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Late Shift

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Feeling a bit “weighed down”

I’m working the late shift this fortnight and by that I mean my partner is working late. I feel for him, I really do, most day’s he’s leaving early and he’s getting in late, he’s often getting home tired, hungry and frustrated.

But as bad as I feel for him, I feel worse for me. (and I feel like a bit of a sook for saying so!)

I’m fumbling my way through this new minefield of challenges. I’ve had the odd evening on my own, he’s gone out at night, or stayed back at work before, but not night after night. It’s much easier to handle when it’s “just one night”, but this is a fortnight and it’s taking it’s toll on me. I’m sure it’s not nearly so hard as having a FIFO partner, or even for single mums, I don’t know how you manage bedtimes – every night. But I’m tired in a way I haven’t felt this tired since the youngest was a newborn, and I feel ever-so-slightly out of my depth.

I had a romantic idea that having my partner work late meant I might be able to get the kids to bed at a reasonable time and then get sweet sweet time ALONE, to watch whatever I want without anyone else’s input, maybe get some sewing done, or just be by myself for a bit.

But, no such luck. The kids don’t want to go to bed at a reasonable time. I find it difficult to keep on routine, and I’m more highly strung, I’m tense, I’m waiting for something to go wrong, which I’m sure sets the kids on edge also. When it comes to bed time I’ve got no other hands to pass one of them off to and they’re keeping each other awake, and I’m feeling less equipped to handle resistance, because I’m exhausted from doing the dinner, dishes, bath and dressing them without any help. Not that I always need help, but it’s more just the option of having it that makes evenings easier for me.

I’m finding myself more snappy in general, more incline to raise my voice to a firmer tone, because I’m afraid that if they don’t listen to me, or do as I’ve asked, inescapable chaos will ensue. I’m getting “touched out” and it takes all my self control not to run screaming from the room every time someone small wraps their arms around me. I have to remind myself it’s a hug from someone who loves me very much, they’re not trying to suffocate or strangle me, it’s love, it’s affection, but sometimes it makes my skin crawl.

Day time is fine – it’s business as usual – so I’m trying to get as much as I can done to prepare for the evenings run smoother.

I’ve tried writing up a “10 Steps to Bed” plan with Mr 5 year old hoping to get him involved in his own  nighttime routine.

I’ve tried keeping Miss 2 year old up all day, not letting her have a day sleep, which leads to her being overtired in the evenings, and it’s resulting in no real break for me during the day (and it’s a LONG day)

I guess I’ve just got to keep breathing and be thankful it’s not forever.

How do you handle evenings on your own?

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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