Friday, May 19, 2017

That 2nd Shift Life - Creatively Connecting With Your Spouse

A night at The Buffalo Tavern
Burlington after work
One of the things I cherish most about my relationship is our commitment to making time for each other. In the crazy day-to-day life that is work and kids and friends and family, it can be really easy to lose sight of your partner in the mix. You can easily become partners in a taxi cab service instead of partners in life who are connected and invested in each other as much as (or more than) the world around you. One of the things that can make that particularly difficult to manage, is when you have opposite schedules. I work a more traditional "first shift" job with schools, while Shon works a 2nd shift job. I am home to see my kids at the end of the school day, but Shon leaves shortly before they get out of school and isn't home again until after bedtime. It's not unheard of for the kids to go a couple weeks without any real time with him, depending on the schedule with their dad (but I'll save
step-parent bonding for another post).

So what do you do when from 7am until 11:30pm you're on opposite schedules, just in time to go to bed? Sometimes I whine about it, to be honest. It's not convenient or ideal most days. But it's our life and we make it work for us. Here are a few of the things that have worked best for us!

1. Finding a show to watch together. Right now we're watching The Game on Hulu, which consists of 20-25 minute episodes. I know, you're shocked, we're watching a show about football. Having a short sitcom we can watch together means we can sneak in an episode if we happen to have a lunch break together, or maybe catch one or two before I fall asleep for the night.

That one time I beat him at darts...
2. Naps! I've found that if I can catch a little nap after the kids go to bed, but before Shon gets home, I will occasionally have the energy (if he can get me to wake up again!) to stay up and talk or watch a movie once he gets home.

3. Bar games. I'm 30. I'm not about going out and drinking very often at this point (if at all, it seems like), but when Shon was working weekends it was not uncommon for us to plan a date night that didn't start until 11:30. We'd pick some music and, while I'm still completely terrible at it, I found that I really enjoy
playing darts! I even got my own pink set for Christmas last year.

4. We protect our weekends. If you've ever read my blog, you know that a free weekend is hard to come by, but we've made it a priority to try and protect at least a chunk of "us" time on the weekend as much as possible - usually Sundays. Sometimes that means taking the kids to the park and sometimes that means spending the day in bed with Pizza Hut Cajun fries and binge watching Netflix. It's not always easy to carve out the time, especially when it seems like there is always something coming up or going on, but we make it work.

5. Lunch dates. On days I work from home or nearby we can sometimes sneak in a date at Subway or Whoop-ti-doo's (stay tuned for that blog post because the Big Boy panini is ah-may-zing). It's not super fancy, but while some people do dinner dates, we just happen to get lunch. We work with what's in our schedule.

I know a lot of my friends are in similar situations. I'd love to hear what other ideas you've come up with!

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