24 hour shift

Avril - posted on 11/16/2008 ( 54 moms have responded )

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Hi there. I've got a newborn and a toddler and our city is looking at going over to 24 hour shifts. Anyone have any opinions about it for me?

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Amber - posted on 11/20/2008

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Hi! We have an almost-14-year-old son adopted from Russia this summer, and a surprise baby on the way.

Every department in our area (Western GA and the Atlanta area) has 24 on and 48 off.

I've dealt with 24s and 48s most of my life because my father is a FF and paramedic. At various times he worked for 2 departments, so it was 48s then.

DH (FF/EMT) is working 48s now. First 24 at the fire station, second 24 at the ambulance. He has a 10 minute commute to the fire station, so that's nice - and we can occasionally find time to go see him. It 30 minutes from the fire station to the ambulance, and 30 minutes home from the ambulance. His ambulance is really busy, so we very rarely go see him there. We've tried many times, but only been successful once. He has called me on the cell phone and said "I see you" when we pass on the road - a fun Marco Polo game that our son thinks is hilarious.

A lot of wives hate 24s, but I have never minded them. I hated having my husband gone 1 night out of 3 (once I adjusted to sleeping in the same bed as someone else, I did not sleep well without him for a while). It was really nice to have him home for 48 hours. We spent a lot of time together.

He used to work 24s plus a PT job on his weekdays off. Every fireman I know has some sort of second job because (at least here) they just don't make enough money to support a family.

He has been working 48s since our son came home from Russia, so that has made bonding a little different. DS had trouble understanding why Dad is gone for 48 hours at a time, but he has adjusted pretty well. We are homeschoolers, so it helps that DS can just be home with him all day on his 24 off. Sometimes we take that day off from regular school work and just do family things, or DH takes DS on a field trip. We are VERY family focused on his days off. Not to say that we are not on his work days, but we are just more focused on spending time together on his days off.

You'll find a way to make it work for your family. It will be difficult at first because it's such a change, but once you get used to it, you'll be fine!

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Julie - posted on 01/24/2012

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I hate fire department shifts... I find myself wondering what my husband is getting himself into while I'm at work, the kids are in school/daycare and he's off... :-/

Tracee - posted on 10/18/2011

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Hi there, I have an 8 yr old, 5 yr old and 2 1/2 mo old...mine works 24 hour shifts, 24 on and 48 off, I love it! Although he is gone for 24 hours, he only works about 8-9 days a month, so he is home a lot to help!!! It seems hard at first, but honestly I wouldnt want him to work any other shift

Tracee - posted on 10/18/2011

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Hi there, I have an 8 yr old, 5 yr old and 2 1/2 mo old...mine works 24 hour shifts, 24 on and 48 off, I love it! Although he is gone for 24 hours, he only works about 8-9 days a month, so he is home a lot to help!!! It seems hard at first, but honestly I wouldnt want him to work any other shift

Erica - posted on 05/20/2011

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I love the 24 hour shifts! My husband started about 3 months ago. Yes its sometimes tough when he's gone, but I really do get to see him more than any of our friends see their spouses. Plus I guess I'm a little use to it, my father was a firefighter as well and he worked 24s my whole life. From the kids point of view its actually much nicer than a dad that gets home at 7pm every night and never has time to do things with them during the day. There were definitely special things that my dad missed, but honestly for the most part I remember him always being around more often than any of my friends parents. 4 days out of the week he was home to make and eat breakfast with me, take me to and pick me up from school, help me with my homework, make dinner and have dinner with the whole family, and at least once a week he'd even come up to school and have lunch with me. There is a definite plus side to the 24 hour schedule!

