Weather Widow

My husband, Chris, is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service (NWS), a federal agency under NOAA. Before you ask, because I know many of you will, he is not on T.V. He is not a T.V. meteorologist. He works for the government. The meteorologists for the NWS are the ones that many T.V. meteorologists go to for their forecasts. (Not all, though. Larger markets usually employ real meteorologists and have the technology to support them, but they still may consult with NWS before putting out their forecast.)  The NWS issues all the weather watches and warnings, too. There are many NWS offices across the country. These offices operate 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They never close.

 Weather Widow

Before my Chris and I got married, I learned that his job as a meteorologist meant that he worked strange hours. In his current position, he works one of three different shifts on a rotating basis: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.  He does not work your typical Monday through Friday week. Sometimes he may have to work seven shifts in a row, other times only three before having a day off. Our weekends are on the days he has off. Sometimes it could be on a Saturday and Sunday, but just as often our weekends fall in the middle of the week.

I knew what I was getting into when we got married, and I was prepared for it. When we were first married, it was not a big deal. It has become more of a challenge since having two children. There have been days where I have felt like a single parent, but I make do, and Chris is fabulous about helping out when he does have a day off.

Soon after we married, I was contacted by another wife of a meteorologist at my husband’s office. She welcomed me to the club of the Weather Widows. We are a special “club” of spouses who know that our lives revolve around the weather. If there is severe weather, it is likely that my husband will get called into work or have to put in overtime. Severe weather includes blizzards as well as thunderstorms.

Over the last couple of days, we have had a lot of severe storms coming through. Chris, and those he works with, have been busy at their office. They have been putting out watches and warnings, as well as working on forecasts and processing observations. Yesterday was a particularly busy day. My husband had taken the morning off to go to our daughter’s two-year-old doctor appointment. He headed to the office right after, reporting for work around noon. He didn’t get home until 12:45 a.m.  A long day. 

Not only was it a long day for him, it was a long day for me. Our toddler, Ginny, behaved great, although she did have a temper tantrum while I was trying to feed the baby. The biggest challenge came when the baby, Grace, wouldn’t settle to sleep.  Instead, she screamed and cried for 25 minutes straight, waking her sister, until she wore herself out.
Weather Widow
My baby girl in the middle of her crying fit.
It is moments like that when I miss my husband the most as he works during the severe weather.  However, it is part of his job and part of mine, as a Weather Widow, that I have come to accept. Besides, I know that the work Chris does helps the general public. He takes his job very seriously because he knows his work can help save lives. And, honestly, in the grand scheme, it is a minor sacrifice I make in comparison to the spouses of military serving overseas.
UPDATE 5/5/2016: I’m still a weather widow. It’s even more “fun” with three kids. That said, I’m proud of the work my husband does.

About Denise

Hi! I'm Denise, a 40+ year old SAHM trying to navigate the world of motherhood. I blog about parenting, food, and have been featured a few times on BlogHer. I enjoys solving mysteries (Okay..reading mysteries or watching them on TV), cooking, and drinking way too much caffeine than I should. Basically, anything I needs to do to survive the toddler years.



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  1. Awesome post!! You never really think a lot about the spouses of people with odd-timed jobs until a post like this. And Grace is adorable, even when howling!

  2. Thanks, Denise! Indeed…the worst time for me was when the 3 girls (now teenagers) were all toddler age or younger. There is 34 months difference between the youngest and the oldest and for a time I had 3 in diapers/pull-ups! That was so challenging! When he would work a midnight shift, he would come home and go straight to bed and I can't tell you how jealous I was sometimes after I had spent a good part of the night awake with a crying baby! lol I appreciate your support in this! P.S. It will get better!!! 🙂

  3. As a Weather Widow without any kids yet, this part scares me the most. I'm sure I'll adapt once having kids, but the sleepless nights would be the worst. I have a hard enough time sleeping solo when my husband works mids. Hang in there! It just makes the moments when your family is all together that much more special. 🙂

  4. Amy,

    Thank you! I think my girls are pretty adorable when happy or howling, but I hate when they howl and I can't “fix” it. 🙂

  5. Jan,

    Knowing that you have done it, and with the 3 girls so close in age, helps me to know I can do it too. It is a challenge, and one I hate to grumble about because I know he is doing his job. I also get jealous of his sleep too. LOL! I know it will get better with time.

  6. Karen,

    You will make it. The sleepless nights are the toughest parts, especially when they are on an overnight shift or a mid. I also have problems sleeping when my husband isn't home, but once you have a baby, sleep comes easier. Granted, that is because you are sleep deprived!

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