Parenting Alone

I’m not sure many people looked at motherhood and said, “I want to do that alone.”  Whatever the circumstance, many women, and men, parent alone. Our family lives are so very different.  Some of us have spouses that travel for work, some haves spouses that are there but “not there,” and others are single parents.  Regardless of what has placed on this journey, we are not actually alone. God is with us. Always.

forsake

When my husband and I married, I never thought that I would have to parent alone.  However, work took him around the world. Literally.  His first business trip was to Japan for about a month…..before Christmas.  At that time, we had our oldest son.  Things still got challenging.  It wasn’t always necessarily the discipline part of parenting, but the providing for and taking care of our home part.  Our heat went out one freezing night. I woke up and it was 65 degrees in our house.  I jiggled the little thingy on the thermostat and the heat kicked right on. Problem solved.  Until the next night. It happened again, only it was colder. It was 52 degrees in the house. I gathered my little one, put him in our bed, covered him with more blankets, and began to pray.  God answered my prayers. Our heat worked and continued to do so until the heating guy could get there a couple of days later. Also on that business trip, my wee one locked himself in the bathroom with the bath water running. I just knew he was going to drown before I could get in there. Little guy sat on the other side of the door giggling away.

God and I had a way of getting through these business trips. My husband has traveled to Japan, Californian, Mexico, and Detroit. And each time, something would happen. Something that would humble me and let me realize I couldn’t do this parenting thing on my own. I needed God and his provisions.

Then, my husband joined the Army.  He was away for 3-4 months for basic training.  After that, he would train once per month, sometimes for just a weekend, and other times for 2 or 3 weeks.  Then came a deployment.

I’m sure you can imagine the things that happen within a family when everything is normal, multiply that by 5 when a spouse is away.  We’ve experienced death of loved ones, illness, car trouble, home troubles, financial difficulty, and parenting issues.  But in all of these things, I was never alone.

God provided for me in some amazing ways.

First, in whatever circumstance that took my husband out of town, we were always able to communicate.  Technology is amazing. We’ve texted and called and emailed, and Skyped.

Secondly, God provided people to help our family.  At some points I would tag team with another family member to get a kid to a practice or watch a sick child so I could run to the store.  There were Good Samaritans who fixed my flat tire in a Target parking lot. There was the anonymous friend who fixed and paid for a flat tire on my vehicle. There was the church that gifted us with money at Christmas or called and  said, “I’m bringing food. What do you want?” There was my trusty heating and cooling guy and the electrician who showed up on occasion to unfreeze the heater or fix the electricity that went out in the front part of the house.  There was the family member that kept my yard mowed so I wouldn’t have to worry with it. For every need that came up, God provided for us.

Most importantly, God provided peace.  Being both mom and dad, taking care of your children’s needs day in and day out all by yourself, and taking care of all the household responsibilities as well as working full time is overwhelming.  Sometimes it makes us plain tired and stressed and irritable and afraid.  But God is there.   He would calm my soul. He would bring me peace. He would whisper to me, “Be still. I’m here.”

He did and still does that for me. He will do it for you too.

sustain

And friend, these are my experiences.  I know yours are probably much different.  But whatever the case may be, God provides.  When we belong to him, we don’t parent alone.  What I have found in the times when my husband is away is this:

  1. I need routine.  It is my sanity.  Having to get 3 kids to 3 different places and then fed, bathed, and put to bed after homework is done is a job within itself.  But routine is the key. It makes life less stressful than trying to wing it.
  2. Let it go.  There are somethings that can wait. Laundry didn’t get done? It’s ok. Toys still on the floor? It’s ok.  Didn’t make it to the birthday party? It’s ok.
  3. Throw away the pride. I’ve always been independent, yet, when I am doing things alone, I see I can’t do every single thing. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to accept someone’s offer.
  4. God is there. Always. He provides in amazing ways.  You may not recognize it at first, but yes, it’s true.  Lean on him. Call out to him. Make him a priority.  He will lead you and guide you. He will provide and give you peace and understanding.

surround

Do you have a husband who travels? How has God helped you when you have to parent alone?

Do you have a husband who is there, but “not there?” How does God help you through those parenting struggles?

Are you a single parent who is truly raising God’s blessings without a spouse? How has God provided for you in your journey?

 

triggers

Thank you for joining in with my reflections of the book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Biblical Gentle Responses.  Click here to read each post associated with this book.

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