Night Shift and family issues

  1. I am having some serious issues regarding balancing night shift and family. I have worked nights a few times before, but never longer than 1.5 years. Currently, I am going on 2+ years of nights with no end in sight.

    I recently switched jobs and specialties, and while it was stressful at first, I feel like I'm in a better situation overall, as I'm no longer stressing over some of the crap I had to deal with in the old job. So my professional life is great, but my family life still sucks.

    My husband is in law school and I am the sole earner. He will not help clean the house or even pick up his own messes (he used to be a lot better at this). He blames school. My children won't clean up after themselves either, and it doesn't help that I'm usually awake when they're asleep as I can't cycle back onto a day schedule unless I have multiple days off.

    I haven't made friends outside of work as we moved here for school, so my social life is pretty much nonexistant. I do spend some time with work friends, but we all have differing sleep schedules so it's hard to get together.

    I love my job and I love my family (even though they are all being major butts) and I just can't seem to make this work. I've tried chore lists and taking away privileges (the playstation cord is in my dresser drawer) but I can't get any backup from my husband. Anyone been in a similar situation and have advice? If I was working days I'd at least be able to ensure that the kids help around the house.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I feel for you Kate. I did the night thing for about 12 years. My husband however, was very supportive. It helps to sit down occasionally and touch base (like running a business) and make sure everyone knows the rules. Also, it give you the chance to air grievances. I know when I worked nights, I was exhausted all the time. My perception of life was pretty skewed. Are you getting enough sleep without interruptions?
  4. by   mom2michael
    I've worked nights off and on for over 10 years now and it was rough at first. We finally had to sit down and have a family meeting and let everyone get everything off their chest about me working nights. I was shocked to hear the responses from my husband and son, but it made them feel better. We then worked out ways to resolve the problem because at the time, working nights was the only option for us. My husband became the model husband including laundry, dishes and dinner most nights. My son kept his room spotless, life was good. They just had to air their issues and they had to understand that it wasn't an option unless I quit my job and we went without $$$$ which meant going w/o toys, cars, houses, etc....

    I've been in NS and working days the last 2 years but I start back to nights when I graduate next month - I'm sure we'll have to have a family meeting shortly.....
  5. by   Annaiya
    It sounds to me like it isn't the night shift as much as it is your husband's lack of being willing to help around the house. The time and energy needed for law school is nothing compared to private practice, so I would have a talk with him now. Just my advice having been down that road
  6. by   Tweety
    Time for a family "come to Jesus" meeting. If everyone pulls together and does a little bit, with consistency (and consistent negative reinforcement for those not pulling their fair share) things might get better.

    Maybe mom should go on strike. No cooking, no cleaning, no nothing.

    Law students of course need special consideration because time contraints have changed. Having a student in the house requires family support. But mom needs some help here too. Dad can take 10 minutes to clean his mess up and help.
  7. by   beckabeckahi
    Well, I agree with previous posts about everyone getting together and talking and getting greivances out in the open. Always helps build some support.

    With that said, Working and balancing family is always hard, no matter the shift. I work 12 hour days and everything is in order when i leave, two twelves and then I off and cleaning, picking up where I left off etc. I would make a list of non-negotiable priorities ( schoolwork, clean clothes, clean dishes etc) for your kids and husband that must be completed and perhaps just lay off worrying about the rest of the messes for a bit.

    It sounds like your probably feeling a bit lonely being in a new location, and feeling unappreciated by your family. Maybe you need to take a "vacation" on your own for a few days and see how much they really will miss you when your not there to keep it all together.

    Good luck.
  8. by   traumamomtx
    I've been on nights for 8 years and the one thing I learned is don't stress over the dishes, laundry, and so forth. It will get done eventually wether I do it or my husband helps because he doesn't have clean clothes. The friends thing is hard to work but it can be done everyone has to just make the time to see each other. I work day and night shifts so if I want to see my friends we have to schedule things in advance as much as possible. Sometimes, I just loose a little sleep but I guess "I'll sleep when I'm dead". quote from Roadhouse movie.

    Hang in there and stop stressing over the house. It will always be there and if it's bad just don't let anyone in until people want to help clean it up.
  9. by   EmerNurse
    I work nights and my first day off is my cleaning day - it always amazes me how I can leave the house nice and neat (for me - Erma Bombeck here), and come off 3 12'ves to a complete disaster again.

