The Shift Working Mom and the Child Care Conundrum, Guest Post by The Mama Nurse

Posted April 6, 2016 by Julie in Guest Posts, Parenting, TopPosts, Working Mom / 13 Comments




Today I’m sharing some thoughts from the lovely Tori of The Mama Nurse on the topic of shift working schedules and the struggles of finding adequate child care. Tori shares her experience from a Canadian perspective, showing us that finding adequate child care with flexible hours is a wide-spread struggle. The guest post below is an excerpt. For the full post, please visit the post on The Mama Nurse.

This post is part of a series I am curating on child care and nannies. If you are a blogger and would like to guest post here on this topic, let me know.


The Shift Working Mom

I have recently returned to the workforce after spending the year caring for my newborn son and three-year-old daughter. I returned to my part-time job as a Registered Nurse working in med/surg and labour and delivery at the hospital nearby. I am a shift working mom and have a hate-hate relationship with child-care.

I love my job, my co-workers, the patients, and their families, as well as the sense of accomplishment and the compensation my position provides. However, working in the hospital inevitably means working a 12-hour schedule with a mix of days and nights.

Basically, a child care provider’s worst nightmare.

Thankfully our parents live nearby and are willing to take their grandchildren for entire days and overnighters. We try not to burden them too much with caregiving obligations, as we know that they have their own goals and aspirations now that they are retired. I am forever thankful for their help as otherwise I probably would have had to put my career on hold.

My unit has recently implemented self-scheduling, and everyone has been receptive to allowing me to take shifts opposite to my husband’s schedule so that between the two of us we can look after our kids mainly on our own. However, since I will be starting a temporary full-time position this summer, our schedules will intermix more often than not. As a shift working mom, I need to find a quality child care provider with extended hours.

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The Child Care Conundrum

It would be an understatement to say that we have struggled to find consistent child care that works with our schedules, ever since our first child was born.

  • Both daycares we started reduced their hours. The other one has a waiting list.
  • There are minimal options for infants under the age of 18 months of age, especially for the hours we need.
  • Most home daycares are full and the rest have bankers hours.
  • The costs are outrageous!

While I can’t fault child care providers for wanting their evenings to spend with their family, I have to ask myself: What does everyone else do? I can’t be the only shift working mom out there!

  • Most nurses are shift workers.
  • While there are more and more male nurses, nursing is still a female dominated profession.
  • The majority of women have children at some point in their lives.
  • Most often these women are the ones to arrange child care and sacrifice their jobs if there are conflicts.

Why, as a shift working mom, do I have to have this child care conundrum? Why aren’t there more supports available to families like mine, so that women can stay in the profession that they choose prior to having children?

My hope is that someday in the future, shift working moms will have the same access to quality child care as those working a regular schedule. That doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch, does it?

Tori is a mama of two, and a nurse to many. Her mission is to empower women in all aspects of their lives- whether during labour and delivery or their threenager’s crisis du jour.

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Thanks for sharing your struggles with finding childcare, Tori! While I don’t work a shift schedule, my commute is long and both my husband and I get home very late. Most daycares in my area close while I’m still at work, or driving home. The point about daycares working bankers hours really stuck with me because seriously so many daycares close by 6 pm. I’m barely getting started with my commute by 6 pm!  So we also struggled with our own child care connundrum and were searching for child care options that could fit our schedule.

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Nanny Contract Template cover P.S. If you are looking at hiring a nanny, I have prepared a Nanny Contract Template to help you hire your own nanny.



Read other posts from this child care and nanny series.




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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
I can be found blogging at Fab Working Mom Life and Chapter Break, and hanging out on social media: Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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13 responses to “The Shift Working Mom and the Child Care Conundrum, Guest Post by The Mama Nurse

  1. I totally agree with you. It’s crucial that you do preliminary research and ask for recommendations before choosing what childcare option is right for you and your family. It’s definitely a red flag if the staff at a childcare center or program are rough and impatient with children. You want to feel confident that your children are safe with the people you choose to leave them with, so it’s important to observe these things before. Thanks so much for sharing your input and advice!

  2. I will never understand daycare hours. I’m grateful that I can stay home with my kids so that this isn’t an issue for us, but I am so frustrated for all those mommas that have to deal with this.

  3. What a total headache – I have never thought about this before? Must hit so many critical services…something has to change!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

  4. This is a difficult one. I remember a news item about more childcare providers in some parts of London offering 24 hours service. I suppose they are not yet the norm because of the expectations society generally has of 9-5 work and the time that parents should be with their children. But things are different in modern times and I’m sure providers will increasingly see the market for provision outside of the ‘typical working hours’. I hope Tori finds an arrangement that works for her family.

  5. As a former early childhood professional, I really feel for the parents working shift work. Childcare becomes especially challenging and there really is a gap in the early childhood system there which NEEDS to be filled!

    Great points. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. This was a great post from a perspective we don’t get to hear that often. So sad that most child care places on cater to parents who work conventional hours.

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