I’m a Shift Work Widow

By Danielle Parney

My husband’s colleague was telling a group of us “wives” that his new girlfriend was having a hard time adjusting to his job and he didn’t know if she’d get past it. He asked if we could talk to her and help ease her concerns. We gave it some thought and decided that we weren’t the right ones to talk with her.


Well, we are all shift work widows. Could we honestly tell somebody all the good things about shift work without sharing the bad too? Would our honest discussions with her do more harm than good? Probably.

You see, while there are many benefits to being married to someone who works shift work – we rarely have to shop for household items on weekends; he is there to get the kids to and from school (sometimes); I get the whole bed to myself; I get a lot of me time; there are also a lot of drawbacks – can get lonely; family dinners are rare; can’t rely on him to be home for special occasions and holidays; weekends are not always dedicated for family time; I sleep alone too often; too much me time.

It wasn’t always difficult. Before we had kids I used to joke that the reason our marriage works so well is that we never see each other enough to fight. But, throw the responsibility of kids in the mix and it immediately got harder to endure the shifts. Suddenly I was a single-mom 70% of the time.

This discussion with the wives has prompted me to ask, “If I had to do it all over again, would I marry someone who works shift work?” The answer is yes, but I think it works because I have always been pretty independent and love my alone time.  And honestly, my husband absolutely loves his job.  But, it’s not for everybody.

Are you in a relationship with someone who works shift work? Let us know how you find your balance?

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