What I’ve Learned From a Summer of Night Shifts

My husband got the short end of the stick this summer in terms of his schedule, and he’s been on nights since May. He’s only had one 24 hour period off since then, and prior to that was on a 21 day stretch with no day off. This has made for a pretty long summer of just the toddler and I hanging out, but in the meantime I’ve learned some interesting things.

1) If left to my own devices I do not go to bed. Ever. Or at least until a ridiculously late time in the early morning which means I then have to function without sleep while taking care of a 3 year old the next day.

2) When given the opportunity to have complete control of the TV remote, I watch trash TV. The really bad kind that I make fun of other people for watching like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Real Housewives of Somewhere (mainly New Jersey and Orange County.) Ridiculous right?

3) I do not cook, so without my husband home to cook for us, my son and I eat out. A lot.

4) When we are sick of eating out, my ability to cook does make an occasional appearance. I actually do know how to throw together a meal of salmon, broccoli and rice or pasta and salad.

5)I’ve also spent a lot of time watching you tube how to videos…how to put on make up. This new little late night hobby has taught me a lot of new tricks and introduced me to some really fun new products. Also, I may have a new make up addiction.

6) Taking care of a three year old all by yourself day in and day out is exhausting. My old routine of put-the-toddler-to-bed-and-go-downstairs-to-write has become a new routine of put-the-toddler- to-bed-and-fall-asleep-with-all-of-the-downstairs-lights-still-on. Oops.

7) I actually like the new morning routine when my husband is home to help get the toddler ready for his various summer camps. He’s even been making scrambled eggs and bagels or toast for breakfast for our son, which I know he appreciates more than the cold cereal he gets from me.

8) Only seeing your husband for 30 minutes to an hour a day is difficult. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m lonely, because I am very rarely without the toddler and I’ve made sure to fill our calendar with a lot of play dates and summer camps this summer, but it’s hard. And it’s definitely not the ideal family life I had once pictured our family enjoying.

9) All of the work we put into getting our son to finally sleep in his own bed has gone out the window. The toddler’s been sleeping with me for two months straight now and I know that when we try to move him back into his own room it’s going to be a battle.

10) I often refer to myself as a “single mom who happens to be married” which I realize is not fair to my husband and I don’t mean to be insulting to all of the single moms who work so hard every day. But only seeing your husband/the toddler only seeing his father for 30 minutes a day for months is very difficult, and sometimes I’m downright mad about it.

This will all be over soon, and I think that the month of August has the potential to be full of quality family time, or at least family dinners, which to us will feel like a vacation.

Do you ever feel alone in parenting? How do you deal with it?

 

Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    “If left to my own devices I do not go to bed. Ever.” Me too! Absolutely. Total night owl. And as far as bad tv shows, I can do the same. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a higher tolerance for bad shows than bad movies.

    You’re not alone in feeling like you’re a single parent with your husband in residency. I’ve heard you basically have no time with family – it’s exhausting and the one who takes primary responsibility for the day-to-day routine with a child feels like the only one. I’ve heard people say, “I might as well be a single parent” accompanied with anger. Hopefully it will be different next year? Residency is over then, right?

    P.S. YouTube how-to videos are the best.

    • So glad to connect with another night owl!! I’ve always been a night owl…I don’t think it will ever change! Bad TV shows are so addictive!

      Thank you for your encouragement. You heard right…they definitely call it residency for a reason, because you live at the hospital. I’ve definitely gone through phases of anger throughout this process. Only one more year and then he’ll be done, so hopefully our “real life” will be better. :)
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