Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The problem identified.

Happy hump day everyone! And yes I can say "happy day" and actually mean it for a change. For whilst, my mood may still not be the best, a little realisation has put me in better spirits. On Sunday night, Jordan and I were talking in bed, which we usually do to help me cope with my depression, and for the first time, we think we may have finally identified the root cause of my depression and the rut our family is in.

The root cause? Jordan's work! More specifically, his work hours. Jordan is on shift work and has been for a little under a year now. He can work any day of the week and hours will vary either between 7:30am-4pm or 11am-7:30pm. This week he has tomorrow (Thursday) off as well as Sunday (yay, he has Mother's Day off). All week though, he's working 7:30pm finishes which means he won't get home from work til around 8:45pm roughly. That's a good 45 minutes after the kids have gone to bed. Every morning when he leaves for work, knowing he'll not be home before the kids bedtime, he hugs the kids goodbye and says "I will see you tomorrow." I see a little part of him die every time he says that because it's only 10am (or in Vala's case 8:40am) and he won't see the kids again until 7:30am the following morning. It's really hard on him and I can only imagine it's hard on the kids. Vala tells me she misses daddy as it gets close to bed time. Flynn can't communicate how he feels but his little face lights up the following morning when he see's Jordan.

Anyway, when Jordan first moved up from the retail store he worked in, to its head office where he is now, he was put on set hours of Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm. However, at that time, he wasn't working the role he was hired for. He was put in another job role for nearly a year. June last year they finally moved him onto the job role he was originally hired for and that meant he was moved back onto shift work. Sunday night we pin pointed the period where things started going down hill at home. It lined up perfectly with Jordan moving back onto shift work. Jordan's health issues (severe fatigue and excessive night sweating) first began a couple of weeks after he switched job roles. I was teetering on the verge of postnatal depression but had been able to manage it up until around June when I had a full melt down and panic attack over the thought of going to the gym. It was a really horrible experience, I was hyperventilating on our bed, sobbing hysterically, so afraid to go back to the gym again. I'd already gone a few times but suddenly, all confidence was gone. After that day my depression got worse and worse and worse, to the point of here we are! Not only did Jordan's health issues arise and my depression got a lot worse but that's when we started seeing issues with our finances. We started struggling to make it to the end of the month. We've literally been living month to month for nearly a year now. We realised that when Jordan switched back to shift work, we lost our designated weekly grocery shopping day. Plus with Jordan not been home for dinner some nights and home the others, it became more difficult to plan our meals and shop ahead of time. So, I ended up going to Tesco almost every day to pick up something for dinner. Only problem with that was my depression. It would take so much for me to feel comfortable leaving the house that when I got to the shop, I desperately wanted comfort and would end up buying comfort food, jacking the price up of every single shop. Me going to the shops nearly every day was not only costing us more money but it was also causing me to put more weight on. Less money equalled more stress in the household. More weight equalled deeper depression. So essentially, all of our problems have stemmed from Jordan's work hours being so irregular.

With irregular hours, it's been hard for him to maintain a proper sleep pattern and we often go to bed together so in a way, it messed both of us up. My depression induced insomnia made it worse for me. It became impossible for us to have a morning routine because some mornings Jordan would be gone by 6:30am, before the kids and I had even woken up, whereas other days he wouldn't leave until 11am. We've been saying for months that it feels like we're not in sync with one another anymore and we couldn't understand what was wrong. We know now. I have my daily routine (albeit, it's not the best routine) and Jordan has his and on the days where he starts later or has the day off, our routines clash with one another. The school run is a prime example of that. I get the kids ready in a certain order. Breakfast between 7:45am-8am. I will get Vala dressed and ready for school between 8am- 8:15am. I get Flynn changed and dressed between 8:15am-8:30am. At 8:30am I get the pram set up and at 8:35am we're out the door. When Jordan is doing the school run, he doesn't bother with Flynn at all, he just leaves him home with me and he doesnt get Vala dressed until at least 8:20am. He often ends up rushing around like a headless chicken and doesn't get out the door until 8:40am. I get stressed out watching him get Vala ready for school. He does things a lot slower and in a weird order and some mornings we do clash. It's hard, Jordan's out the house for a little over 10 hours a day and when he gets home, he is exhausted and just wants to relax and I don't blame him for that.

Anyway, this post has gone on longer than I thought it would. We realised that we were more in sync with one another, both felt happier and healthier and that we had more money and a proper routine when Jordan was working set hours/days. Jordan switching to shift work has literally been the downfall of our family. It's taken a huge toll on Jordan as well as myself and the poor kids are caught in the middle. I know it hasn't been easy for Vala, especially on the days where Jordan works til 7:30pm because she only gets to see him from 7:30am to 8:40am. An hour and 10 minutes. That's all she gets to see of him. So far this week, she has seen him for a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes. That's 3.5/72 hours! That's insane! No wonder she tells me she misses him constantly. If he worked 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday again, he'd get to see her before and after school, not one or the other, and he'd get the full weekend to spend with her. She needs more time with him. We'd all be so much better off and no doubt happier if Jordan was back on set hours/days. He is wanting to get a new job now but as he is trying to move into an entirely new career field, he has been feeling too scared to actually apply for many jobs. He has applied for a few but not heard back from any of them. That definitely hasn't helped his confidence. Still, we're trying to encourage him and hopefully he'll get a new Monday-Friday job soon and our lives can start to improve. It's nice knowing what the root cause of our issues is now but until Jordan manages to get a new job, there isn't much we can do to improve things sadly. Fingers crossed we won't be in this rut for much longer.

