After a whole day of managing the house and the children, I find that when 5pm rolls around I want to flip the "being responsible" switch and take a break. My energy, my skills, and, yes, I'll say it, my temper, have reached the limit and I'm ready for auto pilot. No thinking, no disciplining, no doing anything that involves effort.
And truth be told, so often my husband, in his graciousness, allows me this much needed reprieve. He comes home from work, plays with the kids, steps up to chasten and admonish them when needed. He often cleans the dinner dishes before wrestling that last bit of energy out of the boys so that bedtime can go smoothly.
This is yet another reason why I love my husband. And yet another reason why I'm missing him while he is away. Am I wrong to think that being a single parent might very well be the hardest part of Army life?
Of course, I miss my husband and best friend for so many other reasons (adult conversation, protection, physical touch, regular encouragement), but I right now I'm really missing him as "Daddy."
The last week, though it has flown by, has been such a challenge. I have found my strength and stamina dwindling when it comes to child rearing. Why is it so easy to let things slide when you're the only one? I tell myself, it's no big deal to let my son talk back just this once... but then is it really okay to let it go three times in a row? Or what about turning a blind eye to family devotions, telling myself that "I don't want my husband to miss out on several chapters of Proverbs" that we'd read in his absence...when really in truth, I don't feel like trying to keep the boys sitting still and listening for another 15 minutes?
Unfortunately, the list goes much longer than this, bed time, chores, spankings... why is it so easy to feel that we'll get back to "real life" when Daddy's home again? And during this in-between-time, this single parenting time, it's okay to be lazy and let things go?
Well, let me tell you. It's NOT.
I'm reaping the "rewards" of what I've sown. After a week of sending my children mixed signals by sometimes letting them to their own devices and at other times following them around with the rod of correction... I'm finding that neither them nor I are taking me very seriously.
Yes, I could use a break. I could use an easy button. And I could use an iced white mocha right about now. But taking a break is very foolish when it comes to parenting... especially when it involves being inconsistent in discipline!
While it is good to have times of quiet from the hustle and bustle of the the daily grind, as a Christian, I must never stop confronting sin in my life or allow myself to use "single parenting" as an excuse.
And now I pray,
Lord, forgive me for being inconsistent this week. Please keep me strong to complete the tasks you have laid before me. Help me to remember that I must be steadfast, regardless of my energy level. Thank you for causing me to reap what I've sown as a lesson and reminder that I cannot let sin take root in my life.
And thank you for my husband who makes working hard so much more bearable. Miss you, Sweetheart!