My husband and I have been separated for the last six months.  He has been living in an apartment in Canada Monday through Friday on business.  Now that his assignment is over and he’s vacating Nome (what I called his apartment which is short for Not home), I thought I’d share what I learned being a part time single mom since October.

1.       Being a single mom is mentally and physically exhausting.  Although my husband has traveled our entire twenty some years together, it wasn’t until this past six months of having him home only for 48 hours a week, did I realize how tiring it is to mom-it alone.

2.       My kids can step it up when needed.  Usually on Wednesdays I would start to lose it.  Sensing this my kids began to help without me asking/yelling. For their benefit (and ours) we need to have them help more often and do so when they didn’t make the mess, when it would be easier to do it ourselves and when we know they will complain when we ask. 

3.       My brain hurts.  Just keeping track of the calendar of three children and myself is nutso enough, but that’s not all.  Discerning how to handle three tweens/teens bad day at school, poor choices, hard relationships and whether or not to let my 16 year old go to “The D.U.F.F.,” made my melon almost implode some nights.

4.       I am a nicer person when I’m not tired.  During the day I would miss my husband and be thankful for how hard he was working for our family (he hates traveling as much as we hated having him gone).  Around 6 pm however, while I was shoveling the driveway, “dinner” was burning and I was helping people with math that is way too hard for me, my fond thoughts of my husband turned into resentment. Why does he get to go out to eat tonight? I’m glad he had time to go to the gym while I was running his children around God’s green earth.  I want to go to a Montreal Canadiens Hockey game with my friends (ok, not really, but I want to go somewhere fun with my friends).

5.       Unfortunately for my husband, the only time I got to talk to him was after 6 pm.

6.       It really helps when you are about to feel sorry for yourself to remember that there are always people who have it worse and then pray for them.  Two women from my church who are about my age and both have children, recently lost their spouses.  I prayed for them a lot over the last six months.

7.       I gradually became more thankful of the small things while my husband was away.  I was so grateful we did not have a lot of snow this winter (shoveling, bad) and that I have great friends who have felt sorry for me, helped me by driving my kids around and who asked me what they could do for me.  I was also thankful as my friend Jen reminded me, that I missed my husband when he was gone.  Some wives don’t.  A spirit of gratitude is immensely helpful when life is complicated.

8.       Sometimes it is the small victories that help us realize we are stronger than we think we are. Last Tuesday I realized as I was taking the trash bins out, that I was the first one on the block to get them to the end of the street.  Booyah, Neighbor Dudes.

“Dear God, thank you for my amazing, hard-working husband and thank you for what I learned while were apart.  Thank you for reminding me to give people grace because I don’t know if that woman in front of me in the grocery line yelling at her kids is single or not.  Please bless single moms, Lord.  Give them strength, confidence and a sense of Your presence and help us remember single or married, that you are always our ultimate Protector and should be our first true love.  Thank you that Chris is moving home.  Please help us have grace for one another and when I am tempted to correct, get frustrated and kick into my perfectionist mode, please remind me of days I cried because I just wanted a hug and couldn’t have one.  In Your Name, Amen.”