I'm beyond grateful that my boss is allowing me to work all of these extra hours. My original plan was to just find a 2nd job; something I'm qualified to do, like a seasonal cashier job or something. I turned in several applications, but 2 weeks or so passed without a single interview, so I swallowed my pride and asked my boss about working overtime. I was pretty surprised that he was not only willing to allow it, but actually seemed enthusiastic about the idea. That very week I started my wonky split shift overtime gig, doing my normal job during the day, picking my littlest kiddo up from daycare and hanging out with her for 2 hours until her Daddy gets home from work, then coming back in for 4 more hours, doing odd jobs to fill in wherever I'm needed. Having something other than my usual job to do for the 2nd shift actually makes it a lot more tolerable and I don't find it to be nearly as mind-numbing as I expected.
The fact of the matter is that we were struggling to keep afloat and I had to do something to get us through. My goal is to give us enough wiggle room to survive the holidays, then go back to my normal 40 hour work-week once Christmas is over. That is still the plan, but I'm starting to get scared that while my income has increased, we don't seem to be much better off than we were. I still find that my paycheck is gone within a few days. The only difference is that I'm not making partial payments to past-due bills, but actually keeping up with the regular monthly expenses. I had hoped that I'd be able to squirrel away money each payday for holiday food and gifts for the kiddos, but so far I've just been able to keep us afloat. I just keep hoping that these long hours will end up doing more than just getting us by.
The downfall to all of this is the time I'm missing with my kids. Trinity is at that pivotal age where I need to be around for guidance as much as possible, both when she asks for it and when she doesn't. Her grades are terrible at the moment and I know with some attention, time, and hard work, I can help her get them back up before the end of the trimester. She has recently started talking to me a lot more and opening up where she used to shut me out. I don't want to risk her clamming back up because I'm never around when she wants to talk. Of my two children, she is the one I feel like I fail the most. Being gone all the time doesn't help matters in the slightest.
Each day when I leave for my 2nd shift, Presley bursts into tears, sometimes screaming at the top of her lungs as I walk out the door. As soon as I start the car to leave, I question whether it's all worth it. My little sour patch kid isn't old enough to understand why I'm always gone. I see her a grand total of *maybe* 4 hours each weekday. That just isn't enough! After wishing and hoping and praying for my little monkey for over 5 years, I don't want to miss a single thing with her. My experience with her big sister reminds me that it goes so fast, if you blink it'll pass you by.
And then there's my hubs. Not only is his wife absent 90% of the time, he is left functioning as a single parent all week long. The disconnect between us is tangible and leaves me feeling a deep ache in the pit of my stomach. It's hard enough keeping a marriage healthy and strong, but add young kids, teenagers, and then long work hours into the equation and things become precarious. Our marriage has almost always been this amazingly solid and extraordinary entity unto itself. It's too precious to be in such disarray.
As time wears on, I can see the end of these long hours in sight and I feel excited for the day when I no longer have to leave my family in the evenings. On the other hand, as time wears on I start to wonder if I'm so busy making a living that my life is passing me by. Maybe it's not worth it to keep going like this. What if I keep going and then discover when it's all done that it's too late and my family doesn't want or need me around anymore? Why isn't there a happy medium in there somewhere?! Why does it have to come down to working too much or going hungry? Is making my car payment worth the moments I'm missing? I can't answer any of those questions. For now, I'll dig down deep and push myself to keep going, eye on the prize, hoping that I'm making the best decision for my family. Days like today I just need a little clarity so I can see the outcome of all of this and know if it's worth it.