I can count on my one hand the nights my husband and I spent away from each other in our first 5 years of marriage and I don’t even need most of my fingers to count them. Recently, however, that all changed when my husband accepted a promotion. While that promotion allowed us to purchase a much-needed larger home, a less-draining work schedule, and the ability for my husband to basically set his own work hours, it came at a cost. Although this cost may seem minimal to the majority of American society, it was a large one for us — time away from each other.
My husband and I are not in the norm of society and I am very proud of that; we are connected on a much deeper level. We legitimately prefer to be with each other as much as we can. Outside of his work schedule we do everything together. We rely on each other for a lot — support, emotional security, strength, and this list goes on. With the addition of two special-needs children and three others in the mix -all 8 and under — we need each other more than our families will ever realize. We truly do this parenting thing on our own; we do not loan out our children on the weekends to go and be social — we give our children our all. In essence, we meant what we accepted on the altar during our marriage ceremony, that we were two becoming one in Christ.
Consequently it was a large decision when it came on what to decide for this promotion, though the pros outweighed the cons. We knew that this distance would allow us to grow in new ways during our time apart. Until recently I actually thought I had it all figured out; we would visit relatives and friends and the kids would get extra special one on one time with Mommy at night. Though that all changed during this last trip because for the first time I woke up with a terrible cold the morning my husband left.
In the midst of an already-trying time for me with the added pressure of caring for all of our children on my own, managing the house, and managing though the nights without my spouse . . . I learned a lot. I could barely talk and stand up without my head having a pulse. I lay on the floor while my little ones played around me and only spoke when I absolutely needed to. I learned to clap instead of raising my voice to get attention, and they responded pretty well, for the most part. They attempted to help me feel better and did most things that I whispered or pointed for them to do. At nights, since I can never sleep well when my husband is away, I prayed instead of sleeping. I was able to pray in the way I wished to throughout the day, though I couldn’t because of my busy household.
I found the meaning behind persevering until the end, even though it was only for a week — nevertheless I did make it — although at times the cloud of doubt surrounded me. Without any rest I did not recover until well after my husband was home, though the lessons I learned in those days were unexpected.
Children really only do need our presence. Getting them dressed, bathing them, making them look picture-perfect is all fine and great. Cleaning their clothes, having the floor vacuumed and toys clutter-free is also nice, though truly at the root of it all this is not what makes an exceptional mother.
A mother seeking perfection is present even when it is extremely inconvenient. A mother practicing virtue will sacrifice sleep, even when extremely sick, for the safety and security of her children. A devoted mother will attempt her best to get through a sickness without prescriptions for the sake of her breastfeeding child. Finally, a sleep-deprived yet loving mother will find the most minute positive in the worst of situations so that she can raise her child’s sad spirits before bed because they miss their beloved Daddy. She will preserve till the very end for her child — no matter the cost to herself.
Although I believe a well mommy is imperative in order to have a large family function smoothly, I can’t remember the last day that I just spent the full entire day with my child doing nothing other than just being with them. We may believe that our children need so many things to be happy, but in God’s eyes all they need is to know they are loved, cared for, and of the utmost importance to us. The world wants to tell us that we need ME TIME, we need our space in order to give our children our all. Does God tell us to hold on while he gets things in order? Or is he there as a constant for us when we need him? Why then is it so difficult for us as mothers to agree with God’s expectations vs those of the world?
Copyright 2017 Janele Hoerner