Finding Time

We’ve been trying to find a new routine around here since the start of the year. Aaron is back to full-time at work, which makes all of us happy, but with the new position he has to be in the office every day, with no chance to work from home. Not too big of a deal, except that his office is a loooooong commute and he has different hours. So he’s gone early in the morning and home much later.

This has required me to rearrange my schedule as well. I’m now the one getting the kids onto the school bus, and I’m always the one picking them up from school. Since he gets home so late, it falls on me to do a lot of their homework with them, too.  Housework, working out, errands? I get to them when I can, which means not very often. I’m grateful that my job is flexible enough to accommodate working weird hours when needed. That’s one piece to the puzzle that we don’t need to worry about.

I’m not resentful that I’ve had to take on more of the kid responsibility lately, although I’m finding it harder to make everything fit into the hours we have available. And I worry that Aaron doesn’t get as much time with the kids now, possibly an hour to an hour and a half before their usual bedtime. (which includes dinner)

Waking up earlier would probably help me get a better start to the day.  But I’m not a morning person at all. In fact, talking to me before I’ve had the chance to fully wake up yet generally goes poorly. I’m convinced that gravity is twice as strong in the early morning, when it takes tremendous effort to drag myself out of bed and get moving. Non-morning people will know precisely what I mean.

On the other hand, Cordy has always preferred to go to bed early. It wasn’t so bad when she was in kindergarten and falling asleep at 6:30pm. She has always set her own early bedtime, and previous attempts to push it back never worked. (Mira is super flexible on bedtime, although she still wakes up early no matter what time she goes to bed.) Cordy springs out of her room wide-eyed and full of energy at 6am. If it wasn’t for the obvious family resemblance, I’d swear she was switched at birth because I have no idea how it’s possible to wake up so…awake.

But now Cordy is in second grade and has more responsibilities and homework. She stays up until 7:30 most nights now, and seems capable of staying up most nights until 8pm. Her homework takes up a portion of the evening – her spelling homework alone can take half an hour to finish. Staying up until 7:30pm is an improvement, but still limits our available time to get anything done when there’s only an hour to an hour and a half of full family time together.

If we try to have the kids stay up later, Aaron gets more time with them, but then Aaron and I have practically no kid-free time together before he falls asleep on the couch and then stumbles upstairs to bed. (He’s up for the day at 4:30am many days.)

I’m sure we’ll figure out a new routine that works, but there may be some rough days ahead while we find what works best. Getting more done would be nice, but I’m more concerned that the kids feel they’re getting enough of our attention – both of us – while I still get a little time with my husband without a child wedging herself between us to tell us all about her favorite Skylander. 

And now for the interactive portion of our show: I need your help. I want to know your routine and if it works well for your family. How late do you let your kids stay up? (and ages, please) Do you or your spouse (if you have a spouse or sig. other) only get to see the kids for a very short time in the evenings before bed? If so, how do you/your partner maximize your time so the kids feel like they’re getting enough of your time? Is someone in your family not getting enough of your time? I’d love to hear how others make the parent-working-late situation work for them

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  1. Well, here’s our set up: With both of us working non school hours over an hour away from the school, we’re lucky to have on site after school care. SigOther drops the Magpie (6yo) off and I pick up; whoever gets home first starts dinner. It’s also a good thing that the Magpie stays up until nine and would stay up later if we let her…! Evenings are busy andone of us often has a meeting or class to attend. We don’t always BOTH get to spend time with her each night, but the nights have a way of working themselves out.

    I’m pretty sure it’s just going to be busy until she’s graduated high school…at least!

  2. We certainly don’t have it figured out. We’re fortunate that my husband stays at home with the kids (2 kindergartners, 1 20-month-old) but I work full time, an hour away. So I leave the house at 7:00 AM at the latest, and nobody is up yet (my husband and I are NOT morning people, so we barely speak in the mornings), and I return to the house around 6:45 PM. So we eat around 7:00 and the kids go to bed kind of late, around 9:00. We do have to be sure NOT to stretch it any later because the girls are having trouble getting up for school, and we really need to aim better for an 8:30 bedtime…but as you point out, HOW? We really want to sit down together for dinner as it’s practically the only time we are all still, but then I hate to make everyone go straight upstairs for bath etc. before dinner is digested. But, so far, that’s how it’s going! Good luck to you guys in making it work!

