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My husband is the hardest worker I know. I don’t anyone else who is as diligent, thorough, and hard-working as him. He works hard at home with the kids and on many odd projects, but he also works incredibly hard at work.
For the last three years, he has worked at the fire department – and his shifts are 24 hours long.
Yes, twenty-four.

Now, technically, he is only “on call” for those 24 hours, and is free to eat meals, sleep and relax in the front of the TV (at the fire house) as long as he doesn’t have calls. Most days, however, he is going on 15-20 calls a day…in a 24 hour period.

Meanwhile, I’m at home. With two kids. I wake up, get the kids dressed, feed them some breakfast, clean up all their messes, change a couple diapers, wash the dishes and feel like I need a nap. And then I glance at the clock…and it’s 9 am.

2 hours down, 22 more to go.

I’ve had several years of practice, and I am just now figuring out how to manage these 24 hours shifts on the home front.  Even before I had children, I struggled with the long hours that seemed endless. Here are some tips and tricks on how to survive those long, long hours:

How To Survive a 24-Hour Shift

Set low expectations.

I am a fairly productive, busy person and I can usually accomplish a fair amount in any given day.

However, I know on days that my husband works that my accomplishments will be less. I purposely don’t plan on completing big projects or getting a lot of “extracurriculars” (like blogging) done on those days.

Get out of the house.

Nothing makes the hours pass faster than getting myself out of the house.
Before I had children, I would meet up with a friend for lunch or head to Barnes and Noble to work. Now that I have kids, I will plan a playdate or just head to the park for the afternoon. It makes such a huge difference when some hours can pass quickly.

Treat yourself.

Give yourself something to look forward to on the days that your husband is gone.

For me, I treat myself to a coke every day that my husband works. I limit myself other days of the week by telling myself “oooooh, I can have that on FRIDAY!” Since work days are days that I usually dread, this adds something to look forward to instead!

I also will choose a TV show or a great book that I can only watch/read on those work days. Again, it gives me something to look forward to instead of just dreading the day!

Keep your routine.

With a husband working 24 hours shifts, this also means that he works a rotating schedule. One week he works Friday, the next he works Saturday and the one after that he is working Sunday. I learned early on that I cannot stop my routine or build it around his schedule.

Instead, I build my routine- story time on Friday, play date on Saturday and church on Sunday, whether or not he is working. I can’t stay home all the time on the days he works, and the kids and I need consistent schedules.

Don’t forget about prayers and scriptures.

24 hour shifts are tough, guys. I’ve found that the days that I spend in prayer for myself, my husband and my kids are the days that seem to go smoother.

It’s important to be praying for our husbands at work as well as praying for grace and endurance for ourselves at home. Memorizing Scripture to help get me through is another extremely important thing.

Keep it simple.

I’m repeating #1…because it’s so important.
Not only do I keep my expectations low, but I also commit to keeping it simple. I have a rotation of three dinners that I make on days my husband works. Two of the dishes I make are things he doesn’t like anyways, so it’s a total win-win. I use paper plates on those days so I have fewer dishes to wash and I just generally try to keep our schedule simple while still maintaining our routine.
Great tips - I always have a hard time with 24 hour shifts! I think I'll print and save this.. especially #4 is going to help a lot.


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