Brittony - posted on 07/15/2010

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My husband works 24 hr shifts also with a 2 hr one way commute. At first I was really nervous about being home with our son (now 3 months old) by myself. I am very blessed, however, to have a mother who LOVES to watch her first grandson! Every time my husband goes to work, one out of every 4 days, I take my son to my mothers house for the most part of the day. I then take that time to do what I love...volunteer at my local ambulance squad! It gives me a chance to be more than just a mommy and it makes his long 24 hour shift go by much more quickly on my part...and that break from my house, husband, and son makes everything seem so much sweeter when we are all back together as a family the next morning :)

Jessica - posted on 01/21/2010

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My husband is a Toronto firefighter and also on the 24 hour shifts. My son Benjamin is 8 months old. I love the 24 hour schedule! He works 7 or 8 shifts a month. Most shifts he gets 2 days off in between but he also gets one 5 day break and a 7 day break a month. When he's gone the day can seem long so I just make sure I plan something to do and we usually call him in the evening.

Marie - posted on 01/17/2010

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I agree with Stefanie that it makes me a stronger mom. Since I stay at home with our 2 kids (almost 2 and 6 months), I get very few breaks. My husband is salaried for 106 hrs every two weeks, and he usually averages about 40 hours of overtime every pay period. So, he works WAY more hours than the typical 40 hour work week. I'm not going to lie, it is very hard some days. However, I remind myself that I am grateful that I am able to stay at home with my kids so that they have the consistency of one parent there all of the time, and I appreciate how hard my husband works for our family. I have found that if I do little things, like make sure I have the dishes done, or the toys picked up (even if it means staying up late when I'm exhausted) that my husband is much happier, even after a tough day of work. We have found that taking little mini-getaways helps out tremendously. We can't afford anything extravagant, but even driving to a larger town an hour away for a day of shopping and a nice meal out, gives us both the change of scenery we need and gives us a chance to focus on the family without housework or overtime bugging us! Has the city decided if they are going to go to 24 hr shifts?

Stefanie - posted on 01/17/2010

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My husband also works 24s, and sometimes 48 or 72 if he's on overtime. I have 3 kids (8,5,2). It does get hard sometimes, but I agree with the earlier comment about it being harder as they get older. Trying to keep all of the activities and carpooling straight is enough to make me crazy! However, it is so awesome when he is home for 4 days in a row!!! He can take the kids on field trips sometimes, and do things that other dads can't do. It has it's perks!!!! My husband started working 24 hours 6 weeks before we had our first baby. It was hard at first, but you get used to it. I am a stronger mom because of it.

Laurie - posted on 01/17/2010

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My husband works a 72 hour shift. Typically 3 on and 4 off. Except during fire season. From May thru October I can expect him to be gone anywhere from 4 days to up to 3 or 4 weeks at a time. Our kids are older now (14 and 22) but when they were younger it did get hard at times for him to be gone for such long periods of time. After awhile you adjust. It does help to have a good family/friends support structure. We get into a good routine and to be honest when he comes home it can be kinda disruptive in the beginning LOL. But it works for us. Being the wife of a Fire Fighter is not for everyone. If you are the insecure, clingy or dependant type of person this is not the life for you.

[deleted account]

I'm in Goodyear, AZ and my husband works 48 and is off for 96. It definately represents a challenge when trying to schedule events, vacations, or even just some child care so I can get a few things done. With a 3 year old and a 9 month old, free time is hard to find.

You'll get used to the 24 hour shift and you'll find that when he's not home you do get a lot more done.

Kassie - posted on 08/10/2009

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I have two kids also, 16months and 9 years old. My husband works 24 hours shifts, at first it was hard. But we get to go and see him at the station so it is not that bad. It just takes some getting use to. Do you have family close that can help you?

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2009

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I've got a 2 month old, a 2 year old, 4 y/o & 6 y/o. My husband works 48 hour shifts - sometimes 72. Every once in a while he'll even work a 96! I hate those! LOL But it's totally do-able. If you know going in to it that he won't be home until XX then it's easy to say "just 4 more hours til bedtime... just 3 more hours til bedtime..." and Hubby will be home in the morning! It takes some adjustment but you'll love it. The hardest is doing dinner/bedtime all on your own. But just think of all the time you'll have him home to help during the day when other moms are doing it all alone!

