We have gone through a lot of changes in the past few months.
First my husband was suddenly laid off, which meant he went from having the regular, predictable schedule associated with a full time job to being home most of the time.
That took some getting used to.
We had to navigate around each other and work out who was going to do what if the baby was crying, the phone was ringing, and the boy needed help with Algebra – all at the same time. These are things I had been doing all on my own during the day, but now that he wanted to pitch in, it still remained to be decided exactly what each of our “jobs” would be.
Now that he is employed, but working mostly out of town, we are once again trying to find the new normal.
Going from one extreme to another, while we were sometimes literally tripping over each other trying to get lunch served, now I find myself completely on my own serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, PLUS solving sibling disputes, answering tough life questions, and tucking everyone in at night.
DISCLAIMER: I am not griping here. We are thrilled that my husband has a job and we are able to pay our bills and even contribute to the needs of others. I am simply contrasting the difference between having a husband home most of the time to having a husband gone most of the time.
Here are a few tips for coping when Dad’s out of town:
- Try to keep your regular schedule. Get up and get dressed and serve breakfast as usual. Continue with as much of your routine as possible so the kids can count on some predictability during this time of transition.
- Involve each of the children in regular phone calls. We even let the baby hear Daddy’s voice over the phone as he talks sweetly to her and she stares curiously into the phone wondering how he got in there!
- Continue to eat dinner around the table together each night. It is tempting for me to pass out sandwiches and let the kids scatter after a long day, but I have found that keeping our dinner routine seems to bring a sense of calm to us and we definitely enjoy a time of all coming together, even if Daddy’s seat is empty.
- Pray for Daddy together. Each day, throughout the day, we pray to thank God for Daddy’s job and to ask protection over him while he is away.
- Pray for yourself. Ask God for wisdom in the many daily decisions you are making on your own now. Ask for endurance and energy to make it through the days being the only adult in the house.