    Ok so none of us are neatniks (anal at work, slob at home lol) but I've told hubby that when we move and buy our house, we WILL budget for a housekeeping service a couple times a week. The family might not wanna do it, but darn it, neither do I!!

    That all said, my family is pretty good about me working nights, and we have peace in our home, such as it is lol.

    At this point, I'd have to dismantle my house and clean it before I could have someone come into clean it without my being mortified.

    Bah - what a pain.

    (off til FRIDAY NIGHT!!!)
  10. by   NurseyBaby'05
    :yeahthat: (What Tweety said.)

    Also, an option that might be worth looking into may be a weekend program. Is it something your facility offers? You could be home through the week and it may be easier to only have to live like a zombie a few days a week. Most of the facilities that have it offer payrates that make it pretty close to what you would make 36 or 40 hours a week.
  11. by   lannisz
    Quote from EmerNurse
    I work nights and my first day off is my cleaning day - it always amazes me how I can leave the house nice and neat (for me - Erma Bombeck here), and come off 3 12'ves to a complete disaster again.

    Ok so none of us are neatniks (anal at work, slob at home lol) but I've told hubby that when we move and buy our house, we WILL budget for a housekeeping service a couple times a week. The family might not wanna do it, but darn it, neither do I!!

    That all said, my family is pretty good about me working nights, and we have peace in our home, such as it is lol.

    At this point, I'd have to dismantle my house and clean it before I could have someone come into clean it without my being mortified.

    Bah - what a pain.

    (off til FRIDAY NIGHT!!!)

    Have you ever read the book "Your Money or your life"? It's all about how you want to "spend" your precious free time. One family dinner out (family of 5) pays for my housekeeper every two weeks. I have a wonderful lady who comes in every other Tuesday and deep cleans my house. This gives me 8 hours a month of time to do something enjoyable and stress relieving (swim, read, garden...) I was tired of breaking my back at work and then breaking my back at home to scrub floors and toilets. Even the family likes having a neat house and is willing to pick the clutter and do dishes in between cleanings. I told my husband "My back is my livelihood - if it goes, I can't work anymore," Its true. Give up 2 family entertainment nights or cable and you will have the funds for a housekeeper. There's no rule that says women are supposed to do it all! You work hard. You deserve it. Especially since you are the provider right now!
  12. by   kate1114
    Thanks for all the good suggestions. As for the weekend option - that is possible, and it might be an avenue to pursue. I worked weekends for years and grew to tolerate it LOL. It did help a lot with the household and with kids (at least I could make sure that homework was done - that's another huge issue that DH is letting slide). At my last job, I worked a lot of weekends as well for that very reason.

    We will be having a huge discussion about this. I've talked to DH and to the kids separately on this, but it sounds like we really need to get things more out in the open.

    I seriously resent the fact that I'll clean and then work 2 nights and come home to an absolute pig sty. And I don't have horrible standards of clean, either. The biggest problems are dirt tracked through the house, food wrappers lying around (including rooms where children are not allowed to eat), and clothing and other crap being strewn around the house. It's not a cleanliness issue as much as a mess issue. I'm cool with doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom. It's just picking up the clean clothes that have been strewn all over the floor. It's nice to know I'm not alone, but it's so frustrating to be the sole breadwinner AND the sole cleaner LOL.

    BTW, DH has gotten to be a LOT more self-centered over the years in law school. I don't see that changing in the future, so that might be another "come to Jesus" moment (Tweety, are you from Texas? I used to hear that phrase a whole lot LOL)

    Thanks!
    Kate
  13. by   erichRN
    The whole thing of working and going to school is a bad deal. I remember when I was in school and my wife was working for us all, it was extremely difficult. We have both been working for a couple of years now trying to pay off bills (nights!). The kids (I praise God for their character) are pretty good cooks, but necessity is the mother of invention and they have taught themselves well. The house doesn't look great, as a rule, but I don't think we are suffering unusually because of it. We all do our own laundry (if you want clothes, wash them!). The communication is important. There is an end. There will be a time when life will return to "normal." We are just grinning and bearing it until then. Good Luck.
  14. by   erichRN
    Just another note-- your comment about your husband getting more self-centered is a huge relational red flag for which you need to get help soon. As I said, school is very destructive to relationships.

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