The military can come with crazy hours for your spouse — sometimes they work day shifts, and other times your spouse works nights (sometimes all in the same week). When night shifts happen, you may feel like you’re going to lose your mind! So what can you do the next time you see a night shift on your spouse’s schedule?
Wake Up Early for Me Time
Set your alarm to go off an hour before your kids are supposed to wake up. A fulfilling morning routine may include meditating, praying, reading a verse or chapter from the Bible, or journaling. Drinking warm lemon water with honey is a gentle way to wake up your body. Start a pot of coffee or tea. Throw in a load of laundry. Cook and eat breakfast with — get this — hot coffee, like actual hot coffee. Did you know that still exists in real life? Whatever you do to get going, give yourself this one-up before the kids wake up.
Cooking for someone who isn’t living the same normal hours can be difficult. By purchasing pre-made meals, your spouse can eat what they feel like when they feel like it, and you won’t feel obligated to have something prepared for them.
You may be saying, “But, this is such a waste!” True — while it’s super helpful and easy, it’s also bad for the environment. However — did you know you can compost paper products? By eliminating the chore of constant dishes (as a temporary solution), a weight can be lifted off your shoulders.
Do Laundry Every Day
Have your kids put their dirty clothes in the washing machine the night before, then add yours in the morning and start the wash. As they say, “A load a day keeps the mountain away.” Switch the load from the washer to the dryer before you take your kids to school, and by the time you get back…ta-da! You have clean clothes! During your nighttime routine, help your children put their clothes away (don’t forget about yours, too).
Schedule Everything and Nothing
At the start of the week write things down in your calendar that are absolute musts (e.g., school pick-up and drop-off, after-school activities, appointments, etc.). Then look at your free time. It may be helpful not to have any obligations to other people while your spouse is working nights. It could be stressful, especially since you may not be sure what state of sanity you’ll be in. Leave time for your children to play outside in the afternoons and burn some energy. It usually makes for a smoother bedtime.
Breakfast for Dinner
Keeping up a regular cooking routine can be tricky when your spouse works nights. Who wants to fight with their kids to eat things they’re not thrilled to eat in the first place? Pour some cereal, add a banana, and call it a night!
Get a Babysitter
Handing over parental responsibilities to another qualified human being for a few hours allows you to take a break and recharge.
Have a Fun Day
Does your spouse have a day off in between shifts? Take advantage of your time together and do something fun! Maybe you can drive to the coast for a beach day or simply camp out in your backyard.
Season of Sacrifice
There will be times when, even though you are doing all of the above, you still feel overwhelmed (which is completely normal). If you feel that overwhelming feeling creeping in, stop, take a deep breath, and remember that it’s just a season of sacrifice and this too shall pass. It’ll be over before you know it! You can do it!
Photo Credits: Miscellanea Photography