Most of the time, the fire schedule (24 on/48 off) works great for our family. It allows both Peter and I to work without outside childcare and it allows us both, for the most part, to attend the kid's day-time events. However, the irregularity of it does kind of throw a monkey wrench in things. For instance, if I wanted to take an evening yoga class that is offered every Tuesday night. With Peter's schedule, he would be predictably working every third class, more if there is overtime. Which means that I would need a babysitter for every third class. You add up $12 per class (outrageous, I know) and add in a $25 babysitter, bringing the total up to almost $40 for me to do yoga for an hour. Not really worth it.
Same thing with childcare. Early on, when I started looking for care, everything was done by day of the week but for us, we needed childcare every third day if I was going to go back to work. No one does this and it seemed silly to pay for child care M/W/F when odds were that Peter would be home 1 or 2 of those days every week. This ended up being a big factor in me deciding not to go back to work full time or even really part time after we had kids. I'm guessing a lot of fire spouses end up staying home with the kids for that very reason - childcare is not available on a shift schedule. (I also have not regretted staying home with the kiddos, it's been one of the greatest decisions we ever made)
For all these reasons, there have begun to be two magic words that I search for when looking for classes and activities - "Drop-In". How about a yoga class that is Monday AND Thursday night every week and you buy drop in tickets to attend whichever one you want? SOLD. How about summer care, at the elementary school the kids go to, that is drop in? SOLD. SOLD. SOLD.
This morning, as Peter starts his 3rd 48 of the week I was faced with taking 2 children to the vet with me. Not impossible, but also not ideal. Enter drop in summer camp. I took Miss E to the school, dropped her off and then I only had 1 kid to contend with at the vets. AND THEY HAD BOUNCE HOUSES. (picture Miss E screaming that). Seriously. Cue the angel choir. I have to go to work and Peter is on an OT shift? Drop in summer camp. Sweeter words have never been heard. Mr. T can go too and will probably start when we get back next week.
I really like hanging out with the kids in the summer and we don’t NEED everyday care, nor would I want them to be gone everyday but it is nice to have a little relief, a little back up, forthose days when I am stuck with something that has to get done and 2 little kids to tow along with me.
(Picture is of Mr. T at the vet and my STILL banged-up toe from Spain. Also, Happy Birthday to my dear husband!)