Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tales of woe from a shift-workers wife


It's not easy being a shift-worker.  It's not easy being a shift-workers wife either.  I think it's even more difficult being a shift-workers wife with 2 kids and your own job!
Let me give you a little brief on my life as a shift-workers wife with kids and her own job:
Hubs works shift work.  His place of employment is open 24/7 and never shuts down - not even on Christmas Day!
The shifts are:
Days: 6:30am-2:30pm
Afternoons: 2:30pm-10:30pm
Nights: 10:30pm-6:30am
His work is usually pretty good in the sense that they will typically put him on the same shift for a week straight.  Well - that's not true - it's usually 6 days straight.  Sometimes he will get dropped off and have a random day off and then pick up another set of shifts.
The kicker is this - he doesn't find out what he's working the next day until the current day at 2:30 when he calls his roster!
Crazy huh???!!!
So that makes life a tad difficult because I can never 100% say that he will be around.  Of course he can "scratch" shifts and make himself un-available, but you're only permitted to do that so many times per month.  So you try and "save" those for special occasions or things you really need them for. 
- When hubs is on days he leaves early so he's not around in the morning to assist me with the chaos that is getting the kids dressed, lunches packed, brekky etc.
- When Hubs works afternoons he is not around in the evening to assist with the chaos that is getting the kids from after-school care, daycare, dinner prepared, fed, bathed, readers read, and into bed.
- When hubs works nights he's typically home and asleep before the kids and I get up, so again i'm on my own in the mornings.  The worst part about nights is if I am home for the day with the kids like on the weekends etc and trying to keep them quiet enough that he can get a decent sleep.
I really do feel for him having to switch his body clock around all the time.  I can't imagine being up all night working and sleeping during the day.  That would be so difficult.  But it's just as difficult being the wife with a job herself and 2 kids with the husband that works shift-work.
I have all the respect in the world for how hard he works to bring home the bacon, but it's hard for me too. 
I am SO lucky to have the amazing and wonderful job I have where I get to work 3 days per week 9-4:30 AND it's within walking distance to home.  They are SO good to me and SO flexible if I have to be away due to one of the girls being sick etc.  I think having the best job in the world is my saving grace. 
Theres my tale of woe from the shift-workers wife. 
Rant over.
If you have a shift-worker hubby, and have any managing tips please let me know!


Maria said...

My husband is Army. I am the one stuck working shift work because just his income alone doesn't cut it. We can scrape by on just his, but that means no fun money, whatsoever. I would love to be able to start my Etsy shop and be able to bring enough in to be comparable to my minimum wage job, but its tough! We're already busting out the seams in our 3bedroom rental home...and just found out baby #2 is on the way. I regret ever saying I wanted to return to work!!

Lena @ Mom2MemphisAndRuby said...

I'm right there with you!
It's better now, but the hubs has always had a 'shift work' type job. With 2 little kids and full-time job, it wasn't (isn't) easy... but the best advice is to have a routine, and be as consistent and prepared as possible. Take a few minutes to make a list of stuff you need to do, pick up, errands to run... BUT I'm sure I don't have to tell you that! ;) Chin up, and keep up the good work! Feel free to vent ANYTIME! Hugs, L. :)

Amy said...

Wow! I can't even imagine how crazy that must be to never know in advance when he's working. I admire your ability to stay sane. :)

Kate said...

Oh girl, I feel ya. Except the other way around. I am a nurse and I work nights (always 7pm to 7am) I work Fri, Sat, and Sun so those days, I am either working or sleeping. I feel so disconnected from my family those days. But I am blessed to be able to stay home all week with my girl. So you give a little, and take a little. Until we win the lottery, I guess we have to find ways to cope :) I have learned that if I dwell on how hard it is and how sleep deprived I am and how much I am missing out on, I become more negative. If I focus on the positive, I feel more positive. And I just wrote a novel :)

Danielle said...

I totally feel your pain! My boyfriend is a police officer and he works 10pm-6am Friday-Monday. I work 9-5 M-F so we never get full days together. When he is off work, his sleep schedule is opposite mine. It's terrible! I can't even imagine how it would be with kids like you have an to worry about the shift changing! Hang in there, hopefully this is just for a season! xo

Lisa @ MMT said...

I feel for ya! My husband was working a crazy schedule too. He use to work 13 hr shifts 3-4 days a week and every 7 weeks it switched from days to nights. For a month he was even working 6 days a week. It was crazy! Thankfully, we were able to quit that job and get one that suited our family better. We were lucky to do so..
Just remember you are doing the best you can with dealing with it. Looks like you have a healthy, happy family. You must be doing something right :)

Kate Sparkles said...

Oh I feel your pain. It drives me crazy and I don;t even have any kids (yet). But it's hard when the two of us are on very different schedules, when I come home and spend all night by myself until het gets in at midnight, wide awake and cranky I wont play! He's a good worker and I'm proud of him but I dream of a time when we'll both work 9-5

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

I feel for you! My partner just did a 4 month practicum which included shift work and he wasn't getting paid (in fact, he paid about $3000 to be there). But it was definitely a bummer when he would leave before we even got up or worked in the evenings. It definitely made me appreciate the time we have with him normally! I can't imagine wrangling two kids with shift work happening all of the time. The things that I found most difficult were motivating myself to make good meals for just me and the little guy (he'd rather have macaroni or chicken fingers anyways) and getting housework and things done when he wanted my undivided attention every second. What is your husband's job?

Megs said...

that is crazy!! you are amazing for being able to handle that and take care of your two girls on your own most of the time. I have all the respect in the world for women like you!!

D.D. said...

Hi. Thanks for stopping by. I am your newest follower. I look forward to reading more. Have a great night.

Munchie's Mama said...

Oh my gosh! That would be so rough. I need to count my blessings that Lennie has the schedule that he does. The days where he works late or is gone for business I almost loose my mind. I couldn't imagine doing it everyday. You are lucky to have a man that will do whatever it takes to provide for his family and you are setting such a great example as a mom who can do it all for your girls. You are amazing Nicole! xoxo!

Charis's Mum said...

I don't know how it feels for the spouse, but it's not fun for me. I'm a nurse and worked full time nights up to my daughter's birth. Not fun. I here a lot of news about the perils of night shift work-increased chances of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.

It is horrible that your husband does not know when he's working. I'm glad I know my schedule 3-7 weeks in advance.

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