5 Days Off! That’s A Mini Vacation!: The Life Of A Shift Worker0
When I went into hospital nursing I thought that having 4 or 5 days off in a row sounded fantastic. It was practically a mini holiday and I could not wait to start working just to get 5 days off in a row! We work extended shifts and work from 7:15 to 7:30, on either side of the clock.
While I wasn’t blind to the idea that shift work would be challenging, it is more challenging than I thought it would be as a mum. I think the sleep deprivation is what makes it so tough for me and the general pace that you keep when you have small children. So, what does 5 days off look like for me now? Shift work definitely does have its perks and allows for a lot of flexibility as a mum.
Day 1– Get off work and get home! Today is considered my first day off but I’ve really worked all night long. I’m usually pretty exhausted and head to bed after eating some toast and eggs. I slept from 8:30 AM till about 12:30 PM, but really could have used a lot more sleep but always trying to protect that ‘night time’ sleep.
When I wake up, I stumbled around and drink a cup of coffee. I laid on the couch and felt like a pile of crap for most of the day. This sequence of events hasn’t changed much in the 8 years that I’ve worked shift work, I’ve never rebounded easily from night shifts.
Tonight I’m meeting some girls from work and heading to a movie. This is a special treat considering I’ve been away from home for the last 5 days for work. I meet up with the girls and see the Kings Speech and get my second wind around 9 PM. Silly me doesn’t get to bed until after midnight, despite knowing that a little boy will be an early bird in the morning.
Day 2– Today we have an out of town play date to get to! I still feel mostly dreadful from night shifts, but having a planned event like this helps me get back into the swing of things. I went and picked up my Zip car and away we went to Abbotsford!
I’ll leave out the gross parts of the day, but let’s just say that Ben got a little motion sickness during our car ride. Once we get there the fun begins! I sip a homemade latte with my girlfriends and the children play around. This is not a regular event, and I enjoyed each moment that we spent together.
When we get home Ben goes for his nap and I start scrubbing toilets and doing the laundry from the last few days.
Day 3-This was my laziest day by far! I stayed in my pyjamas until 12 noon and puttered around the house while my husband shopped for fresh food at the public market on Granville Island. I played with my son in the little tent in his bedroom and did more housework. Once the delightful afternoon nap came, I stepped out and ran errands out and about downtown. It is so nice when I get days off over the weekend, having my husband off helps out so much.
Day 4– Shift work has haunted me and I have a case of insomnia from 3-5 AM. I am able to fall back to sleep and wake up to a lovely sunny morning in the city! I’m finally getting back to my ideal energy level and enjoy a relaxed morning at home before heading out. We Zip off to North Vancouver for a play date at our dear friends home. I thoroughly enjoy the day and then head home to put Ben down for his nap.
My youngest sister comes over for dinner and we cap off the day by sipping wine and relaxing at home while critiquing Jersey Shore.
Day 5– I start to go into my ‘back to work regime’, and I think about all the things that need to be done before I disappear for a chunk of time. I like to have a clean house and a tidy bedroom before I head back to work.
I go out with Ben and we walk the city doing errands. Dropping things off, picking other things up and generally just checking things off my ‘to do’ list. We come home and I do more house work and impress myself with cleaning our dark wooden furniture.
I make dinner for my little family (chicken parmigiana and asparagus) and then give my boy a bath and send him off to bed. I’m thinking about making it an early night, but I know that I’ll get a second wind and stay up too late. Back to the grind in the morning!