My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's all about who you work with

As I've said many times before, K is a great guy.  Both at home and at work.  Him being a great guy at work is causing problems at home right now.

K is a retail manager asst manager of the store) and that comes with certain realities that many jobs don't have to deal with.  The main one is that his schedule is inconsistent from week to week and he often works odd hours.  For us, this often works out really well.  If I have a video gig (requires me to be out of the house for 2-3 hours and then I bring the work home to my computer), he can usually schedule around it as long as he knows in advance what day off to ask for.

For the last couple of years, he's been pretty happy at work.  He and the manager worked really well together, were generally on the same page, and it was a very cooperative environment.  A couple of months before the girls were born, corporate decided to shake things up and they split up the really good teams and spread those individuals to stores that needed to improve in some way.  So K was transferred to another store, notorious for drama, in the hopes that a solid, even tempered, non drama guy would help to change the tone there.

That's not how it's working out.  The staff at the new store has been resistant to him from the beginning.  The manager doesn't view the staff as a team, but rather as her employees that are to do what she tells them to do.  They have been so set in their ways that any change is considered a threat, even if that change would make their lives easier.  K has been doing his best to fit in and function, but things are often done so poorly or so inefficiently, he can't help but try to make them better.  His old manager has even told him of some of the bitching that his new manager has done about him, the old manager of course knowing that the bitching is pure bullshit and that a lot of what she's claiming are complete lies.  K is now miserable at work.

The big problem that's been affecting all of us is the scheduling.  Every member of the management team is required to work at least one closing shift per week.  There are supposed to be 5 managers at the store so in theory, no one should have to close more than 2 nights per week.  Guess who's been closing most nights!  Of the 5 managers, the boss refuses to close (we think at this point she doesn't even know how), one got fired several weeks back for bringing pot to work, one had to refuse to close for a while because his wife has been having pre-term labor issues and is on bedrest with 6 other kids that need taking care of, and the last one hasn't really had any long term issues, but he is on vacation this week.

In recent weeks, K's schedule has looked something like this -
Sunday - 8am - 6pm
Monday - off
Tuesday - 6pm -2am!!!
Wednesday - off
Thursday - 1pm - 9:30pm
Friday - 1pm - 9:30pm
Saturday - 8am - 4:30pm

It looks like there's practically a 3 day weekend in there, but it doesn't work out that way.  On Mondays, K is trying to rest and somewhat reset his sleep schedule so he can survive the Tuesday shift.  Tuesdays we're trying to give him a nap at some point and Wednesday he's exhausted and trying to recoup.  So all three days are practically shot.

To make it more frustrating, the next weeks schedule is supposed to be created and posted on Tuesdays.  K finally found out what his schedule will be next week yesterday (Friday).  Between Tuesday and Friday, several video gigs have been offered for next week, and I've had to let them all go by because I had no way of knowing if he would be home, and my parents are out of town so I can't count on them to come and watch the girls.  That's $900 out the window because his boss can't get her job done when it's supposed to be done.

We thought this was about to change.  His boss talked to him about the fact that because he's not there during the days, he can't get done what he's supposed to be getting done.  She said she needed to get him back working more days than nights and we thought "hallelujah!"  And then K came home last night, told me his schedule for next week, he's closing all 5 of his work shifts.  Son of a bitch!

Why him closing is so difficult on me - during the day, the girls are relatively easy.  It's 11am right now, Charlotte has been up, eaten and is taking a nap, and Tina is still asleep.  I'm glad she's wearing an alarm so I know she's alive, seriously, other than a dream feed, she's been down for 12 hours now.  I'm warming a bottle because she should be up any minute.  Anyway, in the afternoons is when things start to get difficult.  They'll both be up at the same time and will get fussy, naps sometimes only last about 15 minutes and that's after a lot of crying before falling asleep.  Somewhere around 8-9pm, it's time to do the bedtime routine of baths and cuddles and such.  I tried to make bedtime earlier but they have really decided that they will go to sleep for the night somewhere in the 10pm hour.  I can't do the bedtime routine for 2 fussy babies by myself!

