Annalyn enjoying her daddy at dinnertime!

Life at my house is a little different these days. Mark has a new job, and we’re doing things differently than before.

From the time I was pregnant until just a couple months ago, Mark has worked evenings. And when I say “evenings,” I mean that he was gone from early afternoon to late at night, sometimes not getting home until after midnight.

In other words, for Annalyn’s entire life, we have never had family time during the week. She had time with her daddy, she had time with her mommy, and we all met up on the weekend.

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, although it did drive me to blog. Then again, I hope you’d agree that my blogging isn’t a bad result, either!

A couple months ago, though, Mark changed jobs and now works (mostly) nights. So now, we have our whole evenings together. We also moved Annalyn’s bedtime back to 7:30, giving us even more time to play and eat and be together.

All this change has spurred more change. It’s all good, but change still takes some getting used to. The first two nights that Mark was home, I thought I was going to lose my mind.

He was just so . . . THERE! In my space! Sitting on my couch! Watching my TV! Looking at me!

Thankfully, I realized quickly that I was being a jerk. I apologized, and we adjusted. Ahem. We’re still adjusting. As a matter of fact, I came up with 10 ways (as in Top Ten Tuesday, of course) that we’re adjusting to change right now:

  1. Family time: As I mentioned, we have a lot more time together now. Or, as Annalyn says, “all of us.” If we want, we can go to the store together or play in the backyard together. Granted, it is summer, and the backyard is ridiculously humid. So I should say that it allows Annalyn to play in the yard with Mark while I sneak inside to the house. With the air conditioning.
  2. Cooking dinner: But that does bring me to my second point: I have more opportunity to cook dinner now. A real dinner. Not a plain cheese quesadilla and canned fruit for Annalyn, while I eat chips and salsa until she goes to bed. But a real, cooked on the stove, featuring at least three of the four food groups dinner. Sometimes (like last night), Mark does the cooking and I do the playing. Either way, we get the chance to cook for our family, and that’s something we both enjoy but didn’t get to do often when we spent our evenings apart.
  3. Family dinner: With Mark’s previous schedule, our only chance to eat meals as a family was on the weekend. And weekends are usually busy, leaving us little time to plan or cook or eat nice meals together. That left lunch on the days I came home from work, but it’s hard to enjoy much together-ness in 30 rushed minutes, with a 2-year-old. So being able to eat dinner – all of us, at the same time, with manners! – feels like a small miracle.
  4. Bathtime and bedtime: For the first two and a half years of Annalyn’s life, I was the only person here (during the week) to give her a bath and put her to bed. You know what that means, right? Poor girl did NOT get a bath every night – or, sometimes, even every other night! Seriously, she’s a good girl and there’s only one of her, so it’s not like bedtime was always such a hardship. But having Mark here to help with the nighttime routine is so nice! And I think it’s really good for Annalyn, too.
  5. Gas money: Okay, this one has nothing to do with being a family and everything to do with money. Mark’s new job is way closer to our house than the old one. So he buys gas half as often as he used to – saving us more than $100 a month!
  6. Mo’ money: On top of the gas savings, he’s also making more money, which means we’re finally going to get out of debt. And that makes him feel really good. Not in a money-is-the-most-important-thing sort of way. But he worked really hard to get this job – and he persevered even though that’s not normally his MO, and now he’s proud of the fact that he’s providing so well for his family. And I’m proud of him, too.
  7. Flexibility: This might surprise you, but I’m not the most flexible person out there. I like rules and schedules and structure and lines around my colors. But Mark’s new job, at least for now, has none of that. He works a different shift every night, and we don’t know what that different shift will be until the day it happens. When I first realized this (after he’d signed paperwork but before he started the new job), I may have had a complete meltdown. Okay, let’s be honest. I did. But since then, I’ve managed to adjust to this new way of life and can see that it’s not a bad trade-off for the family time we’re gaining and the debt we’re starting to pay off. {Not to say I didn’t freak out a little bit on the night he didn’t get called in to work at all. But c’mon! That would frustrate any budget-creating and bill-paying wife, right?}
  8. TV watching: Having Mark home in the evenings was a wake-up call. His presence was like a mirror, held up to my lazy habits. I didn’t like it. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my husband was appalled to realize just how much of my evenings have been spent sitting on the couch. He understands how it happened (newborn + unemployment and then underemployment + too much alone time = a LOT of time spent on the Internet, watching TV and generally not moving around). But he still wasn’t impressed. Thankfully, it’s summer, so TV isn’t a big draw anyway. But we may have some more adjusting to do come fall.
  9. Blogging time: Just like it seems that I watch too much TV (and I do), it also seems to Mark that I spend too much time on the computer. And…I do. I haven’t had to be a good manager of my time, because it’s been all my time. Nobody was here to care if I spent three hours in front of my two favorite screens and then stayed up late to change laundry, pick up the house and clean up the kitchen. But now that Mark is here to point out (gently, of course. Ha!) how ridiculous that is? I’m trying to figure out how to be more efficient.
  10. My bed: For nine years, Mark and I shared a full-size bed. Not long ago, we finally upgraded to a queen, and we’re not quite sure how we lasted those nine years. Now that we’re sleeping – for the most part – during two completely different parts of the day, though? We are in slumber heaven. Neither one of us has someone snoring in our ears or rolling over too far or breathing in my face. It’s just me, my pillow and nothing but space. Having the bed to myself is a definite change – but I have to say it’s kind of nice. {Weird disclaimer: Please don’t bother being concerned about the state of our marriage based on this situation. Of course I miss my husband at night, and yes, we do sleep in the same bed at the same time on the weekends. So, really, it’s all good.}

Those are the main ways we’ve been adjusting to all the changes going on. Does everyone in your family work, eat and sleep on the same schedule? Have you had to adjust to any changes lately?

This post will be linked to OhAmanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.


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