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The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

Shift Work

“Should we do shift work tonight?”  That’s what I asked my wife one Saturday night recently.  Our littlest (about 21-months old) had come down with a cold and did not sleep very well the night before.  He usually sleeps through the night, roughly 12 hours, but that night he had woken up roughly every hour and a half.  “Shift work”, as my wife and I refer to it, is the way we make it through the night while both of us still get enough sleep.  We had employed the tactic years ago when our daughter had problems sleeping.

Essentially, I will stay till about 1:00AM, while my wife goes to bed like normal.  During the night, my wife will tend to the child as needed, and if they wake up for early (think 4:30AM) and won’t go back to sleep, I stay up with them.  When my wife wakes up at about seven, I will go back to bed to make sure that I get enough sleep.  This plays to our individual strengths.

For me, I am naturally a night-owl.  I can also function for awhile on limited sleep.  However, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I am up for at least a couple hours.  My wife does not like staying up late or waking up before six.  She can however, wake up in the middle of the night and fall right back asleep.  This teamwork has made our marriage stronger and helps to keep the stress-level in the house fairly low.

Teamwork WORKS

We use this teamwork approach in most everything that we do, from chores to finances.  Being the numbers guy, I am responsible for the budget and all the financial aspects for the household.  My job is to make sure the bills are paid and that we are in a sound financial position. Years ago, when we first moved in together, we tried splitting these functions.  It made my wife miserable.  Her part had been to pay the bills and she absolutely hated it.  I resumed the bill paying function and almost all financial tasks.

That does not mean that my wife is not involved with our finances.  We routinely talk about how we are doing towards our various goals and against our budget.  Should any unexpected money come up, such as an annual bonus, we will discuss how we go about dividing it up.  My weakest is that I often neglect the present for the future.  My wife’s strength is that she keeps her eye on the present to make sure we are actually living today.  We balance each other out by making sure we save for future goals, but also enjoy the fruits of our labor today.  This teamwork enables us to be efficient with our money.  We are able to maximize how far we can stretch our budget while still preparing for life’s unexpected pleasantries.

When we were married, we both became committed to the “us”.  As such, we face the world together, overcoming whatever challenges come our way.  It could be something as mundane as keeping the house clean.  There are certain chores my wife enjoys and I don’t, so she does them.  For example, I am not a huge fan of cleaning bathrooms.  I’m not entirely sure why, I just don’t like doing it.  My wife, she loves cleaning in general.  So, I leave most of that to her.  I enjoy cooking more so than my wife does.  As such, I cook virtually all of our meals.  I mainly prepare our meals on the weekends and we eat leftovers all week long.

We are also both trying to stay fit.  To do this, we have to work together.  I usually wake up early and exercise before I go to work.  This way, when I come home from work, if my wife wants to exercise, I can put both kids to bed while she gets her workout in.

Life is hard enough without having to work against your spouse.  Often times, you have to think of the team before yourself, but that’s what marriage is all about.