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Night Shift Blues

Keith started working nights in June. He now leaves for work at 7:30 pm and comes home some time in the morning, usually (*hopefully*) before we wake up. It doesn’t always work that way…this week at least once he got called at 6:30 pm not to come in until 10:30, and then he didn’t get home until after 10:00 am.

For the most part, this has been a positive change, especially for him. He is eating better, he is spending more time with Little Man, he is working less hours for more money, and the night work is easier, physically, than the day work (he is a truck driver, by the way).

For the most part, this has been a positive change for our family. We eat dinner together five or six nights a week. We get to spend time together in the mornings. Little Man gets to see his daddy more now than ever before.

For the most part, though, this has been a struggle for our marriage. I’ll be honest – trying to find time for Keith and I to be, uh, married, is difficult. Either he’s asleep or not home when Little Man is asleep. And if the night has been particularly difficult for either of us, which is usually the case, mornings don’t work so well. I’ve woken him up during naptime a few times, but then he can’t get back to sleep, and because of said rough nights, I usually need a nap more than anything else. So if you have a spouse who works an “off” shift and have some good ideas, I’m all ears.

About twice a month we are able to take LM to his grandparents for an evening, and Keith and I can spend some time together before he leaves for work. But that’s not enough. I miss my husband.

For the most part, also, it’s “The Mommy Show” 24/7 around these parts, and that can be… eroding. I meet all of Little Man’s needs all day, and then we have about two hours with Keith (wherein I make, serve & clean up dinner, put away laundry, and try to take ten minutes by myself). Then, Keith leaves, and I meet all of Little Man’s needs until he FINALLY crashes into sleep.

I’ve written before that I’m not cut out for single parenthood, and I have often wondered how my friend, Mrs. Marine, handled her husband’s deployments.

Except…deployments have an end date. It may seem forever down the road, but there is a big date circled on the calendar when it will stop. And people, hopefully, step up to help the family left behind. (And seriously, if you have a family in your sphere where a parent is deployed, HELP. Take them a meal, sit with the kids, take over a bottle of wine or carton of ice cream after the kids are in bed and just be with your friend, go over and cut their grass or clean out the gutters. Go help).

But this? This is the new daily grind around these parts. Keith leaves at 7:30 pm. I get LM his myriad of medicine, have bath time, snack time and then attempt to get him to sleep before either one of us can’t stand each other any  more. And with the sleep disorder, this is challenging. So let’s call it 10:00 on any given night, he is finally asleep. Then, blessed silence. Until the midnight crying spell. So I am usually up until at least midnight, waiting for the inevitable crying jag (his, not mine. mostly). Once that is over, I have to settle back down & try to sleep.

On a good night, I sleep from about 1:00 until 3:30 or 4:00, when the stupid dog has to go out. Then it’s try to sleep again until the first wake up, around 5:30, of the kid. Change the soaked diaper and bring him back to my bed. *Sometimes* Keith is home for this part, but sometimes not. Then LM is up for good between 7:00 and 7:30.

If Keith is home, he’s “on” until 9:00, when he goes to bed. Sometimes I sleep in a little, but mostly I am trying to shower and get stuff down in the bedroom that I can’t get done when Keith is sleeping. Then it’s me and the kid until 5:00 or so when Keith gets up. See above (dinner, clean up, etc.) and then we start all over again.

I am not complaining, really. I love that I am home with the kiddo. I love that I get to make dinner for my family and have us all together. But it is definitely wearing on me. I don’t know that I so much believe in the societal concept of “me” time (spas, wine, movies, girls’ nights out, etc.), but I do believe it is important to have some “breathing” time.

And I don’t have much time to “breathe” these days. In fact, as I try to write this, Little Man is pushing on my rolling chair and trying, again, to break our printer. Again. By pushing all the buttons on it. Again. And asking “why for that?” about every little noise.

I’ll take advice, but there’s not much I can do about the sleeping issue. We have no idea why he routinely cries out about midnight (and rarely does he wake up, but I do) or how to make it stop. And trust me, if I could get him to sleep or to stay in his crib without screaming from 7:00 on, then I would. But welcome to toddler sleep disorders. And it would be simply lovely if he didn’t wake up until a good ten hours after he goes to sleep, but again…nothing I can do about that .

So… overall Keith working nights is positive, but wearing.

And I miss sleeping with my husband.

4 thoughts on “Night Shift Blues

  1. I think you're doing a great job balancing everything, but you're struggling with finding time for just you and your husband because the schedules don't mesh. You can't change Keith's, so the only solution I see is changing LM's. If you can only get couple time when LM is asleep, you have to adjust his schedule so that is possible. Long term, it will be worth it. Obviously, I don't know just how difficult that will be with his sleep issues. Seems like it would be worth a try if Keith's schedule is staying this way indefinitely.
    The other thing I'm wondering is whether you are spending some effort at getting your son to play on his own. You don't speak of it, I don't know why you would specifically, but a lot of first time moms feel like they need to spend every waking minute playing with or entertaining their kiddos. Getting him to play by himself without needing you constantly could take a lot of effort with some kids. Mine, not so much. Start with a few minutes and build up. (I don't have all the answers, just trying to help.)


  2. This schedule sounds incredibly rough to me! I think all mamas need some time just to decompress, and your schedule doesn't allow much flexibility for that. I don't have any magic solution, but I'm definitely sending prayers and hugs your way.


  3. I am in a very similar boat – toddler with sleeping issues (he is our foster son and had a very rough start in life) and a husband that works nights. I also work outside of the home, so I get to add in the hurry home and work out, hurry get the kid, hurry make dinner, hurry and smile at my husband before I send him off to work.

    I am sure that you're in the same boat with sleeping schedules for little boys who can't sleep – you can't change their schedule – you have to manage the crazy.

    What I sruggle with the most is that my husband's sleeping schedule isn't interrupted by screaming baby trying to fall asleep or screaming baby waking up like clockwork 2 or 3 times a night..and I'm jealous. Since our little one is at day care while he's sleeping and I'm at work, it's a very quiet house indeed. I realize this is so wrong…but I've said it, I'm jealous that he sleeps throughout the “night” while I am getting up at least 2 times a night.

    I am thankful that my husband works 4 10s so he's home three nights a week and that is a huge bonus for “being married” time. And I'm thankful he's not deployed because I get to see him every day even if it's only for an hour while we pass each other headed opposite ways. I'm just working through my oh so jealous “how's come you don't have to wake up as often as me!” issues 😉


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