Until next time,
Alli xo

2 comments:

  1. Oh dear, I can relate! Grocery shopping and meal planning time is really important to feeling like you've got the household under control. I've been in similar situations, with Nathan's work and the fact that he has been FIFO for most of our relationship, and the fact that I still don't drive. I’m finally feeling like I got shopping/cooking under control this year, so I'll share my tips, just in case they help at all.

    Does Tesco do click and collect? This has been a lifesaver for me. I have ADHD and find going to the supermarket completely overwhelming - I can only have a short list, usually only with ingredients for one meal, or I get sidetracked and forget everything. It used to drive Nathan mad that I was going to the shops every night, plus usually sending him back after we got home, to grab things that I had forgotten. With click and collect, I do the entire week's worth of shopping at one time and I can actually plan out what meals I am going to make and everything that I need. It works so much better for me, and it stops me from grabbing random cakes and cookies too. I’ve found that we have saved heaps of money this year by doing this, because I’m not impulse buying. It’s also good because if I’m at home, I have a better handle on what my pantry inventory already is. Instead of grabbing a can of corn because I can’t remember if we have one already, I can get up and look in my pantry to see that we already have three and I don’t need anymore. It’s so handy.

    As for meal planning itself, I have a couple of tips. I like to read healthy recipes (pinchofyum.com is one of my favourite sources) and bookmark them, so I always have ideas. It’s Friday today and I always put aside half an hour on Fridays to plan the next week’s meals. Then I try to make it as convenient for myself as possible – I’ll cook the meals that require fresh ingredients earlier in the week, so I don’t have to go to the shops more than once. If I know that Nathan is working late on a particular night, I’ll plan a meal that he can reheat later. And if you always have tinned soup, bread in the freezer and a block of cheese, tomato soup and cheese on toast is so easy in a pinch.

    I can’t remember if it was your blog or somebody else’s where you said that Jordan doesn’t like eating the same thing two nights in a row? Would it help if you switched things up a bit? Something I will often do is make a big pot of chili con carne and then the first night, we’ll eat it as it is with sour cream, second night will be as a topping on baked potatoes, third night it will be a topping on nachos. That way it uses what you cooked, but it feels like different meals each time. The other option is that you could make a lot, then freeze the rest.

    My biggest tip though is to cook double portions so you can ‘feed the freezer’. If I’m making a meatloaf or lasagne, I’ll make two and freeze one straight away. I also have heaps of ziploc bags in my freezer that contain things like 2x portions of Mongolian beef, or 2x portions of bacon bone soup. Having backups in the freezer is so handy because it means you always have something easily reheated if you get stuck or just can’t with dinner on a particular night. I’m kind of evangelical about this particular tip nowadays, because I hurt my leg really badly last year and couldn’t walk for months – because Nathan can’t cook, we had to live on takeout for all that time and I put on so much weight and felt gross. Now I feel the need to be super prepared so it never happens again.

    Anyway, hang in there, I know it’s super hard, even if other people make it look easy. Hopefully Jordan’s work situation gets better, but in the meantime, at least you now have some ideas for what you can do to make things better. Hoping that some of these tips will work for you!

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  2. Thanks for the helpful suggestions Jo. Most Tesco's do have Click and Collect however our local store is smaller than average and don't offer click and collect. I did look at that option a while ago. Unfortunately the closest Tesco to us that does offer click and collect is 25 mins away and its the opposite direction to where Jordan would be driving through after work. Jordan would have to drive passed our house on his way home to collect the shopping. It already takes 50-60 mins (depending on traffic) to get from work to home so the extra 50 mins to get click and collect, just isn't worth it. Our local store is a 10 min walk or 3 minute drive.


    The main reason meal planning is so difficult is because Vala is a very fussy eater. We usually have to plan meals around something Vala will eat and unfortunately it levees us with limited options. Jordan doesn't mind eating the same thing multiple days in a row so you probably read that from someone else's blog. When planning meals, I find myself working out how many I'm having to cook for, whether or not Vala will even eat it and how long it'll take to cook. Vala makes it really difficult to plan ahead because one day she'll like something and the next she won't and dishing up something she doesn't want to eat is a noisy and stressful experience. She will cry and sob throughout dinner and usually goes to bed hungry afterwards.

    I just feel that there are too many variables to work with when it comes to dinner time. Like, whether or not Jordan will home and whether or not it'll be something Vala will eat and on Tuesday's wed don't get home until after 6pm so even then I have less time to cook dinner. I've tried slow cooker recipes for Tuesday dinners but so far, Vala has rejected them all and since she does football and swimming on Tuesday's, she needs to eat dinner. It's just hard and it shouldn't be.

    Thank you again for your suggestions. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and offer ways to possibly help our situation. Thank you Jo x

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