Tuesday, June 10, 2008


That's what life seems to be about. For me anyway.  A series of adjustments, or learning to adjust to something.  In the last year I have learned to adjust to a new job.  And a new apartment.  And life without chronic pain(yay for that adjustment). 

 In the last 6 months I have learned to adjust to a severe cut in our income, as well as the changes that came in my marriage as my husband and I went through a rough patch that we are only just coming out of.   

In the last six weeks I have had to learn  to adjust to life without a car, and the inconvenience of always having to depend on someone else to get me where I need to go.  Also in the last six weeks both my husband and I have had to adjust to my husband's new job. 

The new job came about as a necessity after the fact that my husband lost one of his teaching jobs in December.   He looked for a job for five months.  He couldn't get another teaching gig because the semester had started already and all the teachers were hired.  

That five months was an adjustment.  A difficult one.

Approximately five weeks ago my husband found a job.  Finally.  He would start working for a large retail corporation on the night shift.  

Some people call it the graveyard shift.  Ten p.m. to 5:30 a.m.    

We were so grateful that he found a job that we didn't care that the hours were unusual.  Or that the pay was crappy(five times less than he was making at the teaching job he lost.  Five times.)  At least it was a job.  And it paid something.

In fact, we thought the hours would suit him perfectly. My husband is somewhat of a night owl. He rarely came to bed before two or three a.m. anyway, and this job would enable him to finish the semester with the classes that he still had.

How could two people be so completely wrong?

The last five weeks have been one of the biggest adjustments to date.  For both of us.  Needless to say, the hours are rough(on him.  I am asleep.)  

It is not natural for your body to awake all night long.  Couple this with the fact that it is an extremely physical job(unloading trucks and stocking shelves), and that leaves my husband in an utterly exhausted state.  All.     The.    Time.

What does this mean? It means that every daytime(and into the night) hour that we are together, my husband is asleep.    

8:00 o'clock in the morning.  Twelve o'clock in the afternoon.  Seven o'clock in the evening.  


On the couch.  In our bed. In the car(waiting to pick me up from work).

Except for the seven and a half hours that he is at work, and the time it takes for him to drop me off or pick me up from work, he is sleeping.

We haven't had a real conversation in six weeks.  We haven't slept in the same bed, at the same time in six weeks.  On his days off he can't get his internal clock to switch back to nighttime sleeping, so he is in the living room awake. While I sleep. During the day, when I am in the living room awake(on my days off) he is in our bedroom asleep.  It's like we're living separate lives.

Do  you see the problem here?  To top it off, I am accustomed to having his help with the household chores. Picking up the clutter, doing the dishes and the laundry, taking out the trash, making phone calls when needed and paying the bills. I am used to having help with these things.  And now I don't have any help at all.  

All of the above mentioned things are slowly driving me insane.  Add to that the fact that I can't go anywhere without him because I don't have a car and I can't get him to take me anywhere because he is asleep.  Insane, I tell you!

This will get better right?  He'll adjust to working these hours. Right?  There will come a time when he isn't exhausted and we will actually be awake at the same time, right?  Please tell me this is so. Lie if you have to.  I know I have a couple of readers whose husbands work the night shift(Stacey?).  Can  you help me out here?  This will get easier?  

It has to.  Because I miss my husband.  Even though he's right there in the room next to me.  

Sleeping like a baby.  



Tracy said...

The midnight shift is so hard, I had to work it for several years when I was in the Airforce.

He shouldn't try to sleep at night on his weekends, that keeps you from adjusting to the schedule-he needs (unfortunately) to stay up if he can-that was always really hard for me.

Also if he can stay awake after work and then sleep the 8 hours prior to needing to get up for work (like a day shift) they say that's the best thing.

I could never do that, I would come home, go to sleep and then force myself to get up about 5 and then go back to sleep for a few hours prior to getting ready for work.

If he could do that you could still spend time together and he wouldn't feel so horrible.

Good luck, it really does get better and his body will adjust. Hopefully he can get into a pattern and his body clock will sync with his new schedule.

That pay cut really sucks though:)

Kylie's momma said...

WoW! Michelle, All I can add is that you have adjusted before and you WILL again. Darn it change is hard all the way around. Have you guys thought about relocating for different jobs? Hang in there...being alone is tough!

OH MY #6 said...

You are a survivor and will get through this! This is nasty times. There is no doubt about it my friend.

He will adjust and be able to function on his days off for sure.


Stacey T. said...

I worked the "graveyard" for about a year. It was the worst year of my life. I could never get the sleep thing down. Tracy has it right though, you have to stay up during the day, then go to sleep the 8 hours before your scheduled start time. Of course that still leaves you alone the whole time with a sleeping husband. Plus, everything changes for you on the night shift, eating patterns, bathroom patterns, everything. I didn't feel normal again until I was back on a PM shift or day shift for about a month. I feel bad for your husband, the graveyard sucks! Plus, it sucks for you. I wasn't married at the time......

Kristin said...

This does sound pretty brutal!

Maybe you can set aside a time each week when you are both off to reconnect... even if it's just an hour and all you do is take a walk with the dog... the fresh air will help keep him awake. ;-)