At the Twin Cities meet-up, Amy was wondering about scheduling. She's a SAH/WAHM who does freelancing, and her husband is a teacher. He's off for the summer, so they're both picking up extra work.
They went into it thinking it was going to be awesome–he spends time with the kids while she works, then she spends time with the kids while he works, they each get 20 hours of work done a week, it's more relaxed, the kids have so much parent time, etc. Then the first week was a disaster. Not an emotional disaster, just in terms of trying to actually get the work done. So there were good results there to modify the plan.
Amy also came up with some things she hadn't thought so much about but now realized were important, one of which was that she and her husband wanted only to work during the actual work day (for them that's 8-5).
So we were all talking through it (those of us here have a huge gamut of work schedule experience) and this is what we came up with:
1. Plan the week's work schedule in advance–who's working when. If possible, assign shifts: 8-noon, and 1-5. Vary shifts so no one gets stuck with the non-nap shift or the nap shift all the time.
2. Schedule non-work (meaning non-paid-work AND non-childcare) events the same way you do during the year, meaning use a babysitter if you need to go to the doctor or do some other errand you can't take the kids along for.
3. Keep clear in your mind that being in charge of kids is a job, and you can't double-book with your paid work. So don't even be tempted to do it, as it will only lead to confusion.
4. This kind of split schedule with a partner isn't going to work if you or your partner are averse to scheduling and sticking to a schedule when temptation is there.
I know there have to be couples out there who do fit their work around each other like this, whether they freelance, own their own businesses, are academics, etc. What do you think? Have you come up with good solutions?