Caleb and I have always worked opposite shifts since the day I met him. You can read more about it here and here. In fact, beyond him being at my school on his days off, our first date was a phone date while he was on break. It isn’t easy dating (or being married to) someone who is gone every time you’re free. Or vice versa. His schedule is hard on both of us. I know we aren’t alone in this.
He misses everything while working. Family parties, trips to the pool, church, some holidays. If it happens on Friday, Saturday or Sunday consider his rsvp a big ole sad no. He’s working, we’re playing. Or I say no because it’s hard being places sometimes without him. It can be lonely, but it can also be filled with guilt. Unless he has vacation time, which is pretty much accounted for by January. So…..it sucks.
In the early days, we made it work great! Late night Friday dates to Denny’s at 3am? Sure! Lunch dates in the middle of the week? Perfect. Bringing lunch to his work on break? Yep tons. Caleb was home for the big kids (Harvey wasn’t born at this time) to help with appointments, getting on and off the bus, and pretty much managing Monday through Thursday. Plus our parenting time is Monday -Thursday or Friday depending on the week (meaning his schedule was set for his kids before we met). Also, we had the summer time together. I didn’t work and he was off 4 days a week! Talk about awesome.
But that got exhausting. We’re old. 3am dates? I’d rather be sleeping. Our kids got busy weekday nights – so less family time. So we needed a new plan. Cue my job. After I left my brick and mortar school, I was offered a job working from home. We felt like it was the perfect path for us. Online teaching sounded perfect and I could be home more with Caleb on his days off. And I could now lessen his house work duties and be home for the kids more. Win win win!
This worked great!…. for a year. Then Harv was born. He never slept, I was home alone with him and Jack pretty much all weekend but portions of the night (when Caleb needed to be sleeping for work), Jack changed schools putting us on different schedules than Carson and Ava, sports and activities took over our week nights and well, I lost it. I wanted and needed my family, particularly Caleb, back.
So we needed to change something. We can’t change our parenting time. We promised choosing to have Harvey wouldn’t negatively impact the big kids so activities were to stay. My job was already as flexible as possible without changing my pay scale, which we aren’t ready for. That all meant, looking into changing Caleb’s job. So that weekend he applied for a night shift (we’re talking 10pm-6am) Sunday evening to Friday morning. He can’t get on days, not enough seniority and we knew second shift would be a complete disaster. Yes, he’d be able to sleep with us all night, but he’d miss 100% of everything from the minute the kids got off the bus till the moment they went to bed. Plus I wanted him to be more present in the family – not less. So full night shift was the solution, or so we thought.
As we waited to hear about the job, we both started realizing that what we have has its downsides. Lots and they can be really trying on us, but his boss, company and insurance are super awesome. And the hours are probably what’s best for right now. We don’t have to do daycare, he only drives 3 days a week not 5, no traffic, I could go on. Which means it’ll be hard for a while but we are also doing the best we can for our kids and for our marriage. Bonus! That man of mine would do anything for me, each other, and the kids. That’s a pretty solid feeling.
The point? Life has its trials and tribulations but having the right person to walk through them with will make it worthwhile. Not always easier, but always worth it.
Pssst! Want to hear the exact opposite feelings? Check out this post from a mom that works the crap shift.