As an Emergency Medicine physician, I work weird hours, 8-10 hours at a time. I prefer the evening and overnight shifts for lots of reasons. This complicates my “outside life,” as I call my home life and I need a small army of babysitters and the daycare to accomplish this. This summer, Blur1 is out of school for the first time (he just “graduated” pre-k) and we’ve added camp to the mix of my arsenal of childcare. With camps and school and daycare, why do I need the babysitters too? Hubby’s job starts at 5a and he has to leave by 4a. Babysitters come to my house at 4a on nights I work overnights and he has to work; I pay ridiculously for this.
Having done this for 10 years now, I have figured out what I need to do the overnight, schedule-wise. 7a wake up the morning of the first one (The Blurs’ fault), do a heavier than normal workout, a pre-shift nap (1 hour or less on the couch), overnight shift (11p-7a), get The Blurs to school/camp/daycare, get to sleep by 9a, wake up by 3p, maybe preshift nap, and repeat until the overnights are done. I abstain from alcohol this entire time and don’t worry about my diet or working out. I also try not to schedule anything important for the morning-early afternoon hours because I know I won’t make it. Sometimes, before the 3rd or 4th overnight, I’ll go into work early and get some administrative or academic things done, especially if I’ve flipped good or have a pressing deadline. After the last overnight, I have a beer or two with dinner and only one cup of coffee when I first get up to help reset me to going back to days. With this regimen, I flip back and forth from days and nights as easy as one can.
For the most part, this regimen has worked with The Blurs and Hubby. They are at school or work while I sleep and vice versa and we spend our evenings together. However, this summer has put a cramp in our schedules. School is out and camp doesn’t cover the entire summer. I have had to adjust my routine and it sucks. This week I had an isolated overnight but no childcare for Blur1 during my prime sleeping time. I tried taking a much bigger nap preshift and it worked by giving me 2 additional hours of feeling awake after my shift. Too bad I needed 5-6; Hubby can’t get home until 11a at the earliest for special things and this wasn’t one of those days. The shift happened two nights ago and I’m still hurting. I know what I need is more sleep but I also know that is not going to happen.
I am curious how others cope when their normal schedule, abnormal as it may be at baseline, is disrupted. Do you have things in place to help you adjust? I thought 10 years would have been enough to figure this out but The Blurs keep adding new wrinkles I never previously considered.
Ps. Those of you with older kids than mine (5 & 2 yo), what wrinkles should I be on the lookout for?