I would like to address both married and single parents. I want to let you know that you are not alone.
As I am typing this blog I have yet again put my girls in bed. All by my myself. This is the 14th night in a row and I have three more to go. We’re happily married, our kids are growing up into two beautiful responsible girls but the reality of our life is that my husband travels ever so often. Sometimes for a night or two, sometimes Monday to Thursday but at least twice a year for a week or two. It's tough!
A few tips how to cope
- Try to keep the routine as normal as possible. Routine creates a safe space for everyone. Keep meal times at the same time. Lay the table and have your kids take turns choose what they want for dinner.
- When the girls were smaller it was difficult for them to say goodbye to their dad at the airport. We stopped dropping him off at the airport after my eldest clung to his leg and tears were streaming down her face. She begged him to stay.
- Have fun together. We always make a list of things that we can do while dad is not home. The girls can sleep on mattresses on the floor in my room. Trust me, a mattress on the floor assures a better night’s rest than them on me on the bed! We watch movies in bed on a weekend. Make Fridays a fun day. We spent our fun day at the local village market. We had silly amounts of chocolate brownies, spring rolls and milk tart for dinner. Afterwards we went to a free music concert in town.
- Keep dad involved in all the activities via social media. We spent the last few minutes of a day on the phone with dad. He even explained the function of a budget to our Grade 5 over the phone. The girls can WhatsApp him whenever they feel like it and we send him photos and video clips of special events, like a netball game or prize giving.
- We pray for dad daily. On a few occasions my husband has phoned from overseas as I was driving the girls to school. He then prays with us over the speaker phone. In that way we still feel like family even if we are 1000’s of kilometers apart.
- Some days, I find it very tough when my husband is away. Try not to let the kids see how tough it is. We are in this together and if I am angry about it, it does not make it better for anyone. I have cried a few times in the past 14 days. In those tough times God reminds me that He cares deeply for us as a family. He will guide and comfort me in all my ways.
If you are in the same situation, where you have a travelling spouse, I want to encourage you with Isaiah 40: 11 “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that have young.” Oh, and how precious is Isaiah 54:5! “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.”
I have seen several miracles where God stepped in as my husband when mine was not around and I desperately needed a man to do a job. A few years ago, my dog which I adopted a few weeks earlier surprised me with puppies and I desperately needed a crate for the pups to be safe. I was yet again home alone when It happened. I had no other option but to go and buy a few pieces of wood and nails to build a crate. I explained my situation to the man behind the counter in Timber City and he told me to wait as he disappeared into the back of the store. I waited and waited, even got a bit impatient with the disappearing man. After 30 minutes he appeared with a fully assembled crate ready for the 7 new born pups at home. He did not even want me to pay for it.
In that moment God reminded me of the fact that He told me that He would be me husband when mine was not around. I bawled my eyes out as I thanked God for once again proving Himself a faithful God!
Hang on to God my dear single mom-married friend! God’s got your back! He’ll help you through it!
About the author
Nantie, Danie and their two girls live in Nambia. Nantie is Evergreen Parenting's representative in the Namibia area and also serves as a parenting consultant at Evergreen Parenting. She has a heart for families, teachers and the youth and is actively involved in serving on different levels to see that children, as well as families, inherit a rich legacy.