Who Works the Night Shift?
Surviving the Night
Talk About It

Dorothy Stevens says she's made the tough decision to work nights so she can be around in the daytime to care for her children.

Dorothy works at Streamline.com, an Online grocery store that delivers food and goods to people's homes. She shops and packages food for families who place their orders on the Internet.

Dorothy has two school-age children, and her husband holds two jobs. As Dorothy's "day" ends, her family's just begins.

Here's what Dorothy told Livelyhood about why she works nights:

Why have you made such a great personal sacrifice working nights?

Dorothy: I just decided to raise my own kids because day care is so expensive and I couldn't afford it. I decided to do it myself and keep my money.

I just like raising my own kids. I mean, I can teach them better than anyone else can.

I like to be there for them in the daytime, for school, and when they come home. Working third shift allows me to be right there for my children when the school calls. Doctor's appointment, I can go, take them to the doctor. And I'm always home when my son comes through the door and he wants a hot chocolate or something.

I'm right there and they don't have to wait until later. A lot of jobs, you can't go. You can't take off when a doctor says you have to stay home for two days.

When do you see your children?

Dorothy: Well, I see my kids in the morning at 7 a.m. My [older] son goes to school 5 minutes to 8 a.m. I see my son again at 3 p.m. 'till 4 p.m., and then I see him again at 6 p.m. I don't see him any more 'till the next morning.

What about the other child?

Dorothy: The baby? My baby goes to kindergarten at quarter to 1. I pick him up at quarter to 4, and I see him at the same time again at 6 p.m.

Are you always going to work the night shift?

Dorothy: I know when my baby gets into first grade I can switch to days because then he and my other son will go together and I won't have to work third shift. He'll be able to go to school all day and I'll be able to go days if I choose.

How do you keep your marriage healthy?

Dorothy: Not seeing my husband. (Dorothy laughs.)

My husband and I, basically we work together in everything. And he understands that I have to do this, so it usually just works. I can't explain it; it just works.

What is the hardest thing for your family?

Dorothy: Not being at home at night.

At least you have weekends off, right?

Dorothy: Friday nights--I usually sleep all day Friday and Friday night. But then, at 2:00 a.m. on Friday, I'm up because that's my lunch break. I'm up to have lunch, and everybody's sleeping, and I want to clean the house, but I can't because I'll wake them up. It's crazy.

How do you have a social life when you work at night?

Dorothy: Ah, my social life is on the weekends.

What kinds of things do you do on the weekends?

Dorothy: On the weekends, I take my kids to band rehearsal at church. On Saturday night I go to church and on Sunday I go to church. That's my social life.

How does your work schedule help or hinder you from raising children? How do you balance childcare and work?
Share your opinions and advice and ask questions of others.

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