Two years ago I wrote a series of articles on tag-team parenting. These articles explained the pitfalls and benefits for families who decide to work opposite shifts so that one parent is always home with kids. Our family has been doing tag-team parenting for almost 3 years now and I want to give you a realistic look at how things really work.
Weekly Schedule of a Tag-Team Family
My husband travels during the week and is home on the weekends. I work 12 hour shifts every Saturday and Sunday.
During the week we get up at 6:15am eat breakfast and the kids are on the bus by 6:55. I do the laundry, cleaning, some freelance writing, volunteer work at the school, and all the shopping. When the kids get home at 2:45 they grab a snack and start homework.
The evenings consist of extracurricular activities. I limit them to two and right now they are taekwondo and Cub Scouts. We normally have meetings, practice, or appointments at least three nights per week. The kids go to bed around 7:30 since they get up so early.
On the weekends my husband takes them to Cub Scout functions, taekwondo tournaments, and sometimes they visit family. He’s also in charge of transporting them to and from birthday parties. He takes them to church every Sunday and that’s their day together to do whatever else they want.
Family Time Together
Friday nights are our big night to spend time as a family. We also get every other Saturday together because I work nights on alternate weekends. It may only be once a week but I definitely appreciate it more than I ever did.
What Doesn’t Get Done
A lot around the house doesn’t get done. There are many things around the house that need two people to do. Right now our pool needs to be covered and winterized. It’s almost two weeks overdue so that is our big plan for Friday evening.
Date nights also rarely happen. Since we really only have Friday nights together we’d rather spend them as a family instead of getting a babysitter and going out alone. We’ve been separated on our past three wedding anniversaries, including yesterday, which was our 14th anniversary.
The Psychological Effect of Tag-Team Parenting
The parents: We both miss a lot but we also get to be at a lot of functions. I’m able to help out at the school during the week and my husband is able to go to special events on the weekends. Our minds may get stressed sometimes but it has always been temporary meltdowns. Juggling schedules becomes a sport in itself.
The kids: I had to ask them how they felt because kids are flexible and can go along with almost any schedule. They are always excited when dad gets to take them somewhere but they also have standard questions every week. They ask what night dad is going to be home and every Friday they ask if I’m nights or days. Overall, they are fine with always having one of us there for them.
Many families decide to work opposite shifts to keep the family going while not having to worry about daycare or babysitters. Tag-team parenting is a good but a temporary solution. It is working for us right now but I know that neither one of us wants to be doing this 20 years from now.
Other resources for tag-team parents:
What is Tag-Team Parenting?
Organization is the Key to Tag-Team Parenting
Save Money with Tag-Team Parenting
Marital Stress in Tag-Team Parenting
Parental Agreements in Tag-Team Parenting