The sacrifices we must make
My husband and I had a far from traditional dating period. We met online and then met in person in a bar. I moved away soon afterwards for six months and our entire relationship was over instant messenger. When I moved back, we were immediately engaged.
We were married a year and a half later. That also wasn’t terribly traditional. We actually gave our photographer a headache I’m sure. I had my male best friends on my side and my husband had his female best friends on his. My husband and I ended up correcting many poses of “His side” and “Her side” of the wedding party.
Kathryn came along a year later and daycare was a necessity. In her life, my child has been through eight different daycares. That’s more child care facilities than my kid has years behind her. Eight. Of those eight, five of them violated health codes or laws. Four of them shut down; one by the state because a child in their care drowned while on a field trip to the local pool. Because of one facility, my child made state-wide news because they placed her and sixteen other children in the back of a pickup truck to transport them from school to the facility. I withdrew her from that center the next day.
Shortly after that incident, I was laid off from a previous job. I took her out of a daycare that allowed the kids to do as they pleased and failed to live up to promises they made to improve conditions. My child had many personal items (jackets, bookbags, lunchboxes) damaged while at this daycare. For six months, it was just Kathryn and me. My husband and I dropped her off and I picked her up.
See, my husband doesn’t work regular hours. He has not in years and has never worked regular 9-5 hours in the lifetime of my child. I was actually pregnant with her the last time my husband had a regular day-time job. He has held an 11-8 shift now for three years running.
Being a stay-at-home mom, though, wasn’t cutting it. Though my stress level decreased significantly and my health increased dramatically, the bills were suffering the consequence. And so, back to job hunting I went.
I was lucky. I found a job quickly doing basically what I went to college for (something I hadn’t done in thirteen years!). I was thrilled with the prospect! The only catch was that I had to make a major sacrifice. But, considering how nontraditional my small little family has historically been, why break that now?
My hours are 10pm to 6 am. So, while my husband and child are all snug in their beds I am here, in front of my computer, doing a job that I spent five years in college to do. But see, I’m not complaining about my job. Gosh no!
Because of my job, I am able to sleep while my child is at school. Because of my job I am able to do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do for years, again. Because of my job I’m not paying $80 a month for someone to somewhat watch my child. Because of my job, I pick my child up from school every day and lead her Girl Scout troop every other week. These are the exact things I had strived for.
However, on the flipside are the sacrifices I have made. Because of my job, I only see my husband on average 1.5 hours a day. He takes her to school in the mornings as I go to bed. We eat dinner together when he gets home and I head to work. Any other communication between each other is via a wipe off board in our dining room and text messages. It takes its toll, but we manage.
Because of my job I must leave all personal business with companies to my husband, as I am asleep for the majority of business hours. Because of my job, my family and friends never know when to call me, fearful that they may wake me. I’ve been at my job now for nine months this week and there are a few who still don’t understand why I can’t meet for lunch or breakfast.. or even return a phone call by 1 pm. Because of my job, I must only schedule doctor and other appointments in the late afternoon or only on my day off. Sleep cannot be sacrificed the same way a day at work can be. Sleep does not offer ‘vacation hours’. Because of my job, I cannot help at my daughter’s school as much as I wish to. Because of my job, my plate becomes fuller, faster.
But, I have a job… and here I am.