(4) 9.5 hr days or (5) 7.5 hr days... need advice!

PatyFebruary 13, 2002

I have the option of working 4 9.5 hr days vs the normal 5 7.5 hour days and I don't know what to do. I live within 5 minutes to work so there is no communte as it is. Right now I get in really early - around 7:30 or so (it's flexible) and leave around 3 or 3:30 every day. If I changed my schedule I'd get in around 7 and leave around 5 M-H and have Fridays off. (Lunch break included) T/H DD goes to daycare and they open from 7-5:30 which is a ways out of the way (if I leave at 7 to take her to daycare I don't get to work until 8 or so) but it's the best daycare around and I don't want to switch. (Plus, everywhere else has waiting lists 5 miles long!) I guess DH could take her to daycare in the morning and I could pick her up after work. He's home with her M/W/F now as it is. If I'm home Friday it would give me a day with her and him a break to get other stuff done. (He's a student.)

What shift would you rather work? I asked my boss about changing shifts and I really didn't expect him to say "yes." Since he did I'm trying to decide if this is really what I want. (I know fickle, fickle, fickle!) 9.5 hrs makes for an incredibly long day. What do you think???

Oh, and by the way - DD is still not sleeping through the night yet so we're both pretty exhausted. Would it thus be easier to have a day off or to work shorter shifts? That's another concern of mine. DH is all for the 4 9.5 hour days.

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If it were my choice, I would probably keep the 5 day schedule. That extra 2 hours a day for a 9.5 hour shift do make a difference. You'll be more tired and may feel like you're not really seeing your dd during those days. You'll get home and if you're like some parents, give dd a bath, feed her, and send her off to bed by 7:30 pm. (I'm making assumptions, I don't know your schedule.) Mornings can be a rush a lot of time too and you won't be seeing your dd as much then either. I think the potential is there for you to get worn down and be more tired. Overall,you'll end up seeing your child a lot less during the week and will end up placing a lot of expectations on that day off.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 10:53AM
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I wish I could do the four days but this job does not offer it. I use to do (4) 10 hr days at another job and loved it. My problem is going to work. Once I was there, the extra 2 hrs just blended in. I would love to have a day that I could just spend at my son's school or taking care of home matters. I think I would take Wednesdays though because doctors, beauticians and other offices usually have more appts available those days. LOL

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 10:58AM
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5 days keeps everyone's schedules more dependable and won't require changing existing patterns and habits? That's good for the very young, to be able to have and experience organization and dependable schedules. It's also usually less stressful on parents to not have to shuffle and re-settle into new patterns.

4 days of longer hours will require some shuffling before it gets to feel 'normal' and before it then becomes the new dependable pattern. It will require new duties from your partner in terms of taking the baby to daycare. Is he aware and able to do that? Do you have a choice about Mondays or Fridays to take off, or other days if taking a 4-day work week? You might be able to negotiate a 'trial' of a week or so with your employer so you can get an idea of the physical requirements and whether this kind of schedule is do-able for you (you need your health and sanity as intact as possible).

Other issues can be complicated. Do you get a 'free' day to do the things you need to do (the thing to consider is whether, at stressful times, this change would feel like something that is resented). When the adults involved are both sleep-deprived their judgement can be impaired, or their thinking processes relatively slowed or otherwise affected by that lack of sleep. It can seem like, when offered what is felt to be needed (a free day) then of course it would be a good idea. It's harder to predict how one's life would change as a result. (If you end up feeling so overworked those 4 days that you really can't consider that 'free' day as 'free'; then you might a lot more support from your partner. He may not appreciate that, or be naturally adept and providing that as needed. No one benefits much at all if this change causes you to exceed your body's limits in terms of exhaustion and sleep.) deprivation.

Basically, spend some time thinking about your own body's patterns. Which kind of work schedule would agree more with your own natural patterns (and why). What considerations are 'pro' and which are 'con' for the change. How sleep-deprived are you both, and how sleep-deprived are you both feeling (that is important because 2 people can have similar degrees of deprivation but one person's functioning might be more impaired by that)? Who will have to do what with the baby's schedule either way (note required changes)? Go through all these kinds of questions for yourself and with reference to your partner and baby. You'll be able to come up with a good idea about whether this change might be worth attempting.

you can ask your employer for a trial of this change if you'd like to explore how you might be affected (positively or negatively, or not at all)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 12:13PM
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I'd go for the 4 day schedule to have some more time at home. I graduated nsg school 6 days before having my baby 7-1/2 mos ago. Although I haven't gone to work yet I have all intentions of working 3 12hr shifts instead of the traditional 5 days per week. I purposely changed careers to plan for extra time with my baby & to work closer to home rather than making a long commute.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 6:23PM
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