Not to step on your feet or anything, Elle, but I wanted to add a couple things to your post. Hope you don’t mind…
Just for clarification, the swapping of two days is nothing really. When we were seeing F twice a week it complicated things but now it’s just annoying when you’ve made plans. Of course the kids don’t quite always take it so well when they’re looking forward to [insert activity here] and then hear it will be delayed by a day.
What’s so upsetting is the fact that Ben is supposed to work 10 hour shifts 4 nights a week. Lately though, there have been shipment delays due to weather and other issues and when there isn’t a shipment, they send people home.
Within the last 3 weeks or so, Ben has shown up for work at 10pm and then is told they’re only working until 2am or 4am. If they’re lucky, maybe 6am. He is supposed to work until 8:30am. Because Ben is a direct hire, he gets to stay an hour or two longer than if he were contracting like about half the crew is. It must so suck to be a temp. Not only can you be told you no longer have a job with no notice, you are being sent home only after 4-6 hours of work.
So now everyone’s scrambling for hours. They come in on Sunday night, are sent home after half their shift and are told they need to come back tomorrow night – their night off. They come in on their night off only to be told they will leave early again. So when they’re told to come in on their next night off, too, they comply because they need the hours.
It may seem like it’s not a big deal. Like yay, more time to sleep. But no. Unless you plan on being a jerk and biting off everyone’s head the next night, you had better stay up and go to bed when you normally do. Otherwise you’ll crash, wake up earlier than usual, and struggle the whole night long because you’ve been awake since before noon. It sucks, but even on Ben’s nights off, we try really hard to not crawl into bed until it’s at least light out.
Working 3rd shift is HELL. Not just on your social life and errand running either. It really screws with your system – your mind, your body, the way you feel. For those afflicted with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), it can send one into a devastating depression not seeing the daylight for more than the time it takes you to drive home in the morning. I don’t think any of us have it, but I know someone who does and it’s a serious and nasty condition. It’s like the world is spinning one direction and you’re forcing yourself to go the opposite. It’s just not natural.
Last night Ben said 4 called in “sick.” His theory is that they took the night off to use their sick/vacation pay so they’d at least get a full 10 hour shift in for one night this week. That makes me sick. If Ben hadn’t used his sick/vacation pay while we were without power, he would’ve done the same.
I don’t know what I’m really saying here. I guess I’m venting. I know it’s not the end of the world. I know there are so many worse things. I know we’re not really in any position to whine anymore. I just wanted to point out how frustrating it is to not have any real sense of what to expect when it comes to Ben’s job.
I don’t know what it’s like for other multiple families, but for us, time is extremely important. There are a lot of us and there is a lot to do. We constantly feel like we don’t have enough time. We’re still getting used to Ben working. It’s been nearly 5 months now, but we’re still struggling. Our anxiety keeps us from spending more time with him. Agoraphobia prevents us from running errands with him so most of the time he stops at the grocery store on his way home from work. Sometimes he leaves for work early to run an errand. If we weren’t so afraid of leaving our home, we could use that time to spend together.
I agree with Elle that yes, PSTD continues to haunt us and prevents us from experiencing life fully. But we’re not really to blame. We are reacting to the life we’ve lived, a life that we were subjected to. We didn’t choose to be tormented and exploited. We didn’t seek out those monsters that taught us to fear and distrust everything and everyone, most of all ourselves. None of that was our choice. None of us had the control. Without those, there cannot be blame.
We just need to keep doing the best we can. We are still learning. It’s going to take time. We weren’t shown patience growing up, but we can learn to be patient with ourselves now. I think the more pressure we put on ourselves to not be anxious, the more prone we’ll be to having a panic attack. Isn’t that how it always is?