The Railroad Life · The Wife Life

What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Railroad Wife – Part Four

Okay so bear with me, there is only a couple more things I wish I knew before I became a railroad wife. This next one has probably been the hardest for our family.

I wish I knew before I became a railroad wife that my railroader’s sleep patterns would be all messed up. This kind of falls under the whole “no schedule” but it is a little different. When you are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a 2 hour call to be at work, you work all sorts of shifts. So you are in turn sleeping at all hours of the night…and day.

My railroader isn’t the greatest at sleeping during the day so this has become problematic. What is also problematic is the layout of our house. Our bedrooms are downstairs and the living room and kitchen are upstairs. Now this wouldn’t be so problematic if our children were all school aged and we didn’t homeschool. But when you have three sets of feet running around the house. All. The. Time. You can see how this would become an issue.

It’s become an annoying situation because my railroader needs his sleep but having to keep the kids quiet when he’s sleeping isn’t fair to them or me. I’ve become the mean mommy and in reality the kids are just being kids having fun and being loud.

Along with my railroader’s sleep patterns getting messed up…so has mine [insert sad face]. Now I’m not looking for sympathy here but it is true and I know I’m not the only railroad wife who deals with this. The obvious sleep disruption is when the phone rings in the middle of the night and it wakes me up too. For the most part, I just roll over and go back to sleep. If I just went to bed, I will often get up with my railroader, pack his lunch and say goodbye. But what I’m really talking about is when my railroader isn’t even home. Now you’d think I’d get a great sleep with having the bed to myself and no one snoring but that’s when I sleep the worst.

I have this strange logic where I stay up as late as I can so I’m asleep for a shorter period of time while my railroader isn’t home. When you’re home alone with your kids you feel a little vulnerable. Remember, I live in Canada so having a handgun on my bedside table is not really an option. We could have a dog but then that’s one more thing to try and keep quiet during the day. An alarm system would actually be the best investment but for some reason we haven’t done that (I never said we were smart). I do keep my cell phone, landline (yes we still have one of those) cordless phone and my van fob on my bedside table.

On one occasion, I did have to call 911 because a guy was trying to get into our place and of course my railroader was away. It was the scariest feeling…being home alone with three small children with no way to protect yourself. Just praying the police would get there before he figured out how to get in. And let me tell you that 7 minutes for them to get here felt like 7 hours. The EMS dispatch lady probably got tired of me asking when they were going to get here. It turned out he was drunk and was at the wrong house. How he got to my house is still a mystery…I sure hope he walked.

So if you are a new railroad wife, realize that your railroader will need to sleep all hours of the day and night and his sleep patterns will get messed up…and yours might too.

Read more in this series…Part One, Part Two and Part Three.


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