Out of the kindness of his heart, Hubby is filling-in on third shift this week so that a colleague can receive training that's only offered during the day.
After a fantastically wonderful Valentine's weekend with the perfect balance of family time and alone time, it was tough to send him off to work last night at 10 p.m. Needless to say, I am a tired shell of my usual self -- on a day the children have off from school!
If I were a good mother, I would have "presidential" things planned. We would be coloring free activity pages about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We would have left at dawn to reach the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield for a day of presidentially-focused fun. We would be feasting on cherries from morning till night.
We breakfasted in hushed tones and the children are playing in their basement playroom to keep from waking Daddy. In a half hour, we'll probably walk a mile or so to the local AMBUCS playground so that they can be loud and crazy. So they can be kids.
The one thing this turn at third shift is helping me to realize is that there are way too many people working in the middle of the night in this country.
I mean, really. Why? Are they doing something so very essential that no one could live without it being done in the middle of the night?!?? I think about the businesses here in town that are open all night (and the people working in them) and I cannot fathom why it is necessary.
The American workweek has been expanded beyond the point of reason. Not only do many wage earners work Saturdays and Sundays, others have to carry around the infernal Blackberry -- essentially tethering themselves to the MotherShip of Work even in their off-hours.
What would change if we were to reinstate some limits on the American Workweek?
- More Americans would get a good night's sleep. There would be less road rage as a result and probably less abuse of all kinds. There would be more smiling for no reason. Overall, a positive change.
- The only people not getting more sleep would be emergency workers, the people who make donuts, and one drug store in each town (parent's have to be able to pick up their late-night baby Tylenol ration somehow!) Another exception would be cat burglars and arsonists, but police- and firemen would remain on night duty, too (with plenty of donuts). So, problem solved.
- Families could get used to being around each other again. When I think about how many people in this country are doing what we're doing this week, kissing goodbye at 10pm, it makes me sad. How much stronger could marriages be if Moms and Dads actually slept the same hours? How much happier would kids be if everyone had the energy to play when they do?
- Think about the energy saved if businesses were not running their lights and machinery and heat and air conditioning all night long. Lots.
- There would be a dramatic increase in the quality of youth sports, because the majority of the population would have Saturday off. The exceptions to the Saturday off rule would have to be donut shops (again), restaurants, bowling alleys, grocery stores, museums, and roller rinks.
-We could reserve Sunday as a day for picnics and long walks. Only balloon stands, zoos, ice cream shops, parks, (and of course churches) need to remain open. If there's ice cream, we don't need donuts.
- Truckers who prefer to drive at night wouldn't have to worry about snoozing third-shifters making their way home. On the other hand, more people would be available to go to bars or stay late at Aunt Mildred's for the semi-annual Euchre tournament... So that one's a wash.
- An entire industry could be spawned making signs that say CLOSED. How's that for economic stimulus?
Of course, you know this list is tongue-in-cheek... sort of. Part of me does wonder how efficient we can possibly be as a country when we're working ourselves into the ground all day and all night.
Maybe I just think that the only 24-7 jobs should be the ones that people would do even without being paid -- just because they're called to do them.
Motherhood and Fatherhood qualify.
Keeping the McDonald's drive-thru open does not.
Fighting fires or manning the emergency room qualifies.
Wal-mart photo developing does not.
Now, you weigh in.
Think about it... what value do you put on work in your life? Is it appropriate?
What would you be willing to sacrifice in one area to gain in another?
Do you have a compelling reason why Larry's Kountry Bread Shoppe needs to be open 24 hours? (After all, they don't even make donuts...)
Are there other businesses that are essential to your late-night well-being?
I can't wait to hear your thoughts.
- Midwest Mom