I remember there being a time in my career where I would have never considered working a split shift; only focusing on how long a day it would be. It has now been a year of working a split shift and I wouldn’t change it.
Before applying for the role I currently have, I evaluated how a split shift would work for my family and myself. I started by considering the driving. At that time, I would have to drive 30 or 45 minutes each way. By working for a School Age Program in my community, the drive would only be 10 minutes each way. This was the first plus – cutting significant driving time off of my day. This was a draw for me, and now I spend 40 minutes less in the car each day.
I have a five-year-old, so my next focus had to be on her amount of time in care. I had to think about how being in care from 7 am to 6 pm would affect her. This made me reflect on how long she already was in care. Looking at my day, if I worked 8 am to 5 pm and my drive was 30 or 45 minutes each way, she was already in care from 7:00 am to 5:30 or 6:00 pm. So the split shift didn’t actually affect her amount of time in care, as I always thought.
Based just on those two reasons meeting my family’s needs, I started my new role with a split shift. Since then I have discovered even better kept secrets…
I am able to arrange doctors’ appointments, and volunteer in my daughter’s class without having to take time off or use vacation time. This allows for more freedom and control over my own schedule. The biggest piece is time I can access without losing time with my daughter. I am able to go to the gym during the day (which is when I have energy), or take a relaxing bath to refresh midday before my after-school care shift starts. I have found this schedule to provide a balance in my life and it has been a huge benefit to my mental health, giving me the down-time to process and deal with life.
Although it took some adjustment, I now I love it and find full day shifts hard, without that midday break.~ Crystal Rye RECE, Site Supervisor Compass ELC Woodville