The words married and single don't seem to fit in the same sentence together, do they? Nevertheless the scenario happens more often than one may realize. You see, if you're married to a Pastor or an Evangelist and have young children, then you know right from the beginning what I'm speaking of.
Many times the Pastor/ Husband/ Father is called away from home to minister, leaving the wife to be the super glue, the adhesive that holds things together until he returns. Often he is gone not just days, but weeks at a time. How is the wife to keep her sanity until he returns?
It's not that she cannot live or breathe without the love of her life there with her at all times, But there are a number of things that can cause her to be stretched to the limit and threaten her sanity.
One of the first conditions she must deal with is loneliness. Missing the companionship of her mate is trying within itself without adding the burdens of caring for the home and children alone.
Another concern she must deal with is being there to answer the telephone when members call with questions, issues or concerns that only the pastor can deal with.
Yet another worry, and I think one of the major stresses she faces, is that of exhaustion. Consider this. The mother wakes the children, cleans and dresses them for the day, prepares their breakfast and gets them off to school. If she works outside the home, then she too must be off to work. After a long day at the office, she picks up the children, possibly makes a stop to the grocery store, gets home, cooks the meal, feeds the children, washes the dishes and stops to take a breath. Having caught her breath, she gears up to give the children their baths, help them brush their teeth and tucks them in the bed. If her eyes are not crossed by now, she may be able to read a bedtime story before she falls asleep. Can you see the exhaustion factor here? And there's still the laundry, the lawn, the mail. The list goes on.
Then include the extracurricular activities. There's soccer, baseball and swimming practice. And don't forget to include those doctor or dentist appointments, the parent-teacher conferences and those unexpected trips to the emergency room. Of course, those trips always seem to happen when daddy is away.
So, to say the least, the married-single mother is exhausted beyond measure. Handling all those tasks alone is daunting. So I'd like to share four bits of advice for the married-single mothers (I emphasize the word"bits" as I realize that's all you really have the time for).
1. Realize you are human, not superhuman
Do only that which has to be done. Ask our Heavenly Father to help you eliminate that which is not a "must-do?' Prioritize your tasks. This will help. Those things that you find at the bottom of the list can probably wait.
For those things that must be done, organize them in a way that is time-efficient. Set a goal for bedtime and stick to it. Some organizing tips that may make your day go a little smoother are:
- Lay out your clothes (including the children's clothes) the night before and, if possible, set them out for the duration of the week.
- Prepare lunches the night before.
- Fill your car with gas on Sunday.
- Grocery shop before the week begins.
3. Be nice to yourself
Though you may realize you're doing double duty as a mom and dad, remember, don't forget to take care of yourself. Pamper yourself. Spend ten minutes enjoying your favorite dessert. Relax at the end of the day in a foaming bath of your favorite fragrance or take time out to watch your favorite television program. Spending some time on yourself will help with your sanity.
4. Keep Christ before you
Remember God's promise that He is there for you. Ask Him for His help and accept His aid. "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19).
In the final analysis, we must realize that we play an important role in ministry. Our being there for our husbands and our children is an active part of ministry, just as active as our husbands being away preaching the gospel. The Lord sees our services and He blesses our efforts. One day we will beam with a smile as we hear our Saviour say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant . enter thou into the joy of the Lord."
May God continue to bless us all until that day comes.