I have worked nights for almost 15 years now in one job or another. This was a choice we made when we started having kids to make sure I was home during the day. My husband would take care of getting our kids dinner and into bed at night while I was at work into the early morning hours. Although day care works for others we decided this worked best for us. Thankfully I have an amazing husband that took on this role and magnified his job as a dad. I will have to do a post about that some other time.
As the years went on I have continued working during normal “sleeping hours” even after my kids started school because I have a great job and I am able to make better money on the over night shift compared to the day shift. The biggest drawback I have found is a lack of “good” sleep. I currently do take weekends off and get a full night sleep but during the week my sleep is spread out into sections. My schedule is in the early morning hours so I will sleep for a few hours when my kids go to bed until I get up to work and then work until it is time to get them ready for school. I then take a nap during the day for a few hours while they are at school in between house work and other necessities. I have done this long enough that I guess I think my body is used to it but I do find those days that I am just dragging and worn out. I also find that I often get sick easier when I am really worn down. My family will all confirm that I usually cannot sit down to watch a movie with them without falling asleep. I think my body is saying “here is your opportunity, shut it down now” and it does!
I have found ways over the years to help me sleep better at night and during the day. First I do make sure I go to bed at night when my kids do and get a few hours before working. During the day I make the room dark with blacked out curtains and close the bedroom door to block out sunlight. I also turn off the phones (except my cell phone in case my family has an emergency). I also try to take a nap around the same time every day. Although this has been a struggle for me personally over the years I have found ways to make it work better for me and I do think the benefits I have seen by being home for my kids outweigh the times I do struggle.
I know there are many who sacrifices for what they believe is best for themselves and their families. What sacrifices are you making? What do you find is the biggest challenge with doing that and what ways are you facing those challenges?”