Brittainy - posted on 06/27/2009

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All of these posts have been very helpfull. Me and my fiancee get married in a couple of months, and I am pregnant with my first who will be born in December. I have been a little stressed when my Firefighter has to work 24H, and the OT kills me. I have found though that the best thing is to go visit him when he has a lot of OT. And I have made it a habit to every so often to to cook a big meal for him and his coworkers. They really appreciate that, and he likes to see me. Besides that we just try and make our days off together very special. But I have no clue how this is going to take place once the baby is born, so I think any more clues on how exactly to be organized would be helpful, and if this even see,s reasonable to have quality time together once the little on is born.

Jeri - posted on 06/03/2009

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What I love is having a friend whose husband is also a firefighter - we do a lot of co-parenting on the nights our husbands work. Our kids are roughly the same age(2 & 3)...they play while we have "woman to woman" time. Then we do baths together and get the kids in their pajamas. When you drive home they are ready for bed. It's great!

Kateri - posted on 05/28/2009

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Well, my husband works 24 hour shifts and I love them. Not sure how yours will look, but he is on 24 and off 2 days etc. When I went back to work full time, this limted the amount we have to spend on a sitter, and dad gets to spend great quality time with his boy

Ashley - posted on 05/09/2009

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My husband works 24 on/24 off (3 day sets) and then he gets 4 days off and it starts over again. Hes on a 9 day schedule here in Memphis and I love it. I get "me" time when hes at work and his 4 days are excelent for us to take mini vacations to visit family. When our twins get here towards the end of the summer things might change a bit, but overall I think its going to be wonderful. I think its going to give him more time to spend at home than a normal job would.

Candice - posted on 04/26/2009

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My husband is a US Forrest Service Firefighter and for years I have supported him while he leaves during the months of May thru October for places all over the nation. for three weeks at a time. When my kids where much younger (1-5) it was almost impossible sometimes. But the money is great and my husband loves what he does. I had to learn that no matter what went on a home, he needed to come home to a happy relaxing atmosphere.

Jennifer - posted on 04/06/2009

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My husband does the 24 hour shift thing and I work full time with a 2 year old. It works out fine; however, it is hard juggling vacations without him having to use leave all the time. My schedule never seems to fit into his "Kelly Days" or his five day breaks. They are currently voting to try a different schedule and most of them are for it.

Alicia - posted on 04/03/2009

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We're in Missouri, my husband does 24 on 48 off. My girls are 7 & 9, when he's home we try to do family things, family outings or family "dates" and once a month he and I do a "date" night. This really gives the girls and I time to bond, they miss their dad very much but they get perks too...maybe they get to stay up a little later (if I don't have to work the next day) or maybe the 3 of us curl up on the couch and watch tv. I also make sure if we are in town we stop by the firestation and if not we call him so he can tell them good night. We also arrange things around his schedule first such as if a birthday comes up and he's at the station we celebrate there at the station & include the other guys too, then when he's off he does a "special birthday date" w/ the birthday child which includes breakfast and shopping. They LOVE the one on one time they get with him. He does too.

Janet - posted on 03/28/2009

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We are in Southern California and my husband works 48's. It took time to get use to. I have a two year old and a three and half y/o. Some days it's rough!! He's got an OT right now so he's gone for three!!

Vanessa - posted on 03/27/2009

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The 24 hour shift is a lot easier then the 48 hour shift. When my daughter gets sad about her dad at work we usually take that time to color a picture for him or read Curious George goes to the fire station and it makes her happier. I find that when he is on duty I have to be more organized, but you will be greatful that it's only 24 hours!!!

Amanda - posted on 03/27/2009

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24 hour shifts are hard.  We have an 8, 7, and one month old.  It doesnt get any easier when your kids get older.  My husband works 24 hour shifts and I work 12 hours shifts.  We just try to do my schedule around his at the firehouse. 

