Night Shift Series: Benefits & Challenges


In this new series, I'll be sharing tips, stories & strategies to help make your "weird" schedule work for you and your family. Today's post is about the benefits & challenges that different types of work schedules bring.

As I mentioned in my first post, my husband has worked pretty much every shift/schedule there is. While this series primarily focuses on the night shift, I will try to include my thoughts on other types of shifts as well. So I know right off the bat you can think of all the negative things a night shift brings, right? Less time together, unequal household duties...the list goes on and on. Here are some of the most common complaints:

Negative Aspects or Challenges of a Night Shift
  • Less time spent together as a family - Children miss spending time with their father. The father may feel that he is missing out on children growing up, school events, etc.
  • Less time spent together as a couple - Both spouses can suffer from lack of communication, intimacy, or togetherness.
  • Managing a household while your spouse sleeps - Your husband needs to sleep when he is home and you have a household and/or children that you have to keep busy with but also (relatively) quiet...not always an easy task!
  • Having to sleep or do other activities by yourself - Both spouses can begin to feel lonely, depressed or isolated.
  • Unequal chores or household duties - The spouse at home can feel that they are doing way more than their share of chores, household management, bill paying, etc. while the working spouse may feel like they are constantly being "nagged" about things that need done when they are off work.
  • Husband feels "cut off" or physically ill - Different shifts (especially if they have to switch around a lot) can exhaust your spouse, or even possibly make them sick. They can also feel cut off from the world since they are on the opposite schedule of everyone else.
But what about the benefits? I'll be honest - when I Googled "night shift benefits" not a lot came up in the way of benefits for families. It was mostly benefits for the workers themselves. But I do believe that there are some benefits. Here's what I feel they are:

Positive Aspects or Benefits of a Night Shift
  • Work related benefits - There are several possible benefits for the husband working a night shift: less traffic in his commute, more schedule flexibility, fewer meetings or supervisors/people on shift, higher productive for introverts/night people, and/or more money. Many of those do depend on what type of job it is, though.
  • Doing your own thing - Some independence in a relationship is good. Everyone needs a little time to themselves. I think it was Carrie Bradshaw that first talked about "SSB" or Secret Single Behavior - the sometimes silly or guilty pleasure things you enjoy doing when no one else is around. (For me, one example would probably be putting on a hideous looking facial mask - seriously, it looks like mud - slathering my feet with lotion, slipping into my spa socks & my giant unattractive robe to watch some episodes of a favorite TV show.) 
  • Sleeping apart - Although sleeping away from each other was a little hard at first, I've gotten used to it. And sometimes it's actually a huge benefit - like here recently when I've been sick, hubby hasn't been here to hear me hack up a lung all night. I can also steal all the pillows and blankets and arrange them any way I want.
  • Making the most of the time you spend together - Since you are used to your spouse being gone a lot, you're going to cherish the days off, weekends, vacations, or holidays you spend together a lot more than normal.
  • Getting creative - Sometimes you're going to have to think outside the box. What works for a 9 to 5 couple or family may not work for you. You may have to adjust your ideas and preferences - and that's okay! Having a more creative love life or family time is a beautiful thing.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series!

How To Live, Love & Learn Through The Night Shift
Introduction
Benefits & Challenges - The benefits and challenges
Going It Alone - Managing being temporarily "single" & staying sane!
Staying Connected As a Couple - How to keep from becoming people living two separate lives
Thriving As A Family - Keeping your family unit happy and whole

10 comments :

  1. There was a time when I "theoretically" worked a night shift and it felt a bit odd to be on two different ends of the clock with my hubby. I was training a team in India so I'd begin working around 9pm and go well into the morning and then go to sleep when he was leaving for work. I definitely prefer being on the same shift but the good news is we know if we ever had to make that kid of schedule work, we could do it without a problem.

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  2. I just showed this to my husband who has worked 5pm- 5am for the past 3 years. I so applaud people who have to work shift work. Thank you so much for posting this!

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    1. You are very welcome Ashley! I hope it (and the rest of the series) can help others who may be struggling to adjust to the night shift.

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  3. great post! I love that you are sharing the good and bad! sometimes when one is in the situation it can be all too easy to just see the bad! My hubby has never worked night shift, but he has worked some crazy unpredictable hours and I remember how hard it can be! You seem to have a much better attitude about it than I did though. ;) I'm working on being more positive like you are sharing here!

    great post! thanks for sharing it on my FB page!

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    1. No prob! It's taken me time to see the positives & sometimes the negatives do really weigh on us - but we just keep pressing on! :)

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  4. Cool series! My hubby works the night shift currently, but we've also been through every schedule possible and military deployments as well. One of the great things about being a SAHM is that I can be very flexible on schedules and adjust the family life to work around the crazy schedules.

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    1. Thanks! I love that about being a SAHM also!

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  5. Thank you for this post! My husband will be on the night shift soon and is really discouraged about it. Also, it was really nice to find a faith-based perspective on the topic.

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    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful - now I just need to find some time to finish the whole series. ;)

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