Ships In The Night
Have you ever heard the phrase: "Passing like ships in the night"? Basically, it refers to two people who spend brief amounts of time together, they greet each other in darkness with the flashing of lights and then they sail off into the night in separate directions. Latitude, Longitude, their coordinates never quite matching up.
For the past 5 years, Jeremy and I have worked opposite shifts. This is as much a product of our chosen careers as it is a choice of convenience and necessity. He's an executive chef which means his schedule is mainly night and late-night shifts. I work for a coffee shop company which means my schedule is mainly early mornings. When Harlow was born, we couldn't afford the outrageous costs of daycare. We were also obsessed with her, so we both wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. So we made the decision to move forward into a very delicate logistical balancing act- the working of opposite shifts. As it stands now, we have all of Sunday and two evenings together a week. And that's it, unless by some miracle Jeremy is able to leave the restaurant early some nights. It had its own challenges and rewards, that's for sure.
Independence from one another
We each get consistent quality time alone with Harlow
We get to do our own thing
We both work the same amount of hours so there is never that weird domestic dynamic that sometimes happens when one partner works more than the other
We get to watch our own shows (which seems silly but is actually super important when you think about it)
We don't have to constantly be trying to entertain each other
We focus really strongly on QUALITY time
We don't get annoyed with each other as often as we would if we were around each other all the time
We have time to pursue our own hobbies
Our time together is special
We appreciate each other more
We can spend the money we would have spent on daycare on things that are important to us (at least 2 vacations a year, making birthdays and Christmas extravagant, experiences, nice things for ourselves and our home, etc.)
It works for us
There never seems to be enough time
Logistics can be (very) stressful when one of us has a meeting or work event that disrupts our routine.
We don't have the traditional daily meal-sharing times as a family
We miss each other
There are some days where we don't see each other at all
We each become starved for attention/affection at times
It can feel like we're parenting on our own
There is a lot of organizing schedules that go into making this work
I don't think this will be forever for us. Once Harlow is in school full time, we should be able to have some room to adjust our lives and create a more family-friendly schedule. But for now, as hard as it can be, it works.
If you have a non-traditional work schedule and family dynamic because of it, I see you.