Rosie - posted on 04/20/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )




ok. so i get home from a really crappy day at work, and walk into the mudroom to find my 2 year old playing in cat litter. i go inside the house and my husband is asleep on the couch. he's done this plenty of times before, and it really irritates me.
he works at night, so by the time i get home from work, he's been up for almost 18 hours, with only 6 hours of sleep the day before. sometimes, even less sleep. i know he's tired, and i know that right now he doesn't feel good (migraines), but seriously, should i quit my job that i work 3-5 hours a day so he can go to sleep. the money that we do make from me working is needed. i work approximately 25 hours a week. we work opposite of each other so we don't have to have daycare, it's pointless to work if we had to pay daycare, all of my check would go to it.
am i unreasonable to expect him to stay up and watch our kids for 4 hours? how do i go about confronting him, without sounding like an arrogant, uncaring bitch?


Jocelyn - posted on 04/20/2010




It's not unreasonable for you to expect him to watch the kids. I work at a bar (3-4 times a week) and the earliest I get home most days is 2:30 am. And I'm up again at 7:30 to take the kids. But my hubby also worked nights for a few years and I saw how tired he was; and I was only working once a week then. Is it possible for you to cut down on the days you work? I'm not talking a lot, but maybe giving him one day to sleep in the middle of the week would help. Or even just finding a babysitter once a week. I know how hard it is. When our son was about 16 months or so, (we were living at my parents at this point) and I was at work. My hubby was working the night shift back then, and my mother came home to find him asleep on the couch with our son just bawling his eyes out because he couldn't wake up his daddy. It just makes your heart break. But it is hard to function on 4 hours of sleep. You might just have to talk to him and tell him how dangerous him falling asleep could be for the kids (ie, your son playing, and potentially eating, cat litter). Maybe offer to make him coffee before you leave for work? Sorry if I'm not much help, but you're not alone in your frustrations.


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Brandy - posted on 04/21/2010




I don't think men come equipped with the same tolerance for staying alert and functional for the same periods of time that a mother can. When our first was 8 months old, my birthday came around and my friend wanted to take me out and since I was still breastfeeding, we decided to go to a movie after me and my fiance went to a birthday dinner with our daughter. She would usually go to bed at about 8:30-9:00 at that time. Well me and my friend left for the movie at about 8:00 and she dropped me off at 11:30 and my daughter was playing in the livingroom, the tv was cranked and daddy was sleeping on the couch. For how long, I have no idea. Lucky, I'm a good child-proofer and she couldn't get into anything dangerous. I think men just can't handle staying awake when they are tired as well as we can.

Mary - posted on 04/21/2010




Kati, as a night shift girl myself, I have no idea how he does it...I couldn't. I work 7p-7a two nights a week. How that breaks down on that first night - I have typically gotten up by 6am with my 17 month old. We have a full morning of laundry/household chores/shopping/playing/whatever (oh, and at least a 3 mile walk with the dogs! I typically take her to my parent's at about 1:30, so that I can get a nap (or at least lay quietly) from 2-4pm. I leave my house at 6pm, work my ass off in a fairly physical job for 12 hours, and, depending on traffic, get home around 8:30 am. I am just about brain dead by then, and beyond exhausted. I would NOT be safe to take care of her at that point.

Luckily, my husband has a fair amount of flexibility in his schedule, so that I can sleep at least 2 1/3-3hrs before he has to leave. Now, I am still tired, but it's do-able. We eat lunch, and walk those damned dogs again to keep me moving. When she goes down for her afternoon nap, I can sometimes catch another 45 min or so. Problem is, as tired as you are it is not always easy to sleep well during the day, and I am usually just holding out until she goes to bed at 8pm...and I'm asleep within 5 minutes of her.

Kelly is right...working nights IS different from days...the sleep is not the same. It's hard to understand unless you've done it. Even if I get 4 or five solid hours, I still wake up feeling hungover and lethargic. I understand your frustration with you husband (I would be livid!) - but I feel for him as well, and know just how bone-tired he must be.

Is there anyway that you could work a later shift so that he could at least get a little bit of sleep before you left? I don't know how flexible your hours are, and if it's not possible, it's not - I get that. But something may have to give somewhere before something worse than the cat litter incident happens - to either a child OR him.

I feel for both of you, I really do, and I hope there is a workable solution for all of you.

Rosie - posted on 04/21/2010




i'm gonna try to take a day off, every other week. and stress to him to uber importance of staying up, and moving around. the whole analogy of him not falling asleep at work hit me hard. of course he wouldn't, and i want him to see that parallel. i also want to show him that i understand he's tired, so i'm willing to give up the one day everyother week (i've already given up one day every other week, starting 2 weeks ago for this exact same reason. on sat. he get's 4 hours of sleep cause they make him go in earlier, so i went from working every saturday to every other saturday to help out there)
compromise is good for me :)

Rosie - posted on 04/21/2010




i have told him to get moving around kelly, cause i know that always works for me, but he was in a car accident 3 years ago and messed up his ankle really bad. he has horrible arthritis now and after a 10 hour day at work then he gets home, it stiffins up to the point where he can't walk without a HUGE limp and then he's a couch potato till i get home. april does make a good point, so does kelly. he would never fall asleep at work no matter how tired he is. i think i've decide how to handle this. thanks guys!!

April - posted on 04/21/2010




my husband has a job where he never knows when he will be called. it could be two in the morning or 6 at night or 11 am. You get the idea. Sometimes he is awake for 2 days at a time and still manages to keep our son safe if I cannot be with him. However, it is ususally no more than 2 hours. He has a tough time staying awake, so he won't even lay down. He will play with our son or take him outside...anything to keep himself awake until I get back.

