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?


A Day Off Life

On occasion, I like to do what I call, “take a day off life.” I sleep, I watch trash TV, I don’t answer my phone, and I rarely get off the couch. It’s something I started doing in college, and I think it mostly stemmed from my depression after my Dad died. In highschool I was super social,  very busy and never had time for a day off. When my depression hit after losing my father, my days off were very common and I often spent entire Christmas breaks lounging in pajamas on a couch.

I never stopped the trend. I really do enjoy days when I do nothing, talk to no one, and hold myself accountable for nothing. My days off life continued when I started working full-time and was first married, because I was tired and my husband was gone a lot. When I was pregnant and placed on 3 full months of bed rest, doing nothing was actually my job. When the baby came, my tiredness and ability to be lazy for a day again came in handy as I only took care of the baby. I didn’t clean. I didn’t cook. I didn’t shower. I didn’t try to be super mom or work out or go back to work. I have spent a lot of time taking days off of my life.

Today, I wanted one of those days. I wanted to do whatever I wanted, which mostly involved sleeping and watching movies. But instead I have a very demanding 2-year-old who insists on things such as attention and food and diaper changes. (I know, right? Isn’t he self-sufficient by now?) The hubs is on a month of night shifts, which means he works from 7 pm to 7 am and sleeps from 8 am to 5 pm, then showers, gets, ready, and leaves again. So this month it’s just me and this baby thing. So today, a midst diaper changes and reading stories and building forts with the couch cushions and fixing toddler food, I took my day off of life by having movies in the background, staying in pajamas, and not cleaning. It still counts, right?

Instead of mourning the loss of my days off life, maybe I should embrace fully engaging in every day of my life. Because really a whole day in pajamas building forts with movies in the background is a pretty good day.