Saturday, 30 July 2011

Shifts. How do I cope!

My husband works shifts and I hate it. When we met he worked shifts and I hated it then. I told him and was honest that I as someone who had lived alone for 12 years and raised a child alone did not want that disruption in my life. I told him I wouldn't live with someone who did shift work, marry someone or have children with someone who did and he was well aware of that. I need routine. It's the only way I can function properly. The only way I can get up every day and work normally like other mums and housewives do. When I told him he took it in and said we'd cross that bridge if it got that far...... and it did get that far so he started applying for other jobs within his work.

When we moved in together it was because he had stopped shift work and gotten a great job which although was still classed as shift work it really wasn't. He worked mostly days and once and a very blue moon he had a 'backshift' but within that job it started at lunchtime and finished at 10pm which to me can't really be classed as shifts and suited us fine. We knew that it was only a 2 year posting and he started applying for other stuff around 18months in. He got another job just as we were getting married that was mon-frid 8-4 and suited great and seemed very happy in that job. It was open ended so we were very settled and had Caleb in that very happy settled way of working. It worked well for us and I felt well with no blips whatsoever.

Just as Caleb turned 6months old some new postings were being advertised at work and as with my husband that started giving him itchy feet. He can't just settle and be happy with his lot EVER.  He found one training job he especially liked the idea of and spoke to me about whether to apply or not. First question, ' is it shifts?'  His answer, ' No, not as such. Much like the old job. Continuous dayshift with one 'backshift' thrown in every 3 months or so. Four days on Two days off' . So ok. Happy days. More money involved, no shifts and pretty much settled as we were.

The question is, did he tell me the truth. Answer 'NO'. The job never has entailed just dayshift and even after he finished his training after a year and a half he took the full time posting without talking it over and now we're stuck. I started struggling straight away with the shifts and I have never made any bones about it. The first few times a backshift was involved he assured me it was only because they were short staffed and wouldn't happen so much. Two years on hes never not worked a backshift and not only that there's nightshifts too.  To most this is probably and inconvinience. To someone who has always survived an illness by strict routine, who said she COULDN'T live with shifts its destroying my life. I hate them. I can't settle at all. It's knocking me sick everytime they come around and worse still now as we live in the worlds tiniest house, not the large house we shared at first. I can't have friends round for the kids. I can't socialise at all in my home.I have to keep the phones off and try and stop a 2 year old from wanting to speak or go in and wake daddy, which causes tantrums and screaming.  I'm cut off when he's asleep and he hears every move we make so I have to find places to go with the kids which means I can't keep on top of what I need to do. Things snowball and by the time he is days off I'm a wreck. I don't know how much longer I can do it and I'm fed up being made to feel like a terrible person for feeling like it. For the days before he starts a backshift or nightshift I feel sick and depressed and can't snap myself out of it. Then I feel horrible for feeling like that which makes me worse. Some days I find it hard to just function. How does he respond??? Pissed off non stop at the mere suggestion I'm not just getting on with it.

I would get on with it if it wasn't for the fact I can't. I've made it plain I can't function in this sort of environment. I can't live happily with someone all the time in the house sleeping. I can't not let my children make any noise ever. I can't live with shifts. I've never claimed to be able to and I can't understand why its me feeling bad. He just feels angry. Me???? I just feel like leaving. If I had my own home with my children I wouldn't have to worry about this. I'm that close to making that thought a reality. I sometimes wonder if he'd care or just be happy that he can come and go at ease. Maybe I'm just the burden.


  1. So sorry you're feeling like this. I'm not sure I could cope with my husband working shifts either. I don't know what to advise but you definitely need to come to some sort of compromise and you need to be able to "live" in your house during the day. Has he tried stuff like blackout blinds and ear plugs if he's a light sleeper?

  2. Shift work is hellish, it makes life seem impossible some days, I know how you feel xxx

  3. Shifts are hard and like you I am a creature of habit. I hope you get it sorted out honey. xx


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