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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Countdown to dread... single mother schedule

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This is a different sort of post.  About something happening in our family that I dread.

For 14 years now, my husband has worked the "off shift" - meaning 2nd & 3rd shift.  He worked 3rd shift when our children were young, but then 4 years ago his company shut down 3rd shift and forced everyone onto 1st or 2nd.  We hoped and hoped that he would get onto 1st shift (everything in warehouses & factories is based on seniority, those with the most "time in" with the company are typically on 1st shift)... but alas, he was forced on to 2nd.  The reason we dreaded 2nd is that our children would be entering school, and a 2nd shift schedule of 3-11 (or in his case 4-12:30, with an hour commute each way so really 3 pm-1:30 am, and he's too wound up to fall asleep much earlier than 3 am) -  just doesn't fit in with family life.

We made a pact when our oldest was in kindergarten that if my husband wasn't on 1st shift by the time our son was in 1st grade, he would look for another job.  Well, that was 2 1/2 years ago now.  My husband isn't the ambitious one, that's me.  So that date passed, and for 2 years of school my husband didn't see much of our eldest son during the school year.

Now, the worst case scenario is happening.  My middle son is entering kindergarten, and my youngest is entering every morning preschool through the school district.  All 3 of them will be getting on the bus at 8 am and the eldest two will not be home until about 4:30 (youngest home around 1, when hubby usually napping).  This means that my husband will not see our children during the week.  At all.  As in, he wakes up after they are gone at school, and leaves before they are home at night.  Sigh.  I really am dreading this.  Although I've been a stay at home mom for 8 years now, I began farming part time 2 years ago.  Now that we have our own farm, I work approximately 40 hours per week on the farm & at farmers market, etc.  This means that I will now be living the life of a single working mom, doesn't it?!  Getting kids ready in morning and off to school? Me.  Working during day?  Me.  Cooking meals?  Me.  Homework time?  Me.  Baths, books, bed?  Me.

Now, granted I'm not new to this schedule, I've been doing it with my oldest for 2 years now.  I'm just dreading that now the rest of my sons are going to school and they have to live like this now as well.  It's extremely stressful on me, I won't kid around.  Another thing I'm torn about: the boys love going to their grandparents houses.  Now that school is starting, they'll only be able to see their grandparents on weekends.  Do I now take that away from them so they don't miss any daddy time?  I'm torn here, because it's not their fault their father has a horrible work schedule.  I see no reason they should have to give up their time at grandma & grandpa's house. 

Please everyone keep us in your thoughts & prayers if you do that, I truly just don't know how this is going to go.  My main goal is to build the farm up enough to be able to support our family so my husband can leave his job and we can both take something part-time in addition to the farmwork (I work full time weekends during the winter at a local catalog sales company).  I see no other way out of this.  I don't need a lot, all our clothes are purchased secondhand, I shop at thrift stores, I cook from scratch and grow a lot of our own food. We have an outside health insurance that we pay for, so we don't need his work for health insurance purposes.

Another clincher is that our house in town hasn't sold yet.  My in-laws are renting it for the amount of our payment, so we're breaking even there (well, actually we're losing a bit due to maintenance & repairs, but it's not bleeding us yet).  The plan was for them to rent our house in town until it sold, then for them to rent one of the mobile homes on the farm.  This would help out so much to paying for the farm taxes.  The property taxes here are outrageous, the taxes are more than our monthly mortgage. So, renting a mobile home would help in the grand plan that is "save my family" from this horrible schedule.

Anyway, that's my rant.  The boys start school in one week.

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