Watching our kids grow up is insanely, an amazing and stupendous experience. It started with the many hours of interrupted nights of breast-feeding or formula-feeding, diaper-changing and what-have-you. They say time flies, but having 2 sons of almost 5-year gap between them, I felt the years went by so slowly. I was practically there for them from infant to toddler to pre-schooler until they were 12. It was a BIG break for me when the older one turned 13 and started cycling to school on his own, but I had to wait for another 5 years before the younger one cycled to school on his own. Duh!
I work full-time and I could remember vividly when I had to rush from work to the crèche every single evening to fetch my boys. As a result, I had to forgo jobs that require travelling, meaning very limited job promotion (?) Was I unhappy? I didn’t think so, but I was completely stressed out from the hectic rushes in the evening to avoid the peak hours, and only to find out that I was the champion at arriving last at the crèche. To add salt to injury, I had to pay fines for picking up my boys after the closure hour. This routine went on until my boys graduated from grade school (or Primay school). Both the crèche and my boys’ Primary school had probably earned the most additional fees from poor me. There were not many me time then and hubby’s work place is even farther from the boys’ crèche and school, so what choice did I have? Sacrifice! Yup, a mother’s barmy sacrifice … 😦
By the way, this loony phase has passed me by now, and a BIG sigh of relief for that! Although my boys are still in their teens, they are no longer dependent on their mama, or are they ….?
I couldn’t remember when exactly, but it was early this year, when my older son came to me holding a scruffy looking piece of paper.
Me: What’s that in your hand?
Me: Then why are you coming to me when there’s nothing?
Son: Ah…. actually there’s something I want to tell you…
Me: Yes, go on…. I’m listening
Son: Me and my besties are going for a holiday this summer… to the Balkans, at least 5 or 6 countries..?
Me: What?!! That’s still 7 months down the road and your final exam’s in June. Shouldn’t we be discussing that first?
Son: Well, we’re in a planning stage ….
Me: That’s a good plan, son, and who’s going to pay for your holidays?
Son: Erm…..that’s what I’m here for ….
Me: OH-KAY! Then I know what’s best for you. If you don’t get through your exams, there will be no hols for you. If you get through your papers, papa or mama will not pay your hols, but you have to earn it yourself. Get a summer job! Okay?
Son: Ok, mama *big smiles*
Now let’s see which condition did my son fulfill?
Well, he got through all his papers in June, and that meant….? Yup, getting a summer job!
And by the way, he got his summer student job at the company I work with. That’s brilliant, but wait until you hear this…. He has to work from 7pm to 3am! The timing of the shift is way too challenging. The 7pm is fine as he can get to work via public transportation. It’s just the end shift at 3am I was worried about. It’s just not doable, meaning there’s no public transportation at that wee hour at all.
And guess who came to the rescue?!!!
Well, his mama had to adapt her day-hour job to her son’s graveyard shift for the entire month of July! OMG!
Day 2 Night – A Vigil
I have never worked night shift before. I had to request for approval and informed the right people in my company about this temporary day to night shift hours before I actually went ahead with it. HR had to file my work insurance to include night work hours, in case of accidents et al. A few of my colleagues didn’t think I was serious. My boss was concerned about my health and well-being, while some others praised me for my dauntless and manic decision. I hadn’t the clue what I was getting into until I actually went through it for the first time on Monday, 4th July!
The first day was completely rotten. I could not concentrate at work. With all the deadlines to accomplish that week, I had to keep my mind focussed. My head was throbbing with pain and my back was aching. Fortunately, with my workload and deadlines, I did not keep tab of the time. In no time at all, it was 3 am. Time to go. It felt strange leaving the office at that hour. My son left at 15 minutes after 3. It was his first day and he had to go through all the security turnstiles, checks and screens.
To be honest, it was probably the best thing to drive at three something in the morning. There were hardly any vehicles on the roads. We were home by 3.45am. I went straight to the kitchen and made myself a mug of warm milk with honey and some grated nutmeg. Before hitting the sack, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. And then when my head hit the pillow, I started to hear birds chirping!! What?!! I looked at the clock, it was ten past four and it was the crack of dawn….. already! OMG!!! That’s madness! My sleep! I need my sleep!!!
I pulled my blanket over my head and literally slept under my blanket the first “night”. Luckily it was a cool night. I actually slept until 11’ish, so not too bad. That was the first day. Then I got myself a sleep mask or eye masks and a pair of disposable foam earplugs from Day 2 on…
The subsequent days were not very consistent. There were days I slept deeply and some days, I woke up like an insomnic zombie, like one morning for instance, I heard our neighbour pruning his garden hedges and mowing his lawn, eventhough I was wearing earplugs! For heaven’s sake, it was only 8.30am! I could not sleep after that. Arrrggghh!!!
I was truly sleep-deprived.
The Right Food
Seriously, I found eating the right food made all the difference. My eating schedule had to change, too. I sleep from 4’ish to 11’ish (without any intruding noises).”Breakfast” is 12’ish noon and “Lunch” is 4’ish pm while “Dinner” is 10’ish pm. There were 2 evenings at work when free hamburger and fries were given to the employees, regardless of day or night shift. I had a hamburger one evening and THAT was lethal! I could not sleep a wink. I could hear my heartbeat and my breathing all “night”. Even though I was wearing my sleep mask, it was as if my eyes were wide open underneath it. Yup, THAT bad.
To be honest, the best food to eat is still homemade. You may think it’s a cliché, but there’s plenty of truth in this cliché.
Here’re what I have prepared for the past 2 weeks. About 80% of the meals were whipped up in my thermomix. Very easy and simple meals. These foods actually put me to sleep, literally speaking.
I was tempted to have the free fries at work, but skipped that completely. Discipline…. discipline… yes, discipline, please!
Two weeks down . Another two weeks to go! Yes, I’m counting the end of my night ‘ordeal’. LOL! Gosh, I admire my 3 Aunts (my Mum’s sisters) who were nurses and had gone through all the graveyard shifts until their retirements. Hats off to all who have gone through the hoot owl shift. As crazy as it may seem, I’m kinda glad I am experiencing it now, but I’m also looking forward to my regular day job. All this, because of a Mother’s insane sacrifice for her son.
By the way, son is doing great, but not a shift that he will want to end up with in the future. He’s working hard for his money *wink*
Oh yes, he also told me that he was very motivated to work because there was free hamburger the first week he was at the job and the second week, free fries with a choice of meat snack. He said, “Mama, are we getting free pizzas next week?”
I told him, “Dream on!”
Blessed Sunday everyone !