I know that I am a very lucky military spouse. We had our squadron spouse’s social this past Friday and of course the deployment topic came up. I think that only one spouse had a husband who had deployed more than once. Ah the joys of being security forces. B has been non-deployable for all of his career so far. 13 months at Minot, 17 months at Ramstein, and now we’re 12 months in to our current tour. One thing is for sure, he’ll be at the top of the list to go once we PCS next year.
That said, the part of his job that I dislike the most is their shifting schedules. My husband works flight, so he’s part of the group that provides 24/7/365 security. No 0730-1630 hours for us. It’s traditional for SFS to work 12 hour shifts, which turn into 15+ hour days just at work. It’s been recently mandated that 8 hour shifts are expected and pretty much required. B wrote the 8 hour shift schedule for our current base at the end of last summer. And now, the time has come for him to shift to the midnight shift.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a sucky shift. He leaves for work before 9pm and doesn’t come home until after 7 am (because 8 hour shifts mean at least 10 hour work days). Then he sleeps for 7-8 hours, and then I’m teaching. By the time I’m done teaching, we have about two hours to eat dinner and spend time together before he has to leave for work.
The first time he went on to nights, he got off a few hours earlier each night, so I just stayed up to wait on him. I mean, we were living in a hotel room, I had no job or friends really. So it didn’t hurt to stay exactly on his schedule. The second time he was on nights, I was working at a daycare center. He would come home from work, we’d cuddle in bed for a bit and then I would go to work. By the time I got home he was often off to meetings. This time, I don’t work until the afternoons and even then I’m in our home. It’s definitely easier than it was before, though still hard to go shut myself in a room with a piano student when my husband is home.
What I’ve been trying to figure out, is how to work my own sleep schedule. We both want to be a bit flexible so that on his off days we get as much time together as possible. What we’ve come up with so far is that I stay up each night until around 2 am and sleep until 10 am. Then I get up and take care of the house, dog, chores, before my lessons start arriving. He sleeps right when he gets home and he’s currently aiming for about 7 hours of sleep. Then, on weekends I’ll stay up until 3 or 4 with him and he’ll go to bed a few hours early so that we can get up at a decent time the next day to do things together.
And I think it will work well, it’s just this adjustment period is leaving me exhausted. I’m doing my best to give myself things to do late at night (I’m currently baking bread) so that I have to stay up. I’ve also taken to doing a second dog walk/run right when he leaves to help myself get energized for the rest of the evening.
Have you ever had a significant other work opposite shift from you? How did you handle together time?