I know a lot of people said why don't you quit your job, etc.. but what about responsibility? I'm afraid if you quit, you're letting your husband off easy. My husband is sometimes like this. It is like that old saying, if you give them your finger...they'll try to take your whole hand. As moms, we work ourselves to exhaustion and yet we are never given the same respect as a man who works at a "real job". Anyway, you know your husband best and what's right for your family! Good luck!!

[deleted account]

Working nights is harder than working days because we are working against our biological clocks. People working nights generally need 1-2 hours more sleep each day than those working days, and it sounds like your hubby is getting 2 hours less each day than the average day worker.

Is there anyway he could take a quick power nap when he gets home in the morning before you go to work? Just a 20 minute nap would give him an energy boost that would take him through the 5 hours he has to watch the little ones.
Also, try giving him a list of things he needs to do with the children at certain times (so that he doesn't have so much time to sit down and fall asleep. Also, physical movement releases several chemicals in our body which produce energy, so the more he moves around, the less tired he will be....until he gets still, then he'll be in deep sleep in just seconds.
It's really dangerous for him to be asleep with a 2 yr old awake--what if he fell asleep at work, he needs to treat watching his children the same way.

[deleted account]

Just as an idea (and it would only work depending on the hours that you work) but could you get someone to come in for an hour or two each day (maybe a student or a lady who has retired but would be willing to just do a bit here and there), that way your husband could go to bed if he feels that he needs to or if he doesn't need to, they could just do a few odd-jobs around the house for you. Having just an hour or two shouldn't work out too expensive (compared to daycare)??? Just a thought!

Amanda - posted on 04/20/2010




the sleep deprivation while driving is very serious... my biological father died two weeks before my sixth birthday from driving home from a longass shift at work and fell asleep behind the wheel and hit a tree..

you definately need to figure something out between the two of you, whether it's you maybe take a night off, or he starts going to bed earlier or something... even lack of money doesn't trump lack of a parent... Good luck figuring it out!!

[deleted account]

My husband works nights too so I can really sympathize!

We don't do this anymore but...
I used to put my daughter down for a nap the same time my husband laid down to go to sleep. I would run out on errands with his assurances that he would wake up if she cried. I'd come home to a hysterical baby screaming in her crib, husband snoring. So we don't do that anymore.

If I were you, I'd quit my job and cut back on expenses. I'm not soliciting, this is just a suggestion...I'm a representative in a direct sales company. I love it. My goal is one show a week and I do "business" stuff during naptime if I need to. I make between $500-$1000 extra a month by only working one night a week and doing small business things here and there throughout the week. Not bad if you ask me. Could your husband watch the kids just one night a week for you to do something like this? Sure beats working 3-5 days a week and having an exhausted husband.

Whatever you decide, I hope you find something that works for your family. *hug* I know it can be frustrating.

Jennifer - posted on 04/20/2010




Only getting 6 hrs of sleep a night can really wear on a person. I don't blame him for falling asleep. He is probably a walking zombie.
My husband is gone from the house from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm, he gets 7hrs of sleep a night and can still bearly keep his eyes open when he is home.
I would seriously consider cutting some work hours if at all possible.

Carolee - posted on 04/20/2010




Let him know that if he can't watch the kids, then you HAVE to quit your job and stay home. If you guys need the money (which you say you do), then he will have to get a second job to make up for the loss of your job. Those really are his choices... stay awake or get a second job.

C. - posted on 04/20/2010




I heard sleep deprivation is more dangerous than driving while drunk. I had a friend who just had an accident a couple weeks ago (he had just gotten to his hometown from Iraq- not his duty station b/c he had a family emergency- and I believe he was going home from seeing his ailing father.. Hit a tree, fractured a vertebrae, has to be in a back brace for several weeks with months of physical therapy.) Anyway, just as dangerous or even more so.. Your hubby needs some more rest. Best of luck to you for figuring it out, Kati!!!

[deleted account]

My husband used to do the same thing and it drove me nuts! I would just sit down and have a talk with him about it without getting mad. Just don't make it about him leaving your 2 year old unattended and instead try to approach it as a "you need to get more sleep issue" Like Jocelyn said maybe he just needs a day to catch up. When my husband worked on the rigs he would work 12 hour shifts and then drive 2 1/2 hours home and it used to scare me because it isn't uncommon for those guys to fall asleep at the wheel. I read a study that found a person who is sleep deprived has the same reaction time behind the wheel as an intoxicated person. Scary stuff!

C. - posted on 04/20/2010




Hmm.. It isn't unreasonable, but at the same time it is.. It isn't b/c he's your husband and he has responsibilities, too.. It is b/c he gets little sleep and has to stay up long hours. This is a hard situation to be in from both ends. I am a migraine sufferer, and let me tell you.. It is no picnic. There have been days where I literally would take 4 Advil or 2 Excedrin Migraine (whatever we had at the time), go lay down in my dark bedroom for 5 hours, sometimes even sleep until morning, and my headache still wouldn't have gone away completely. It's very hard to function when having a migraine. That was before I had my son, though. Since I had my son, I just have to suck it up and get at least a few things done during the day. But I know where your husband is coming from b/c they are excruciatingly painful. ANYWAY, sorry about all that.. If I were you, I would maybe cut out one day a week.. I like Jocelyn's idea of maybe giving him one day in the middle of the week where he can sleep more.

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