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Husband works night shift

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Here's my situation:

My husband just got a job with a shifting evening/night schedule, about 5-6 days a week. I've been so used to him having the same schedule as me that it's hard to adjust to our now opposite schedules.

I feel like he's sleeping all the time and I'm kind of left to do all of the household chores, as well as maintain my daily work schedule (we both work 40-50 hours a week). Does working at night really sap more of your energy than day shifts?

The last thing I want to add to our marriage is arguments about our work schedules. I'm aware of how irrational and unfair my feelings can be at times (heck, I'm just happy we both have full-time jobs in this economy!). I guess I'm just looking for advice/input as to how we can adjust smoothly to this new change, not to mention how we can get some time with each other - I don't want one of those 'hi/bye' kind of relationships.


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You could make a list of all the household stuff that needs to get done and auction them off?  Cherry pick the ones you like, let him cherry pick the ones he likes and as for the rest, how much would you be willing to pay not to do them and how much would you have to be paid to do them?

Different people have different abilities and interest and additionally different people react differently to different stimuli.  For me working later is fine, but for some people it can be exhausting, it also depends on what you're doing as to how drained you are after work.

If you're both working 40-50 hours a week, he needs to be doing half the house work. Seriously. I would be pissed too.

Like smw said, make a chore list.

Does he like this job? If not, you can encourage him to look for another.

Night work is much more tiring than daytime work because you simply dont sleep as deeply during the day as you do at night. Some people adjust, some don't.

But that doesn't mean all of the housework should be on your shoulders! I'm sure he can get a vacuum in before he heads off to work, take out the trash, hang up some laundry or do some errands.

However, shopping was something I never did during my nightwork times apart from picking up things like looroll etc. at the 24/7 gasstation. Extra trips were weekend only.

In the long run it would be good if he works days again. Less stressful on your relationship.

I work the graveyard shift, almost nobody understands me :) but I love it, I'm always well rested, like I never was when I was working days but even tho I'm single I sometimes can't find the time to do chores, mostly because I feel like doing something else with my spare time. Taking out the trash and dusting are easy and quick but vacuuming and moping... blah.

When I started in 2007 I got zero support from my family, not that I cared much since the pay was good and I was really happy with this job, now we rarely speak, my mother for example refuses to come visit in the afternoon/evening since that's when her tv dramas and news air so yeah, she chose tv over me, good riddance. I make it sound so harsh because that's what might happen to you if you don't support your significant other. There is a middle ground here. Find it.

Original Post by kikt:

Night work is much more tiring than daytime work because you simply dont sleep as deeply during the day as you do at night. Some people adjust, some don't.


This. I just read a study about this the other day. I know when I worked night shift for a while I could never sleep more than 3-4 hours before the sunlight/outside noises/etc forced to just get up. My bedroom was also never messier than when I was working night shift. haha 

Maybe you guys could figure out something simpler. He can toss the laundry in the wash before bed and you can stick it in the dryer when you get up then he can fold... stuff like that?

My husband worked night/day shifting schedule (mostly night) for years.  In fact, he just started his new job yesterday.  The schedule is 2 pm - 10 pm, so it's not completely a day schedule, but it's better. 

The night schedule took a while for us to get used to.  It's true that most who work night shifts are more tired.  I saw on the news not too long ago that it has something to do with the body not getting enough vitamin D from the sun and something to do with their REM sleep.  But it's not fair for you to have to do the majority of the housework if you're both working.  I suggest you give him a little time to adjust and talk to him about it as well.  Just be careful not to make it seem like you're putting blame on him.  If this is something that's going to be too hard to handle, I suggest he start looking for a new job.  Not everyone is cut out for a night shift.  Good luck!!!

My husband currently works swing shift, two weeks on each.  11p-7a, then he flips to 3p-11p and then 7a-3p. 

On the 11p-7a, his sleep is very sporadic despite a backout shade and various other devices in our bedroom to make it easier.  The lack of sleep parlays into overall fatigue and he's less likely to get stuff done around the house.

Our newest solution is "the list".  We have a running list on the front of the fridge listing various things that need to get done over the next 1-2 weeks.  We both add to it as we think of things and cross off as we do things.  I found it helpful to both of us because crossing things off as they get done gives immeditate satisfaction.

I put "the list" idea to him this way: "I think this will help us both keep track of what we need to get done and it's also a great place to add things as we think of them.  We're both so busy that I'm afraid we'll get further behind on things if we don't write them down as they come to us.  And crossing them off when finished feels good!"

At least for my DH, putting it to him as a "we" thing works because he doesn't feel nagged at in any way.  Also, as he sees things leave the list and he knows full well I am doing a lot of them, it lights a fire under his bum and he'll do a few items of his own.  I don't have to say a word.  The list says it all.

Thank you for all of the great input. I love the idea of a chore list for recurring chores and 'the list' for things that can wait a bit longer (ie: fix the fence, paint the room, etc.) - I'll pitch both to him and see what he thinks.

I know there's a difference between men and women and how each views 'clean' - I think I'll have to let more things go and he'll have to pick up a  bit more slack =).

By the way, he loves his job and right now it's probably the best scenario for us schedule-wise. He worked 5 months of night shift before we were married and he can see that it's probably not something he can maintain long-term. The company is large though and I'm sure they'll find a place for him in the day by the end of the year (I hope!) 

And you're right kallie - I haven't been using 'we' like I should and I think that's a large part of the issue in him feeling nagged. Will change that immediately! 

dkn - I'm sorry your family didn't support you in your career choice. I understand it takes support and compromise and, believe me, I've done my fair share of both and I don't intend to quit. Just a word of advice though: have you ever thought that maybe you're expecting all of the support from your family and not giving them any? You say good riddance about your mother - you're right, that is harsh. Middle ground means both parties move towards each other towards a solution. You may not have moved nearly as much as you think you have (not judging, but I thought I'd point out another view to you).  

Ally, I've learned to use "we" because my DH would get very, very mad when I said, "You need to do/didn't do"  Even if valid, he hated it and got super defensive!

I also can pour the sugar on sometimes when we are home together: "Honey, if you help me with such and such, stuff will get done a lot faster.  Then I will have the time and energy for other stuff."  *wink-wink*



9 Replies