What I want you to know about working opposite shifts from your spouse

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post was submitted by Abigail Esguerra.

I married a man in the restaurant business with eyes wide open. I knew nights and weekends are when the money is made. I knew Saturday date nights would require a special, months of planning, and the additional financial sacrifice of not being paid for a shift (Seriously, dinner and a movie is a net $400 expense: $100 for dinner, $40 for the movie, $60 for the sitter and $200 for the missed shift). I knew traveling for holidays to see my family would be a rare occurrence (Honey, I have to work the day after Christmas). I knew I would care for the children when I got home from work while he worked (At least we don’t have to pay for daycare). What I did not know was how incredibly lonely I would be doing it.

The first two years of our relationship, we lived 1,000 miles apart. Before kids, I traveled for work constantly. I am no stranger to being alone and venture to say that I am more independent than most.

However, I grew up with friends who walked in our house unannounced, uninvited and absolutely welcome to do so. My mom bought gallons of orange juice for years, not knowing none of her children drank it (a friend of my brothers did…a lot). There was a bedroom called the sleep dungeon sick teenagers who couldn’t sleep would crash in because something magical in that room put EVERYONE out. In college, there was the a similar familiarity in my friendships. Even on consulting jobs that lasted 6-18 months, I would find fast friends.

Being a mother is such a ROLLERCOASTER. I read blogs and articles all the time about how we need to hold each other up. I’d love to hold someone up and be held up. But because of our “situation” finding new friends in this city 5 hours from my hometown is a challenge.

Our situation is this: Hubs cares for the kids during the day and works at night. I work during the day and take care of the kids at night. We literally have a 5-10 MINUTE window to say hello, pass on pertinent information and kiss each other goodbye. I’m not sure if absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we certainly don’t have time to fight about little things.

Couples where both parents are 9-5ers tend to want to play with other “couples” and the SAHMs only want to play before their spouses come home. I get it. For the 12 waking hours per week that I have to see my spouse, I don’t really want to share that time with the others either. If SAHMs are willing to pawn the kids off on hubs when he gets home, they certainly don’t want to do it to come hang with me and my little rascals. My mom lives 5 hours away, so she’s not coming over for SAHM and me to go for a walk or glass of wine. I could totally hang with the single moms…except I don’t know many (I live in a “starter home” neighborhood in the burbs) and the ones I do tend to work in restaurants (they can only play during the day with the SAHMs).

I go to work. I come home. I take my kids to the park. I meet a nice mommy with kids the same age as mine. We all get along. Then I hear her say, “You and your husband should bring the kids over sometime.” I explain that my hubs is rarely available nights and weekends, but that I’d love to get together. She takes my number. I take my kids home to feed and bathe them, knowing I will never hear from their new friends’ mom again. We just don’t “fit” in her life.



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