  3. I used to be a “night owl” but due to work demands and a desire for regular exercise, I trained myself to be more of a morning person. This really does work great with kids. My kids are now 11, 13, 15 but when they were in elementary school I found that an 8-8:30 bedtime was really important for them most days in order for them to function properly. On weeks when we are organized this goes much better–grocery shopping is for weekends and the slow cooker is my best friend during the week. We prioritize family dinner as much as possible but when one of us has to work late, we try to start dinner and let the one running late join us in progress. Not perfect, but works for us.

  4. Son is 6 1/2, daughter is 3. All up at 5 AM (though my girl will sleep till 6 most days). I drop off to school at 7, hubs picks them up at 430, all home by 5. Then hubs goes to gym while I feed/bathe kids and has maybe an hour with them befor ebed. Son goes to bed at 8, daughter up till 830. Hubs and I get an hour together before someone is snoring by 930. He has never asked for more time with kids and I see it as his choice to go to the gym and leave the night work for me. I’m a morning person and have frequently done dishes/laundry in the AM before we leave the house. Kids will help with dishes at night if you let them. Just last night we discovered that my son can do his reading aloud homework to my daughter while I’m giving her a bath. Multitasking is key!

  5. I have to just say we have no real routine at all, and although I will likely never stop overall worrying about my babies, I think they will be fine. I might go a week out of town and barely even call them, then spend all weekend till we’re sick of each other. My husband might spend all day with them, but in between napping and sports watching it might seem like less time than when I take them to the batting cage. I sometimes have to work late, or even go out after work, and although they act sad and miss me, I remember I need time for my job, and for me, too. We’re lucky my dad can pitch in, as my husband’s soccer games (he’s a coach) might be from 2-7, and I get off work at 6, and the kids get out of school at 3.

    We are probably fortunate that our kids do ok with no schedule, as we are terrible at keeping one. My kids are 9 and their bedtime is between 9 and 10 (they might even have a futsal game at 8:30).

    Sorry I have no real advice, but my point is just that, as cliche as it sounds, I do believe “quality” time is better than quantity.

  6. My kids are 5.5 and 7.5. Mike and I are up between 630 and 7 every morning. The girls alarm goes off at 7. I usually get up, get them dressed and have them make their beds while I take a shower and get dressed. Then I do hair & medicine while Mike is showering and getting himself ready for the day. The girls get on the bus about 820 and Mike heads out for work, 40 minutes from here, at roughly the same time. I work for Hollerin & BlogHer during the day, and try to get some errands and housework done. The kids get off the bus at 4. They have a snack and work on homework (Emily) or play (Lucy). Em’s homework right now isn’t too terrible, mostly reading for a set period of time and maybe a math worksheet. Mike gets home between 530 and 630 and we have dinner. Kids are on their way to bed by 730 and they are done with the nighttime routine, including a chapter of whatever book they are reading with Mike by 8. Mike gets about an hour and a half of time with the kids during the week. It’s not his favorite thing, but there’s not much else we can do. The girls pass out pretty much as soon as we leave the room, so pushing the bedtime back wouldn’t work. Plus, Mike and I like to have some adult time in the evenings and watching Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who isn’t a great idea with little ones around… Even Downton Abbey is getting less kid friendly this season.

  7. MN RN Mom says:

    It’s so funny how since I found your blog over 4 years ago now (?) so many of our life events and situations have overlapped. I just started “days” this week after 3 years of nights and while I am hopeful that this new schedule will lead to more “us” time for me and my husband, my body has no clue when it’s supposed to sleep now and so far, it doesn’t seem to look like more time for me and my daughter. Although, one of the things we’re going to try is for my husband to split more of the evening work so I can spend more time with the kid. He gets lots of her on her school breaks as he’s home all day with her then. We put her to bed between 8-9pm and are out of the room by 9pm. She is tough to get up in the morning, no matter what, but it seems to be getting slightly better. She’s a true “slow waker-upper”

  8. I had a routine that worked, which was that I get up at 6am and go to the gym before the boys are awake – so that I can get them out of bed when their 7am alarm rings and we’re not running late all morning with the accompaniment of me bitching at them about going so slow.

    That worked great for 2 days at the beginning of February and then I got sick and everything sucked for a month even when I was not sick, because we started off every morning in a panic of lateness.

    So I did the routine again yesterday and it worked again.

    Then I woke up several times in the middle of the night and didn’t want to do it today, so I didn’t – and today was annoying as hell as a result.

    I may possibly come to the correct conclusion at some point here. The universe is certainly giving me LOTS of data…