Our New Normal

Christopher iPad

Jim started a new job at the beginning of December. He’d been working from home for almost three years, starting right before Christopher went to kindergarten, and it was so wonderful. He was able to get Christopher on and off the bus while I kept working a normal schedule (8 AM – 4:30 PM roughly). And his schedule was flexible enough that if I had evening plans (book club! girls night!), I didn’t have to worry about what was going to happen with Christopher. Jim was just always there.

Well, now he’s not. There are many perks of the new job work-wise and socially for Jim, but it has thrown a wrench in our routine. I really didn’t want to pay for before or after school care because we ‘d need it for such a short time (and because the school program is full), so we decided to alternate our work schedules to make it work.

Our Current Morning Schedule

I work 7 AM – 3 PM, which means I get up now at 6 AM and get ready crazy fast. Jim is usually still sleeping, so this means moving around and showering as quietly as possible. And picking out my clothes in the dark. I getting pretty good at recognizing clothes by feel. (But honestly, it sucks.)

I make Christopher’s lunch along with my own, and I try to eat a quick breakfast or pack something to have at work, so I can get there on time. This was a lot easier when I was drinking Isagenix shakes, but sadly they discontinued my favorite flavor. Sometimes if Christopher is already awake and downstairs, I’ll make him a quick breakfast as well.

Jim then works 8:30 AM – 5 PM, so he gets Christopher on the bus in the morning and then drives straight to work. Usually they wait for the bus in Jim’s car at the entrance to our court, so he can drive off right away after the bus comes.

The Afternoon Schedule

Leaving work at 3 PM allows me a little bit of cushion. Sometimes I don’t quite leave on time. Other days I run a quick errand on the way home – most often a visit to the library. Sometimes there is just traffic. Or snow. The bus drops Christopher off at 3:55 PM, and my commute is only 30 minutes, so I’m usually home first, but I’ve briefed him on the rules just in case he gets home first. So far it hasn’t happened, and he’s pretty bummed about that. Haha.

I allow Christopher 30 minutes of down time after school. He usually watches Netflix or plays on his iPad. And then at 4:30 PM we do homework and practice drums. Well, at least we do on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Tuesdays he has baseball practice at 5 PM, so we skip homework on Tuesdays. And then on Fridays we don’t do homework since it’s the weekend.

I allow him to pick the order. He has to read independently, practice spelling, study math facts (addition and subtraction 0-20), and practice the drums. He almost always chooses to practice the drums first. Then we do spelling and math, and then he finally gives in and does his reading. It kills me that my son hates reading.

After homework and drums, it’s kind of a free for all. Many nights I’m making dinner. Sometimes I start while Christopher is doing homework. Some days we watch a movie together or do something else.

And then when Jim gets home, we eat dinner together. Or at least we try to every day but Tuesdays (baseball) and Thursdays (drum lessons).

So far it’s going OK. I kind of hate it. But it’s OK. Ya know?

How does your family handle the before and after school shuffle?

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