By the time bedtime comes around, I'm exhausted, frustrated, and at the end of my rope.  Whichever baby is not getting the full attention will be crying and getting more and more upset until I can put the other one down to do bath and cuddles and stuff.  So then the first one gets upset.  Instead of a nice calming routine, they simply get more and more upset and it spirals out of control until K finally rushes in the door sometime after 10pm and does his best to help.  What could be a 1 hour routine if I had two sets of hands becomes a 4 hour ordeal of frustration every night.  Because I'm always on my own during the hard part of the day, when K is home, I just can't handle it anymore and he takes on 90% of the household/baby duties.  He works his ass off, does his best to take care of the girls in the middle of the night and let me sleep because he knows how frazzled I am, and that's really taking a major toll on him.

This is critical time.  This is when habits are established.  What we do now will set the tone for years to come.  I don't want to flail my way through this critical development period and pay the consequences later.

When he told me his work schedule for next week, I cried for 3 hours.  I thought this shit was about to be over and it's getting worse.  He's miserable, I'm miserable, the girls are not getting the best mommy I could be and they are sleeping through the daddy time that he's available to them.  If he were home during the difficult time, the difficult time of day wouldn't be nearly as difficult and I would have the energy to be more helpful when he's home so that less work will fall on his shoulders and we would all be so much happier.  Evenings would be the four of us playing together instead of me just trying to calm the fussy and all of us getting more and more upset as the hours tick by.

K's MO is to be the great guy, don't make waves, and he expects to eventually be rewarded.  That is so not how this company works.  We've seen total shitheads who are completely incompetent keep their jobs after obnoxious infraction after infraction, and yet he's somehow afraid of getting fired if he does anything remotely imperfect.  So last night I laid it out for him, he CAN NOT close more than his fair share.  2 nights per week, 3 if there's a real desperation in the store.  It's not a matter of "hey boss, I don't want to close very often" because that soft language doesn't work.  Others are saying they can't and they are being accommodated so K needs to say he can't and it's time to accommodate him.   I told him that if the schedule doesn't change to what he needs it to be, he's going to start catching the flu a whole lot and will be calling out sick until they figure out that no, he really won't be there when he says he can't be there, so they had better schedule around him.

It's been years that K has been doing everything asked of him and more and it's time to put his foot down and say no.  It's time for him to cash in the good will he's been building over the years.  When he brought up his fears, I told him that he's been trying it his way for X number of years, and it hasn't gotten him anywhere.  It's time to try a different tactic.  And whether it succeeds or crashes and burns, I will prefer those results over what we have going on now.  He warns me of the shitstorm that will rile up if he makes waves and I'm all for it.  Shit needs to be stirred and the bosses above his boss will side with K.  That's why they put him in this store to begin with.

Some recent financial changes have added a level of security to our household and if he were to lose his job, it would suck, especially the health insurance, but we'd survive.  And seeing the shit that other employees pull and how impossible it seems to be to get them fired, I really don't have any fear at all that Mr. Great Employee will lose his job over insisting that the people around him do their jobs so he doesn't have to do them.

He promises he's going to do it.  He's going to put his foot down and let the shit storm fly.  This is so out of his comfort zone, I know it's like jumping off a cliff for him.  But it needs to happen.  I'm crossing my fingers that he can do this.


  1. Much as I feel bad for you I don't know what you are going through. However, I do know quite a few Army wives that have twins with deployed husband and they too are trying to hold down a job. It can be done but I for one am not sure how they do it especially since most of us Army Wives don't live near our parents either.

    1. Yes, it can be done, but not by me. I couldn't maintain a military marriage, much less raise a military family. Kudos to the women who can, but I know I could not.

  2. FWIW Alex, don't be too hard on yourself as far as habits and critical periods and such. My DD was a CRAP sleeper with NO schedule or routine until about 7 months. Night after night was terrible, and then came the night she got up every 45 minutes. I nearly lost my mind and at 3 am started googling. Found the Baby Whisperer, and managed to get her on a nap schedule and establish a pain-free bedtime. It took a few months to get there but now (at 2) sleep is blissful here. My point being (after all my rambling) is it's not the end of the world if some things slide or don't get figured out quite yet - it will affect you in the short term, but long term it will be fine. I promise! :D

  3. OMG that is ridiculous. You are so right, and I hope things go well at work. I would not be able to handle that situation at all, I would need to hire a nanny / babysitter to help with bed time, I just don't see any way I could do that on my own. :( I'm crossing my fingers for you!


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