Wednesday, November 02, 2016

all by myself


When Mike decided to go back to school, I was excited for him. I knew he would learn all sorts of important things and have many new experiences. I knew he would stretch and grow. What I didn't realize is that I would, too. I've always been an independent, do-it-yourself kind of person, but I feel like I have to take it to the next level now that Mike is rarely home. Everything that has to do with running our home and family sits squarely on my shoulders. (Minus the finances. Thankfully, Mike still handles those.) The other day, I changed the tube on Stella's bike all by myself. Yesterday, I even braved Costco alone. Ha! I know this is crazy, but I had never been there without Mike before. Costco trips were always a family affair. But our Costco list was getting longer by the day and Mike's load this quarter isn't letting up, so I bit the bullet and wandered the aisles alone.

Sometimes this feels really hard, but I find that if I decide to be thankful for the opportunity to stretch and grow, it doesn't feel so quite so burdensome. I know life isn't meant to be easy all of the time, and I am grateful for this season in my life where I get to learn how to do some hard things all by myself.


I realize there are many women who are truly mothering alone, whether because of divorce or death or military service, or other reasons. These women are my heroes and they have my deepest respect. I am grateful that Mike comes home from school each day (even if it's after the kids are in bed).

10 comments:

  1. I can appreciate this post. Like you, I was always very independent and I take after my Dad in that I could always figure things out mechanically, etc., but I got very spoiled when my Jim came along 16 years ago (14 years of marriage) and since he just takes care of many things, I rely on him for many things that I used to do alone and when he was away for the weekend recently (which rarely ever happens anymore), I felt lost going to the grocery store on my own because we ALWAYS shop together. He is my best friend truly, and we do everything together.

    Anyway, I just appreciated your sweet post - you always write from the heart and that's why I've read your blog all these years :) Have a great day!
    Linda in Illinois

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  2. Hopefully, it won't be forever, but I have been married to an academic now for 20 years and sadly we only see my husband on Sundays or occasionally in the mornings. Since we live so far out of the city my husband often leaves before we get up. It kind of sucks; however, I am glad I have his still by my side. Hang in there!

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  3. This was our first 7 years of marriage. I would let Maesyn stay up until 10pm or so just so she could see Nate during the week. And then he was put in a bishopric on top of it. I did just about everything...including our finances. I would even pack and unpack for his scouting trips when he was in scouts. I still do a lot of the stuff around here out of habit. Nate does contribute a lot and I insisted he take over health insurance matters (I do think he is maybe a bit annoyed by it- but I insist.) I have also had him set up a few things over our last 2 moves just because I was feeling lazy about it. I need to not feel guilty having him do more around the house. It was out of necessity before to have me do it all, and now it is more habit. I am usually the one to change all the bike tires around here, I generally call on Nate for his physical strength or when I need a second opinion- otherwise if I ask him to do something I know I can do myself I feel like I am just being lazy. Most of the time I do not mind. I really really enjoy working physically and he works hard supporting our family financially. He works full time and teaches for UOP as well. When Nate and the kids go to costco with me we spend too much!

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  4. Oh, I hear you! We've been married for 14 years and my husband has been in school the entire time. He's months away from finishing his PhD. We have six kids and I have taught at the university the whole time to fund his graduate studies (I finished mine before we came here). It is HARD. There are so many days that I wonder how much longer I can do this--you're not alone in feeling the drain. Hang in there!!! You can do it--and like you say, you'll find inner reservoirs of strength. When it was the absolute worst for me and I was literally crying myself to sleep every night with a brand-new baby and a husband that was gone from 6 am - 2 am, I decided that it was time to train for a marathon on my treadmill. It was so good for me to have something of my own to occupy the lonely evening hours when the kids were in bed and my husband was still at his lab.

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  5. Oh but I will add--make sure you get some time for yourself, and try to keep family time alive. Running is my "me" time, but it's been pretty crucial for us to have dinner together, even if it means I'm packing everything up and hauling the kids down to campus when he's really busy. Family dinners together are the one thing I haven't been willing to compromise. My grad advisor told me that most divorces in academia happen either right after graduation or right after making tenure, and I've found that we have to really work deliberately on our marriage in order to avoid just becoming ships passing in the night.

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  6. I appreciated this post and all the comments! I have a two year old and twins who turn one in a month. My husband is a busy MD who works probably 60-70 hrs a week and has lots of other business investment work on the side. He helps me a lot where he can but I never assume or expect it, otherwise life would be too frustrating. Like some of the others have said, I sometimes wonder how I can keep going with the endless demands (and not sleeping well on top of it - I think I developed a sleep disorder from being woken up so frequently when the twins were smaller). I'm amazed though how much Heavenly Father will strengthen us when we need it, especially when it comes to families. I also like the confidence that comes from realizing you can do more than you thought you could. Or how you get relief or a tender mercy when we need it most. It's hard but also fascinating.

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    1. I bet you do have a sleep disorder. I had a toddler and then baby twins plus two more kids a few years later. My youngest was 3 and I still wasn't sleeping. (husband with super busy work and calling) I finally had to ask the doc and he said that your brain creates an "over-vigilance" and wont let you sleep even when all your babies are. It took a few months of light medication to retrain my body to sleep at night and then I was able to ween off of it. Sleep deprivation is so hard! Good luck!

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  7. I also wanted to mention, in reading the other thoughtful responses, that my husband and I are obviously at an entirely different stage of life. I am early 50s and he is 60 this year, and we have moved beyond the striving and career-goal oriented part of life and are now coming into a much different time and even considering a major job change that most people wouldn't understand because it's such a giant step backwards financially, but we've learned that there's much more to life than money and always being stressed out and busy. We're able to make this change in that we never really did follow popular culture in buying a large home (we live in a tiny cottage really that we were able to pay off years back), we don't spend money on things that most people consider necessity, we drive older cars, don't accumulate debt (we have none).... so because of these choices, we can now make some other choices. Many things have led up to these decisions, but nothing affected us more than seeing what happened to a dear friend of my husband, who was always working one more year, just one more year until retirement, until he died suddenly. Life isn't guaranteed, there is so much more than career success and monetary gain. So, with faith yet again, we plunge forward in search of a simpler, quieter life. :)

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    1. I love your comments. My husband and I are trying to adopt this lifestyle. It's been amazing to see how having a smaller home and living debt free has given us time to truly build memories and strong family relationships. My father died when he was 46 and as a teen I realized the time to live life is now!! It sure stinks to have a husband in school or working long hours, but if you work hard enough your goals become a reality. Having time for the outdoors, family dinner, vacations, and just being together is a huge blessing! Hang in there Stephanie. I'm sorry you had to do Costco alone. I don't wish that on anyone! 😉

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  8. I loved reading this... I spent last school year without my husband and doing all the things by myself was so daunting. But you're right, I grew so much! It's the silver lining.

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