Thursday, May 14, 2009

They Call Me the Working Man

Hubbie has been in the Midwest this week for a training seminar. Because I knew that I would be single-parenting it for a few days, the kids have been on a fairly strict dinner, brush, story, and bed routine.

The past two nights? Both children have been asleep by 9.30. A miracle by our standards. Now, other families might find putting kids to bed at 7.30 and having them take two hours to fall asleep a nightmare. It is. But to have them asleep by 9.30 instead of 11.30 is a miracle.

It has proven a point to me that I have hereforto not wanted to accept. Our kids need an earlier bedtime.

We have been keeping them up later at night so that Hubbie can spend time with them. They are often not in bed until 9pm, which means Hubbie and I spend the next 2-3 hours trying to keep the kids in bed. We get nothing done. There is no quality time for the two of us. We don't have dinner until 9.30-10, and no matter how much we joke that we are Mediterranean at heart our ever expanding girth is proof positive that eating so late at night is taking its toll.

Hubbie will arrive home in the wee hours of the morning. He will crash for a few hours and then head to the office. The kids will never see him. Par for the course on nights his boss keeps him obscenely late.

This weekend, we have a decision to make. Do I keep the children on the 7.30 bed schedule? If I do, Hubbie will never see them awake. As it is, he leaves before they wake up and comes home after they've had dinner. He is in charge of their bath and bedtime routine so that they have some modicum of daily interaction. If we stick to the earlier schedule, I will have to assume those responsibilities. And I don't want them. If I wanted to be a single parent, I would not have fought tooth and nail for my marriage.

With school letting out next week, the kids can stay up and sleep late without repercussion. It does not solve the issue of our time together. That a post of a different color. With no end in sight to the hours my husband is currently working, it is difficult to be proactive in finding a solution to this issue. How does one choose between a healthy sleep schedule and quality time with their father?


Anonymous said...

This is such a tough one.

When I was working 2nd shift, this became an issue. The only time I ever saw the kids was in the morning. I took it upon myself to be the one responsible for getting them up and ready for school, just to have those moments, because getting home at 10:30 an night meant they were already sleeping. But sometimes, they'd just lay there awake, then come bounding down the stairs when I got home. Those hours between mom yelling "Get back into bed!" and me getting home were exhausting for her. So I made the time in the mornings, just to ease their minds that, Yes, dad will see you in the morning, so you can rest easy.

As I said, it's tough . . .

Blues said...

That's really a hard one. I honestly don't know what I would do. I wouln't have a clue about how to make this decision.

What kind of quality together time is involved in the weekends between your hubbie and the kids?

Mouthy Girl said...

It goes without saying that this is a crap shoot.

Buddha definitely stays up later than his counterparts at school because that's just how his sleep cycle is, and when my and Husband Guy's hours fluctuate at work, there's nothing we can do about a "set bedtime."

HG and I usually share the bedtime duties, but I'm the one who is successful at getting Buddha to SLEEP. HG doesn't have the patience and where-with-all to stomach getting a kid to sleep. I have attempted to train him, but he sucks. Period.

I know that Buddha's bedtime will be more stringent this summer because of a job I'm taking while not teaching. We'll see how long it takes me to get him on a real schedule. Parents who are able to get their kids to sleep easily are tops on my list. I suck at it. For real.

A Free Man said...

That's a tough call and I realize that we're lucky - if one of us is home after 6 it's a crazy day.

I do know that the longer Zach stays up past his bedtime, the more unmanageable he is and the more difficult he is to get to bed. But ultimately I think it's a question of routine - early or late I think you probably have to be consistent.

What the hell do I know?

Patois42 said...

What I've done personally? Sacrificed my quality time for the kids to spend it with their dad. Am I a martyr? Yeah.

No, but I guess I just felt he and I could understand the lack of time with each other and the kids couldn't be made to understand their lack of time with him.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Wow. That's a hard call, hon. Is there any way Mr. NATUI can do the morning routine? Or is he off before the kids get out of bed? Maybe getting them in bed earlier with an earlier bedtime would give them the ability to get up early enough for a dad-morning routine. That would leave you time to shower (while he's feeding them/whatever).

I don't know. That's tough. I guess it comes down to you and what you're most comfortable with.

Love you, hon. Hope you figure it out!

Irrational Dad said...

That's a real toughie. My dad always worked different shifts. He worked for GM and would be on first shift for a while, then second.... he seemed to prefer third, because of the pay premium it offered (if my memory serves). What do I remember of my dad in my childhood? Not much, really. I remember he smoked weed ALL THE TIME. I don't really have any memories of him being a "dad" to me. As such, I've realized that he just doesn't fit into my life (sad, I know). I haven't seen nor spoken to him in around 10 years. I did try to reconnect once, only to find out that nothing had changed.

The answer to your problem... I have NO idea. A consistent sleep schedule is a necessity, but they also MUST have time with their father, or else they just won't know him. Could you imagine not knowing your father? Good luck. Seriously.