Monday, October 17, 2011

Single Mom-ness

No no, Gene and I haven't split. We've put up with each other for ten and a half years of marriage (and several beyond that), and we both agree that we've invested too much time and energy into this thing to even contemplate starting over.

But I sure do feel like a single mom tonight. I mean, your man is supposed to be at home in the evenings, right? Watching over his domain and whatnot?

We knew when he started his new job that he would eventually be moved to night shift. But he finished his first few weeks of classroom training and was moved to a day shift for his hands-on training, which lasts for approximately fifteen weeks. Talk about some praising God in this house! I was happier than a woodpecker in a lumber yard. Barring a major change, he'd be on day shift until at least early December - maybe through the end of the year!

Oh, but this company likes to spring changes on people. We've discovered this already. They don't like to give you much warning that it's coming, either. In this case, he had about a week's notice, and that's the most that he's had of anything so far. More newbies were coming in behind him, and they needed his day shift to train them. So starting...oh, about three hours ago, Gene is working night shift.

I am not thrilled at this new development. I had issues with night shift from the very beginning, seeing as how I don't like being home at night without him. Not that we live in a bad neighborhood, mind you. We just don't live in a neighborhood. Think middle of nowhere-ish, down a long gravel drive, with no visible neighbors. Think surrounded by woods. Think very dark at night. Oh yes, my inner scaredy girl is not a happy camper.

(Let me pause for a moment here to address those who are certainly wondering, "why would she post about being home alone at night, right out there on her blog for the world to see?" Three reasons. 

One, it's therapeutic. I need to whine about it somewhere

Two, Walter. Nerdy name notwithstanding, Walter is a very large dog with a very mean bark, and he sleeps right in front of the door. The teensiest noise does not escape him. And if you show up unannounced at my house after dark, I will not call him off of you. 

And three, Keisha. How "she" got her name is a long story that would actually be more appropriate for Gene's blog, if he had one. I had problems with Keisha living here for a long time, but I've recently made peace with her. Without going into too much detail, let's suffice it to say that you don't want to find yourself on the business end of Keisha. And she has friends.)

As we prepared for his transition to night shift (ie, me keeping him awake for half the night last night, and then demanding that he stay in bed today), I realized that his working night shift is going to be inconvenient in more ways than one.

For starters, he'll need to eat before he leaves for work - which means that dinner will be served earlier than any of us are used to on the days that he works. This will especially stink on the days that Rachael has 4-H, since I'll have to drop her off there and hurry back home to cook, then reheat it for her once she's finished. It's like having a baby in the house again - hims has to be fed, and I'm the one that needs to handle it.

Then there's the fact that he'll be getting home at approximately the same time that I should get out of bed, but rarely actually do. See, I'm a night owl. I would be quite happy staying up until 1 or 2 a.m. and then sleeping until 9 or 10 the next morning. And sometimes I do, because my kids are rather night owl-ish too. If they're still asleep at 8:30, far be it from me to wake them up, or even get of bed and risk waking them up. Nope, I roll out when my presence is demanded, and we start our day then. Sometimes it's 8, sometimes it's 10. It works for us. (Reason #5374985734 why I homeschool.) However! Now he'll be busting in the door at 8:00 (or a few minutes before) and he'll pretty much be ready for bed. Which means that I have to get out of it. That's not even such a big deal, but I also have to be showered, dressed, face did, etc., since I won't want to be barging into the bedroom while he's trying to sleep during the day.

(Yes, I know. Poor, poor pitiful me. I have such terrible problems. But this is my blog, and I will whine here if I want to. No one is making you stay and listen to me wallow in my whiny-ness.)

Then there's the single mom factor. He gets home when we wake up, and he goes to bed. Aside from the whole can't-fetch-my-crap-from-the-bedroom thing, it's business as usual during the day - breakfast, school, lunch, play. Start dinner. But when he wakes up to eat dinner and then leaves at just the time that I always look forward to him coming home, it just blows my mind. This isn't how things are supposed to go! I've already "worked" all day! Now I have to put up with these kids all evening on my own too?! It's mommy break time here, not time for round two! Thank goodness for decent children who are easily enough entertained and don't throw a fit over bedtime. Much. Usually.

Single moms, my hat is off to you. At the very most, I'll have to do the "all day shift" five days in a week, but the next week is easier. I have no idea how other women do this every day and don't go completely bonkers. Unless it's because single moms tend to work outside the home. Anywho.

My final complaint may actually be a non-issue...and that is that I told my children to "be quiet", "hush", "take it down a notch", "stop screaming/yelling/stomping/banging on the piano", and "SHUT UP ALREADY" at least a bajillion times today.


Well, they were approximately as quiet as a jet engine all day long, and he claims that they never woke him up. Maybe having a man who insists on sleeping with his head in a fan isn't such a bad thing after all.

This is definitely a time of adjustment in our home. Not really a fun time. I mourn the loss of access to my bedroom during the day. I refuse to go to bed because every single noise in the night will be a psychopath with an axe skulking down the hallway. (Who needs sleep anyway? I'll sleep on the nights that he's off.)

But at least he'll have nights off. He has MUCH more time to spend with me and the girls than he did with his previous job. He'll have way better benefits (in a few more weeks) and pretty great pay if we can just stick with it.

I'm trying to look at the bright side.

It's just that it's so stinking dark outside.


  1. Living off the main road and without a big honkin' street light can indeed be a little scary. My husband works a 24-hour shift as a fireman, so he is gone night & day both. After 28 years I am used to it. But even so, there are still nights when you just wish you weren't home alone. I know it's hard with the kids, but I had none, and there has been many a night when I wished I had somebody there just for a hug or something. You'll make it through this change okay, I think. Good luck!

  2. I hear you. I was a single mom until I married. It was tough, but the great part was that I did not realize how tough until now. We have a 10 month old. There is usually always my husband (WAH), tween (home schools) and me (WAH) in the house. It is rough when my hubby and son are out for a long time. I got used to the extra 4 hands :) Hope that you will adjust quickly. Hugs & Blessings!

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