Monday, May 16, 2011

Tri-Moms: Coping When Your Husband Works Long Hours

For weeks I've been writing this post in my head. Problem is I've been doing a lot of deleting and scratching out and starting over and I still don't have the words to write.   The title mentions coping and when Brian works long days, sometimes I don't cope.  I mope.  I feel guilty about it because at least he gets to come home at night (unlike the husband of a military mom)...and at least he is off every Sunday (so we know there is a light at the end of every week's tunnel). 

Every spring is the same.  Brian cuts grass and does landscaping for a living so he is off for ten weeks every winter.  I've been asked if it is a pain to have him home so much and I answer a big, "No!  We love it!"  We pack as much family time, fun, relaxation, and projects into those weeks as possible.  It makes March that much harder, though, when I have to make the transition back to full-time home-keeper and caretaker.  April and May are his busiest months of the year and I joke that I feel like a married single mom most of the time.

It is mostly a mental and emotional struggle.  It's not that I can't physically handle the playing and the meal-fixing and the baths and the bedtimes on my own because I can, but I crave the presence of my husband.  We all feel better when he is here.

Rolling down the hill with friends sure beats pulling our hair out!
One Friday in April, Brian knew ahead of time that he needed to work until dark.  The kids and I made plans for the afternoon.  We ended naptime early and drove to the zoo.  I purposely left the camera at home so there were no distractions.  We laughed and we ran and we lived fully in the moment. On the way home, we stopped at Redbox to rent a favorite movie and the kids watched while I threw together an easy dinner. At bedtime, though everyone missed Daddy, we were all still refreshed and when he came home, he came home to a calm house.

But for every great day, there is a equally bad day-- the day like last Saturday when Brian had to work for the sixth day in a row and we were all (him included) running on fumes.  I fussed too much at the kids.  Owen spilled a whole cup of juice on the dining room carpet.  Benjamin hid the batteries to the remote and threw the telephone in the trashcan. (I mean, really now...the trashcan?)   I felt like I could barely keep my head above the water and, while no one thing was wrong, it all felt wrong anyway.  I cried.  They cried.  Right before dinner, I sent them outside to play while I cranked up some music in the kitchen.  When Casting Crowns' song "Voice of Truth" came on, it spoke to me in my moment. 

"Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again,
'Boy, you'll never win,
You you'll never win.' "

I was at the end of another one of those long days where I get up in the morning planning to have a cheerful heart but instead end up losing my patience and not holding my tongue, I felt like a failure.  I'd asked my children for forgiveness and I asked Him for more grace, but I wondered, "Will I ever, ever get it right?"

"And the voice of truth says, 'This is for My glory.' "
Home again!
His glory?  Can all those bad days possibly be turned around and redeemed for Him?  Could I, with my biting tongue and the chip on my shoulder, bring Him glory?  Could my heartaches and struggles be the thing that brings me to my knees and throws all the glory on Him? 

Could it be that if all my days were happy and rosy that I would be too confident to remember that He is all I need? 

Brian told me that his schedule is going to be slower in a couple of weeks.  He said, "If we can just get through next week, it will be better," but I don't want to just get through.  I don't want to wake up in a few weeks and realize I coasted through my days in anticipation of better ones.  I want to appreciate each one I'm given.  I know I can't do it on my own.  It takes the Body of Christ: listening ears and arms to hold my own when I no longer have the strength.   It takes mercy and it takes grace and  He offers them both.

: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :

Just when we think we have our schedule figured out, we switch it on you!  I'm hosting the link-up again this week so that Suzanne can host the Beginning Homeschooling post on June 7th.  So...tell us.  How do you cope when your husband has to work late?  Visit the other Tri-Moms, Kathi and Suzanne, to find out how they make it through those long days.  Let's all encourage each other.  Discuss it in the comments or write your own post and come link it up here.  (Take a minute to grab the Tri-Moms button located on my sidebar.) 

Coming Soon:
June 7: Beginning Homeschooling
June 21: Routine
July 5: Bulk Shopping
July 19:
Worshiping At Home


  1. We are just now adjusting to having 3, so it's tough some days! Mine are all so little still. It's not the work I mind, it's the stuff that pushes my buttons, and the times (daily) when I blow my top and yell. I want to be better, and I've been praying for it, and I even think it's coming--just gradually. There are some things that would've overwhelmed me before that I can now handle calmly.

    I love having my husband home too and have literally never gotten tired of spending time with him! (It doesn't hurt either that he makes nights so much easier with the kids.) Daddy walking in the door is a happy time every day.

  2. Excellent post!! I was having a similar day this week so I appreciated this open and honest post from your heart. Thanks for the reminder that His grace is enough.

  3. Oh I can so relate to your post. I almost cried when I read the caption under the picture about the roll down the hill with friends is better then pulling our hair out. That is exactly how I feel these days. To bad I am in Florida and there are not many hills. Thanks for the inspiration. I am off to read the other two blogs on Tri-Mom.

    Lil' Momma
    Living with a hard working husband, 2 preschoolers and 1 middle schooler who are Five in Training for HIM

  4. I loved reading your post. We definitely understand long days without Daddy. Hopefully within the next couple of years Tim's work schedule will allow us a little more of a consistent schedule.

    Right now we're contemplating a move while Tim works full-time and takes classes. With three four and under and being 27 weeks pregnant, this should be very interesting :)

    Thankfully, we know God will provide for all of our needs, even when we're at home missing Daddy.

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  5. It's funny I read this and have been thinking how as much as I love and adore having my husband home, it feels like it's time for him to go and deploy. July 1 will mark 2 years since he came home from his last deployment which was a 14 month one and this is the longest he's been home since 2004. So to have him home day in and day out is strange for our family. I'm blessed to stay at home to teach our children, to soak them up...but I'm guilty of sometimes just needing to get through the days, so thanks for that reminder since we're in a busy time for our family right now....scouts (which ends officially in the morning as they have a camp out for the cross over), baseball just 2 more weeks, and AWANA just 2 more weeks. After that I'll only have my girls ballet classes and bible class and for a couple more weeks my Zumba class (instructor's moving). I want to soak in these moments because they'll all be nothing but a memory in a flash.

    God's blessings


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