The biggest ongoing challenge in my marriage is my husband’s work schedule. I work Monday through Friday, 7:45 until 5:15. Taylor works Monday through Friday, 12 until 8. Except that’s 12 midnight until 8 am, and really it’s usually more like 9 or 10 or even 11 am.
Night shift. It sucks. I’m already working by the time he gets home and when I’m finished, he’s still sleeping and I feel bad about waking him up, since 5 or 6 pm feels like 5 or 6 am to him. On the weekends he tries to switch to a more normal schedule so he can spend time with me during the day, but he’s often so exhausted that he falls asleep on the couch. It complicates every aspect of our lives. It’s hard to plan meals for the family when my daughter needs dinner by six and my husband is still asleep or in breakfast mode. If we go away for the weekend we have make sure to be home by early Sunday afternoon so Taylor can get to bed on time in order to work at midnight. If one of our friends has a mid-week dinner or get together he can’t have more than one drink and we usually have to leave early (which is usually true on the weekends as well). It took almost a month to coordinate a meeting with our financial advisor because Taylor sleeps during normal business hours, and while the financial advisor already accommodates me by coming to the house, I sincerely doubt he’d take a meeting at night.
People are always saying that it must be so difficult to be on opposite schedules and asking us (especially me) how we do it. Here are some of things that help keep us close:
-As I mentioned earlier, Taylor switches his sleep schedule on the weekends so he can be awake during the day. It’s terrible for him and I feel guilty about how little sleep he gets, but if he didn’t do this we’d have almost no time to spend with each other, and certainly no daylight hours!
-Constant text messaging. We text the whole time he’s walking to work and the whole time he’s walking home. If I can’t sleep or I wake up in the middle of the night, I text him. Sometimes when he’s asleep I’ll send him a lovey-dovey text for when he wakes up. We also get each other’s twitter updates sent to our phones so when each of us gets up we can see what the other has been doing/thinking about while we were sleeping.
-I work from home. If I wasn’t here during the day we’d only see each other in the evenings before he left for the office, but because I’m around the house we get to catch up with each other before he goes to sleep. Plus, Taylor brings me a white mocha americano every day, and somehow it tastes better than if I went to Starbucks myself.
-We do as much together as we can, even if it’s just running silly, mundane errands. Last night Taylor came with me to buy a new toothbrush. When we go to the gym we run on adjacent treadmills. We’ve even gone Christmas shopping for each other together while keeping the gifts a surprise (it involves a lot of waiting outside stores while the other person gets their bags stapled shut).
-I try very hard to have patience and understanding about it. Sometimes it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to only get to sleep beside your husband two nights a week. It can be really lonely with just me and the cat poking my face, and a few weeks ago I broke down (admittedly after a few too many glasses of wine) and cried about it. But the next morning, I got up, put my happy face back on and spent the day with my husband.
People are right to say it must be hard, because it is, but when they ask how we do it, well, the answer is, we just do.