an unmade bed: perfect for napping

Gonna be a long night. It’s gonna be all right . . . On the night shift.

When I first started blogging, I ran across a blog that titled every post with a song title or lyric. I loved it – and was so jealous I hadn’t thought of it first. I didn’t realize how big the blogosphere is back then . . . or how hard it is to match every single post with a song.

Though I didn’t make the commitment to give every one of my posts a song title title, some posts just cry out for a musical reference. (Okay, truth be told, a LOT of posts do. But I try to restrain myself. Really, I do.) And today’s post is certainly one of them – and the reason I have had the Commodores’ Night Shift running through my mind for the last week!

For the record, that link will take you to a YouTube video. Of the Commodores. You KNOW you want to watch it.

Anyway.

Two years ago, I wrote a post about the top signs you’re a married single mom. Several of you chimed in with examples of your own, from fixing or buying major appliances on your own and putting the kids to bed uber early after a long day to controlling the remote and enjoying your favorite snacks.

Since one of my friend’s husband started a new job – on the night shift – a few weeks ago, I’ve been wishing I had more helpful tips for her. But even after living with this type of work schedule for a few years, we still don’t have it figured out.

Sure, we know now that black-out curtains are a lifesaver and that it is actually possible to catch up on or store up extra sleep. We know that it’s not my job to wake up my husband every day – and trying to do it anyway just makes us all miserable. I’ve realized that picking up the house before Mark wakes up helps us both feel more sane, and he tries to remember not to promise anything that depends on him waking up at a certain time.

But on weeks when we both have early morning meetings (which leaves nobody to take Annalyn to preschool) or weeks when family drama and holiday plans interrupt sleep and work and dinner {and did I mention sleep?}, nothing works quite right. And the minute we let our guard down and stop working at making this work, sanity (and contentment and general happiness) go out the window.

I still find myself learning over and over that carrying around expectations is the fastest way to an argument. And then I find myself wondering when I’ll learn it for good, because the lesson hurts every time.

I’m still learning to be thankful for the small moments: the family snuggles in bed when he gets home before the alarm in the morning or the laughter after a dinner eaten together, when we actually manage to do something other than eat and run.

I’m slowly becoming more intentional every day, looking for the positive (and speaking it) and letting the little things go (when I can).

But you know what? The truth is that surviving life with a spouse who works the night shift (or who takes business trips or who is deployed overseas or who takes evening classes or who is on call every day of the year) IS HARD.

So let’s share some tips and help each other out. Because, as the Commodores reminded us (you’re welcome for getting this stuck in your head, too), “I know you’re not alone, on the nightshift.” Living with someone who works weird hours can feel pretty lonely, but we’re not alone. How do YOU survive the night shift?

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