Christy - posted on 03/25/2009

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I'm in California. My husband has always done 24's. We have a now 3-1/2 & 2 year old.  It's not easy in the newborn days, but they do pass.  There were nights I'd have to leave the newborn crying in the bouncy seat in the other room while I put the 20 month old to sleep. And I'm not a "cry-it-out" mom at all.  But sometimes in our situation, there's no choice.  Now things work fine. And I'm by no stretch of the imagination an "organized" one. LOL! By the way, we don't have any family around either.

Amy - posted on 03/25/2009

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Hi there!  I'm a Michigan mom with a husband who does the 24 hour thing.  It's tough at first, but you get used to it quickly.  We just go on with our lives.  If he's here he jumps in to the mix and if he's not we do what we want anyway.  Actually, sometimes the household runs a little smoother when he's at work because we have our own little way of doing things.  It's all very manageable if you are organized and confident.

Emilie - posted on 03/23/2009

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I agree with Marie.  Im new here but my hubby also works 24 on and 24 off and has 4 and 6 days off.  I work full time so it is a little tough some times due to my schedule.  But we save a ton in daycare, cause daddy takes over when he is home.  You really do get used to it.  Plus having a good support system is really a great idea too with family.  24s allow daddy to spend double the amount of time that most fathers that work normal shifts dont get.

Jamie - posted on 02/15/2009

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i love 24 hour shifts. they go by sooooo fast and you end up wishing they made 48 hour shifts. you'll be fine taking care of the kids!

Jamie - posted on 02/15/2009

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i love 24 hour shifts. they go by sooooo fast and you end up wishing they made 48 hour shifts. you'll be fine taking care of the kids!

Marie - posted on 02/06/2009

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My husband has been working 24 hr shifts since before we were married. He works 24 hrs every other day for a stretch of 4 work days, then has 4 days off, then does another stretch of 4 work days (every other day) and then has 6 days off. When he is at work, it can be really tough. We have a daughter that just turned a year old this week and our second child is due mid July. Personally, I'm nervous about how things will be for me when our second child is born. However, I think that the 24 hour shifts are totally worth it, because the next day he is home for 24 hours, and the 4 and 6 day are awesome.  He also works a lot of overtime, but we just take everday as it comes, and really focus on the family time that we do have. We have had to set some "rules" because his job can overtake our lives at times. For example, if we are doing something special as a family or even as a couple (date night), he turns down overtime. It has been a big adjustment for both of us, but we have the common understanding that family comes first, no matter what, and if we feel any strain from his job we work on it immediatly. Also, I spend a lot of time with my parents and his parents, which helps a lot- it's really helpful to surround yourself with a good support network.

Ona - posted on 02/02/2009

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My husband works a 48/96. It's all we have ever known. I do admit it is hard when he is gone, but you adjust.  I think that it has made us a stronger family, and it has made us really appreciate the time when we are together. I do take the kids to see my husband when they ask which is always nice. I hope it works out for you and your family!

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My husband has been doing 24 hour shifts for 100 years now and at first it was tough, because I was use to him being there every night, but once we both got use to it, I realized that 24 hours every third day was a nice break for the both of us.  We both enjoy that time away for that short amount of time.  We are together alot, still so the break is almost needed.  It's a perfect balance.  My kids never knew any different  as they were born after he became a firefighter.  I'm a very OCD and have to have it my way kinda woman anyway, so as far as the work load it's not too bad for me because I have a certain way of doing things.  As a matter of fact I always tell him that he slows me down when he's home. :0P.  My kids are 4 and 7 so they help me out anyway.

Karen - posted on 02/01/2009

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Hello.  My DH has worked 24s for 10 yrs now (Chicago suburbs).  We have a 4 yr old and an 8 wk old.  24s have never bothered me.  Before the kids I really loved them.  Lots of relaxation time.  With just the 4 yr old they were fine.  We had plenty of time together but on his off days he would take her places with him for daddy time.  With the baby it can be tough but you learn to adjust.  He has still be taking the older one on errands with him which has given me plenty of quiet time.  Tomorrow he is taking her for the entire day.  Lunch and the Lego Store.  If you aren't used to them they just take some getting used to.

