It was the one thing that I feared most when thinking of how our lives were going to change. I thought that the erratic work schedule would be my downfall. I could deal with the danger. I could deal with long hours (Blue did plenty of overtime as a carpenter). I could deal with the craziness and the anonymity of being a police family. But shift work? I don't think so. I wouldn't ever see Blue. He wouldn't ever see the kids. We wouldn't ever spend time getting together with friends again. I wouldn't be able to rely on him for anything...at least that's how it played out in my head.
Truth be told, it's gone swimmingly. Blue kept telling me that we would be spending more time together as a family and that I just needed to give it a shot. I found it hard to believe but I tried to stay optimistic and now he can give point his finger and give me the ol' "I told ya so!" I feel like we have so much more quality time together. Because Blue has four days off in a row in between each shift we are getting things done around the house and the kids are able to get more focused attention from their dad. Instead of needing to pack all of our R&R into two days on the weekend we can space things out.
So far we've only had two hiccups with sorting our new hours out. There was one stretch of days where Blue booked-up his time off with friends and camping and helping some guys out and didn't spend any time with us. That sucked. We argued and realized that the kids and I need more face time with him on his days off. The other time was when I woke him up a bit too early after an evening shift (which ends at 2:30 in the morning). My fault.
Because The Boy is on summer break and the only routine thing that I have during the week is church I'm finding that I'm quickly losing track of days. I often think that it's a Monday when it's actually a Friday or Saturday. I usually go over to the calendar to see what day of the week it is just so that I can sort myself out.
One thing that I told myself going into this life was not to expect Blue to be home right when his shift ends. Days: 7:00 until big question mark. Evenings: 4:30 until big question mark. Nights: 9:30 until big question mark. This way I don't get my expectations up and suffer the disappointment of missed family dinners (note to self: keep a bottle wine handy). I'm trying not to plan anything for him to attend during his stretch of shifts and, for the most part, let him unwind on his first day off.
I've heard it from a number of other police wives and I would have to agree, I'm becoming more independent and learning how to take things in stride. It's good. I think for too long (especially during the baby years) I was glued to Blue. I would get so disappointed and down when he wasn't home for dinner and working on the weekends. Now that I know we have four days together in between each shift I'm able to let-go.
With all that said, it helps that we don't have babies in the house and that I'm not working. I don't know how you wives do it with trying to keep little kids quiet while daddy is trying to sleep!