I get to see my husband for about five minutes before he leaves–it sucks. He goes to work and then I prepare dinner and go pick the twins up from daycare. This is our schedule on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.
I love Wednesday and Thursday because my husband works at the church at night and we actually get to have dinner together as a family–all five of us. It is pretty awesome, my favorite two nights of the week.
On Saturday and Sunday he goes to work at the restaurant at night and I am left to do the night routine alone again.
In some ways I love having the three kids alone, we have a routine–a schedule. I love eating dinner with them, then pjs, devotions, story time, kisses, and cuddles. I love watching them interact with each other. I love seeing them play together and interact in the bedroom before bed. Adalynn just laughs and giggles at the twins and all of their antics.
We do a nightly devotional and I have to be honest, Adalynn is the one that is most interested in what we are reading and learning about. Her eyes never leave the book meanwhile the twins sometimes sit in my lap or they are running around. I am okay with that because I know they are hearing God’s message even if they are running around. After we do the devotional, we always pray. The twins sit for this–I think they realize the importance of it. As soon as I say amen though, they are off running about again.
Then it is time for our nightly story–this story stays consistent. It is a book called “Beddy Bye Baby”. The book has things children touch to feel different items. All three kids get excited over this book, I wish I was talented enough to video tape this part of the night. If Adalynn ever gets upset before this part of the night all I have to do is give her this book and she is all giggly and happy. Anyways the kids love this book and they finish it off by saying “night, night”. The twins go straight to their cribs and then it is night time for them.
Then it is just Adalynn and me for awhile. After we leave the twins room we go into Adalynn’s room. I get her all ready for bed and then we go into the living room. I usually turn on the television and she starts playing for a little bit. Then we move into my bedroom where we start nursing for bedtime. Although the past few nights she is going to sleep pretty quickly after the twins go to bed. Anyways, we lay in bed and she falls asleep nursing. I usually don’t put her in the crib but instead wait until daddy gets home a few hours later so he can lay her down. For some reason I am just not that skilled in getting her into the crib. However these past two nights she has allowed me to do it. Woot! Adalynn eventually ends up back in our bed through the night for her nursing at night.
I love our routine but I know this kids miss their daddy. I miss him, I wish we could put the kids to bed and then have a little bit of time together before we go to sleep. I stay awake for Jeremy to get home before we go to bed. This is probably another favorite part of my day because I get some alone time with him.
Our life is hectic and crazy but I love it. I am crazy in love with my life. Even though we do not get a lot of time with the 5 of us, I treasure every moment of it. I treasure the moments of watching my children bond with each other and love each other. My children get to bond with each parents separately because of our shift parenting. We have unique bonds with the children and I would never want to take that away.
Even with all that in mind, I cannot wait for summer! I will be home all day, everyday. This means I get to spend more time with my family. Jeremy is going to switch a couple of night shifts around for a couple of day shifts so he can do family dinners at least one more night a week.
Shift parenting can definitely stink but we have adjusted to it and it works for our family.