Kathy Jo - posted on 01/28/2009

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I have 4 kids (10/8/4/2). The last 2 are 18 months apart and that was really hard when my hubby was gone on 24hr shifts. Apart from having 2 in sports now, I mostly enjoy the 24hr shifts. I can do things my way, when I want and if I want when he is gone :)

I tend to get more done!

Ruth - posted on 01/26/2009

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My husband works 24 hour shifts and we love it. Our girls are 13 and 9 now, but he was hired by the fire department and working those shifts before the youngest was born. Some days were really tough, especially when I work full time. But it works out that he is only on duty 10 days a month. He helps with the kids so much when he's home. As long as you get that help from him when he's home I think you'll get used to the shifts pretty quickly. You have to remember that when you're home alone with the kids you're pulling a 24 hour shift also, so don't feel guilty about getting a much needed break.

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My husband works 24 hour shifts.  It's tough at first, but you learn to get use to it.  Actually we feel it's  perfect balance for us.  It give us 24 hours away from each other and makes the times we are together that much more special.  We have a 4 and 6 year old.  When they were little it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Actually I'm so OCD and keep such a schedule that when my husband is home it slows my system down. ha!!

Amber - posted on 01/09/2009

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Well, I only see my husband every third day because he's working 48s.  Sometimes I hate it because it's hard to schedule things (especially my midwife appointments, and he wants to be at ALL of them).  Other than that, it's not so bad.  You'll find a way to make it work, just like we did.  It took us a couple of months to get in the groove, but once we found ours, it was fine.  Don't expect it to be easy at first - it will take a couple of months to settle in!

Nayla - posted on 01/08/2009

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My Dh started working 8 months ago and i was really excited about the schedule from day one. it was kind of tuff from the beggining ,especially for daddy's little girl,but after a few weeks she got used to it.She now knows when he's not going to be back at night and wakes up excited to know when daddy is going to be back in the morning.It works out great and we couldn't be happier.I just hope that everything remains good when is my turn to become a firefighter mom.i plan to have a different shift than him so we can spend time with her without leaving her alone,although,i won'tget to see him until every third day i think we got it in us to pull through it.any opinions?

Patti - posted on 01/05/2009

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My husband works them now. They have been doing it now for about 5 years or longer. I have only one child right now. Its not so bad because they only work like 2 days a week. Does he have another job as well.

Kim - posted on 01/04/2009

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I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old (born since DH has been a FF). We love the 24 hours schedule. He gets to spend more time with the kids and they love it. I wouldn't change it a bit. He loves being involved in their daytime (school) activities. You do have to be a little more organized (and know his schedule better than him) to be able to plan ahead! The nights he works are harder but the days off are worth it for sure!

Heather - posted on 01/03/2009

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My husband works 24hrs on and has 48hrs off. When he first started I had a really tough time with his not being home but we have adjusted and it is really nice having him home for 2 days at a time now. It is never easy for us to have them gone, but its just an adjustment you make. You can do it? ;)

Jennifer - posted on 01/03/2009

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Hi, I just joined. My husband has always been 24 hr shifts. He gets a 3 days off in a row every two weeks and 5 days every 2 and a half months. We have a 4 year old son together and he has a 13 year old daughter and a 17 year daughter from two different previuos marriages. The two girls were previously living with us, but have recently moved out. Its hard enough to deal with your own child and the issues of daddy being gone all day every other day let alone trying to deal with two who are teenagers and arent yours and lie about what goes on when dad isnt home. Don't get me wrong, i love his girls with all of my heart but they made things hard for me and still do. Our son wakes up wanting dad, but his sadness only last a short time. My husband spends time with him when he is home and is a good father.

