Juggling Schedules With Two Working Parents

Aside from our current issues with cancer and medications and such (which I’m sick to death of talking about), we’ve had a very challenging time with getting into a routine for taking Jack to school and commuting to work. I’ve spent a lot of time (while sitting in traffic) wondering how in the world other two-earner households manage it, particularly when living in a big metropolitan area.

Currently, I have some flexibility on my work hours but in general I work 9-5. David works 9-6 and his hours are NOT flexible.

Our plan was to have David take Jack to school in the mornings (school starts at 8:10) and get to work by 9. Jack attends an after-school program that is open until 6:15, so I had planned to work 8:30-4:30 so that I could pick him up in plenty of time before the end of the after school program.

Unfortunately, traffic here has completely exploded lately. Our commutes, which used to take about 45 minutes each way, have expanded. Today it took me TWO HOURS to get into the office. When combined with delays in getting out of the house due to medication administration issues, mornings have been filled with stress. We’ve both been late to work several times now. I left work at 4:30 yesterday and got to Jack’s school at 6; he was the last kid left waiting to be picked up. And then that leaves us with two hours to get home, get Jack’s dinner prepared and eaten, administer his medications (two of which have to be taken an hour after dinner), get him bathed (if there’s time), and get him to bed.

We’ve been failing at bedtime, that’s for sure. We’re lucky if he’s asleep by 9:30.

How in the world do others in this area make their schedules work with their kids? Surely not every household has a stay-at-home-parent or family member! Do the rest of them have nannies? Not that we could afford that… And I wish part time work was an option! We can’t afford that, either, even if I could find an employer to pay me the hourly rate I’m getting now for being there only half the time.

It’s all kind of ironic because I’m an executive assistant by trade. I manage schedules and make impossible meetings happen all the time! I can’t seem to do it for my family, though. I can’t think of a solution.

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Comments

  1. This is like a very complicated math problem that makes you want to flip ahead to the answer section. I honestly don’t know how families with both parents working make the school thing happen.

    Could you do 7:30 to 3:30? I know that extra hour earlier in the morning would suck…but I wonder if there might be enough of a difference in the amount of traffic in that hour that you might not have to leave too much earlier than you are now? It would probably mean you couldn’t help as much with administering medication in the morning, but being able to get you and Jack home a little earlier in the afternoon/evening might make a difference (especially in his bedtime).

    • It is. And when I’m stressed I can’t do math to save my life so it makes it seem even less solvable!

      It’s possible I can negotiate to leave work at 3:30 but it’s tough since I’m an assistant – hard to predict when I’ll be needed for a random task. I’m definitely going to talk to my boss about the situation, though. It’d be nice to have a little extra time in the evenings to do chores around the house and spend time with my husband!

      • I can see how leaving early every day might be tough. Especially if your boss has a meeting or project he needs you to be there for (and of course some of those things can’t be anticipated – I’ve been an administrative assistant before, so I totally understand). But even if it was just a few days a week? Maybe that would help the stress levels a bit.

  2. I have no answers, only love and hugs and hopes that you do find the answer.

  3. I have no answers for you. This is something I struggle with. Unfortunately, our solution has been for me to NOT work, or to work really random hours. This makes us tight, financially. I hope you guys can figure something out, because that kind of stress sucks. And, honestly? You deserve a bit of stress relief.

  4. Oh, gosh! Sorry! I just thought of something. A friend of mine helps out a nanny training school. Basically, she gets nannies in training to work for free, sort of like a practicum. The nanny has to prove(demonstrate) that he/she can cook, clean, iron, take care of the kid. She says it’s been a lifesaver for her. Maybe there’s a similar program in your area?

  5. You might try working in an administrative assistant capacity at a school down the road. I’m an elementary school principal. Both of my admin assistants work hours which dovetail with their kids’ school schedules. They also have the same vacations, days of, etc. as their kids.

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