Working different shifts


My wife works second shift and I work first. Her schedule is all around as she is a nurse, and the nights she is off it is great, no problems, but when she works, she gets off at 12:30 and gets upset when I have been sleeping for an hour and am just drowsy and not in a communicative mood. I’ve tried to go to bed earlier, but the same thing happens, and I cannot jeopardize the work by staying up every night she works and being drowsy the next day. Anybody have advice for a guy who really feels bad that his wife gets upset in these situations. It is also hard with NFP let me tell you.


Hi johnnyjohnjohn, welcome to CAF! :wave:

DH and I work different shifts - I work from 8a-4p and he works from 5:30pm-3 or 4am. We are kind of like ships passing in the night so-to-speak. We only get to spend about an hour a day together (which sucks), so I can understand your situation with your DW.

Maybe your wife is not really getting mad at you per-se, but she is just frustrated because she misses you. Why not make one night a week for date-night? That way you can both look forward to spending quality time together and catch up on everything going on in your lives? It might take some stress off of the late nights she works. You should also explain to her that staying up late (although you want to see her when she comes home) is taking a toll on your work day, maybe she didn’t realize it was getting like this.


Welcome to CAF, Johnnyjohnjohn.

I’m a stay at home mom of 2 little ones and my husband typically works 3 to 4 12-hour night shifts per week as a nurse. He’s gone 5:30 pm and home by 8 am, chats, crashes til 4:30 or 5, gets up and does it all again. Flipping to a day schedule on his off nights is tricky; sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

My schedule doesn’t change; I’m nursing a 2 month old, so in a sense I’m working 'round the clock.

We **both **have physically strenuous jobs, and sleep is very important–this cannot be overstated.

So I feel for you, and I’m happy for your wife that you are here asking for advice to change things.

Some ideas:

The next time you’re both near the calendar, look it over together and ask which nights/days should be your “together” times. Write them down on the calendar. Then send or leave her little reminders (a hidden note for her to find, or a voice mail or text message) just saying, “Hey, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you tomorrow night/_______(fill in the blank).”

You don’t have to have elaborate plans; could be just a walk around the block holding hands, or maybe a quiet chat on the couch, or even a bubble bath for two.:slight_smile:

Depending on her commute time, maybe she can call you on her way home just to chat about your shifts, then you can go to sleep & she feels like she’s connected with you?

Sometimes I just need to hear my husband’s reassuring voice, and know that we’ve “shared” some time together, even if its over the phone, just to keep me going.

Also, I would recommend the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It might give you some insights into your wife’s preferred ways of being shown she is loved by you, as well as other suggestions.


If she can’t get on first shift for awhile, would it work for her to go on 3rd? I’m a nurse, too, and when I was married, it worked out better for us with me on 3rd shift even though I didn’t get to sleep with dh every night. We hardly saw each other when I worked 2nds, because he was in bed by the time I got home. But on 3rds, I slept while he worked days, and he slept while I worked nights. I got up around 4, so we had dinner and most of the evening together until I had to leave for work at 10:15. We didn’t have children at the time, so this worked out fine for us. (And our opposite shifts had nothing to do with our breakup, BTW. :o )


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