Shauntae - posted on 12/09/2008

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My husband does a lot of 24s here in NYC and overtime. I have a 14 month old (who is a handful) and 31/2 year old. We purchased cell phones with video recorders on them. When my 3 year old misses his dad I let him record a little msg about his day at school or just an "i miss you dad" and send it to him and when my husband gets time he sends one back. that has helped us out tremendously. We also do a lot of the things Megan posted like taking him by the house or picking him up from work at the end of the shift.

Julia - posted on 11/20/2008

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Hi, I have a nine month old son and my husband works 24 hour shifts. He has been working those shifts for the past five years and I am still not used to having his side of the bed empty 1/3 of the time. I would just urge your husband not to take a second job (which is really tempting) just because it is not easy to quit once you get used to the extra $$. I really do love his schedule when he isn't working his second job because he is available to keep my son while I'm at work during the day (I'm a teacher). It is also really nice because he only works 10-12 days per month at the firehouse which means he can take off for an entire month for vacation over the summer when I am off. There are great things and not so great things about this schedule in my opinion. Hope this is not too confusing!!

Heather - posted on 11/18/2008

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Hi there! I have a 8, 6, and 3 year old and my husband works 24 on 48 off,as of the begining of this year, and also works for the ambulance service here on one of his days off . Before that he had long and short weeks flip flopped back and forth. On his long weeks he worked sun, mon, wed, fri, and sat, but on his short weeks it was only tues and thurs which we all loved those weeks. The hardest time was when my daughter was first born she was very colicy and was a daddy's girl from day one. The thing we found that worked the best was we would go there at dinner time and eat together, and he would call at bedtime to tell them all good night. Now that he has gone back to the his EMT job also it is now my 6 year old acting out. We still do the bedtime calls and try to eat dinner together as much as possible but it is harder. Also one thing we do is if one of the kids get upset and wants to talk to dad we call or try and go up there and see him. Don't get me wrong I love the shifts but it can be hard on the kids, and honestly it is all trial and error. You have to figure out what works best for you and the family.

Noell - posted on 11/18/2008

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Avril,
DH is internet talk for "husband" (it actually stand for "dear husband").

Monica - posted on 11/18/2008

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My baby isn't born yet, but my DH has been on 24 on/48 shifts since March and although it took a little gettin gused to, I love it. I get so much more housework done and some "me" time when he's at the station. When the baby gets hear, I imagine it'll be nice to have DH away for those 24 hours so that I have my own special time with the baby. Think about it - if DH is gone for 24 hours at a time, when he gets home, he's going to want to kick you out of baby's life and spend some quality time. That's when you can nap or go pamper yourself for a few hours. At least that's in my perfect world. We'll see what happens in 4 months. LOL Good Luck!

Noell - posted on 11/17/2008

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Megan,
That's what I try to do if he's gone for more than his normal shift. She really enjoys going to the firestation! When we leave, however, she gets really sad and then ends up waking up sad again the next morning. Breaks my heart!

Megan - posted on 11/17/2008

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Noell,

There was some but not a lot of acting out. I'ld take them by the station if he worked more than one shift so they could see him. Is that an option? I know it did help reassure them that dad was okay. Mostly, I tried to do things with them or go places with my sister or mom.

Noell - posted on 11/17/2008

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I'm from Colorado. It's normally 24-hr. shifts here though. If my husband works more than that it's because he's either working overtime and/or a trade.

Megan, did you ever have a problem with your kids acting out when they were toddlers because of your DH's schedule? I'm finding that the days that DH is working my daughter acts out a lot and every morning she wakes up hysterically crying. I was just wondering if it's the unpredictability of whether he'll be home or not (esp. since he's been doing lots of trades and working overtime).

Megan - posted on 11/17/2008

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We have 24 hr. shifts here and once you adjust it's kind of nice. I can get alot more done the days he's at work and it's a "surprise" when he gets home. My kids are 8,6,4 and it was alittle hard when they were little but I"m finding it more difficult now. I have to be super organized when I schedule their activities and I try to work on carpools with the other parents.

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