Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Tired And Crabby

Going back to work after this maternity leave has been a bit of a bumpy transition for me. Of course, I am very grateful that I get to do work that is meaningful to me and constantly sparking the birthy side of me. While I'm really enjoying being around all of the labouring mamas (and there has been A LOT of them the last few weeks) I am finding shift work to be very exhausting right now. The night shifts continue to leave me with a hangover feeling reminenscent of a night with too much tequila, and while this is not a new feeling post night shift it is taking me a lot longer to shake it off than it did in the years before.


Awhile back I was sent an old photo of me at a birth back when I was pregnant with Josie. I truly love the work that I do.

Of course, I thought it was a great idea to work a couple of night shifts and stay awake after my last one and be on full on mama duty. No rest for the wicked? This style of living is not for me and I don't think many people do very good being awake and active for 24 hours or more in a row. I become crabby and short and not the kind of wife or mama that I am meant to be.

I know that 'this too shall pass' but the thing is, I don't want to just let the days and nights roll over me wishing and waiting for an easier time to come around the corner. I want to enjoy these moments and really live my days off with my family and feel strong and healthy and on top of all of those 'things'. I don't want to always say, 'I'm just so tired' or be plagued by fatigue from working and raising little children. I'm constantly trying to seek balance and I think that I still have a way to go in finding it and figuring out how to make things tick. I also know that this problem is not unique to me. Instead, it's just my growing pain as of right now.

Just when I think I am at my limit with things, the baby naps for an unheard of 3 hours and my husband cleans the kitchen from top to bottom and I sleep 6.5 hours in a row (I'd really love 9). These little things give me some solace and I start to think that maybe things are really okay. Over time the crabbiness slowly starts to dissipate and I start to daydream about hiring a cleaning team to come and mop my floors and scrub my toilets. Maybe this would help my day to day balance and leave me feeling a bit more rested?


Blowing bubbles in grandma's back yard. Easter, 2013.

What I know for sure is that tiredness can be forgotten when you look at a photo of yourself. In this captured moment I had gotten off work that morning, had a short nap, then went to Victoria to celebrate Easter with my family. I was tired and hot and sweaty and probably a bit irritable but I love this photo that was caught with my daughter. Just like that I can forget the tiredness.


5 comments:

Margot said...

I feel your pain! I love your description of the post night shift hangover. It is so true! My night shifts are from 1700-0230. So I do get to sleep from 0300-0700, but then I am up with my boys all day. I end up with 8 hours sleep over the span of 48 hours. We don't have childcare, as my day shifts are only on the weekends when my husband is home. My challenge has been figuring out what I don't mind letting go around the house when I am on my set of shifts, and what drives me crazy. I have to get all the laundry done before I start my set, and the kitchen is tidied daily, floors swept daily (my god the crumbs!!). I do a big grocery shop before my set so that I don't have to go out during or in the day or two afterwards. My boys don't have any extra-curricular activities before my evening shifts, or playdates either. Those are only on my days off. I feel like a zombie, and act like a hermit during my set but it helps me to cope. After school drop off, I put my pj's back on and just lounge in the house. I try and be as restful as possible before my evenings, and on the day in between. We don't even go outside, aside from the walk to and from school.

It took us a while to figure out what works best for our family, and it is definitely a team effort. Good luck! Remember, you are not alone!

April 12, 2013 at 7:33 AM  
Tarable said...

You have my COMPLETE sympathy. Being a working mama of two kids is difficult enough, I can not imagine throwing in shift work - not to mention the (awesome) type of work you do.

I wish for you to find your balance and in the meantime my hat is off to you.

April 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM  

So hard :( It's true that this too shall pass but in the moment it's so tough. Yay for napping babelets and cleaning husbands! Love that photo.

April 12, 2013 at 8:55 PM  
Kristin said...

Oh, I resonate with much of the feeling in this post. Sleep is such a "frienemy" to me. Although its not my work schedule that gets in the way, its the addition of my school work that cuts into my sleep. I love it, as you love your work, but it just causes me to struggle with maintaining a balanced lifestyle because late nights is the only time to really commit to it. And as someone who has (a long time ago before kids) done night shift, I can only somewhat imagine how that balance is so difficult to attain when the kiddos' schedule is opposite to yours. Thank goodness for the perfect timing of support and moments that remind us of why we do what we do. I just love love love that first photo of you and the newborn. What an incredible job you have. I wish a mini -me could ride on your shoulder for one shift!

April 13, 2013 at 2:11 PM  
Melissa said...

You're such a great mama Andrea! Reading this speaks for so many moms and nurses out there all trying to find a balanced lifestyle. In this busy and expensive city we live in, running a household all the while working and trying to take care of yourself isn't always that easy. Although I haven't worked since I've been away off sick from my casual line, I can understand the crabbiness and short fuse that you speak of. Those days take a lot out of me, as they do you. Sending you lots of restful and tid bits of energy to help along the way.

April 14, 2013 at 5:03 PM  

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