I’m a homeschool mom of 4 with a wonderful husband who has a weird work schedule. For three days in a row, he has to be up and out the door by 4:30 a.m. Then he gets three days off with no set wakeup time. So, we all sleep in to catch up on what we missed the previous three days.
Every two months, he switches to being out by 5:15 p.m., working all night long and arriving an hour before the kids get up. I stay up late to see him over his “lunch” break at 11 p.m. The problem is, I’m tired the next day.
It seems once we finally get a rhythm of going to bed and getting up at a regular time, it gets switched. Do you have any advice on how to get up early when we have such a weird and ever-changing schedule? -a reader
This was such a great question — and I think it’s one that probably many people struggle with and I thought it’d be great to address it in a post.
Now, full disclosure here, I’ve never had a husband who was on a second shift. However, Jesse was in school and working part-time for the first few years of our marriage. When we were in Kansas City, he had a long commute. And when we moved back to Kansas, he had ever-changing hours and night court multiple times per week as part of running his own law firm.
Now that we both work together from home and homeschool our kids and travel regularly, our schedule is always changing and no two days are alike. So, even though Jesse hasn’t worked second shift, I have experienced what it’s like to have irregular work hours and a constantly changing schedule.
With this in mind, here are a few thoughts and words of encouragement:
1. Don’t Compare
I think it is so easy for us to think: “If only I had a husband who worked an 8-5 job.” Or, “If only my kids would sleep through the night.” Or, “If only I didn’t have to work.”
It’s so easy to think that if we were in someone else’s shoes, we could get some sense of normalcy in our lives or we could get more organized or we could get on a better schedule. But here’s the truth: These thoughts will only lead to dissatisfaction in our lives and beat us down.
Embrace where you are. Stop wishing you were in a different place or had a different life. Stop waiting until you make it to a different season. Start right where you are to make changes in the right direction.
As it has well been said, “If we wait for perfect conditions, we’ll never get started at all.”
2. Get on the Same Page as Your Spouse
Learning to communicate with your spouse and getting on the same page with them is key to not only having a great marriage, but also to being able to find a routine and rhythm that works for your own unique family and situation.
Again, the comparisons have to stop. Don’t look at the way another couple is handling a situation and think, “Look how they do their life! We should do our life like that!”
I’ve done this before… and I’ve nagged and dragged Jesse into changing our schedule in a way that isn’t right for us. The end result is tension and frustration. Do what works best for YOUR family — that’s all the matters!
Hear me clearly on this: Your marriage is so much more important than having the perfect go to bed/get up schedule. Do what you can to get on the same page with your spouse and stop chasing someone else’s perfect schedule. Relationships are so much more important than schedules.
3. Focus on a Routine
I know how easy it is to stress out about having the perfect schedule. Instead of that, I want to challenge you to stop stressing over getting it perfect. Life happens, there are hard things that come up, and there are a whole lot of imperfect circumstances that are going to take place.
Stop worrying about getting up at the perfect time each day or going to bed at the perfect time each night. Instead, focus on implementing a good bedtime routine and wake-up routine. No matter what time you go to bed or get up, do the same few things before bed and the same few things when you get up.
Figure out what you want to accomplish the first two hours you are awake. Then, challenge yourself to do the same 3-5 things each morning no matter what time you get up. This can make such a HUGE difference in your day — even if you get up at completely different times every morning.
Sure, I have issued the go to bed early challenge and the get up early challenge to you all, but that doesn’t mean I expect all of my readers to participate in the challenge or be shooting for the same times that we are trying to go to bed and get up. This is what Jesse and I have determined is a priority for our family, but it may not be the season for your family to be focusing on it. Again, do what is best for your family in the season of life you are in.
4. Plan Two to Three Different Kinds of Morning Routines
Here is another place where you have to stop trying to reach perfection: Instead of trying to come up with the perfect routine that will work every single morning, come up with a few different morning routines based upon the common variations in your schedule.
Plan one morning routine for when you are on one shift. Plan one for the other shift. And so on. Then, whenever you and your family roll out of bed and get going, you can choose which routine to go with and you aren’t “off plan”.
Planning for the interruptions in life will help you deal with what life throws at you. Instead of feeling like the constantly changing schedules are constantly throwing you off, you have planned for the variations and can just roll with punches!
What advice and suggestions do you have for this reader?
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