The Six Day Single Mom Saga: How I Discovered The REAL Importance of Fathers
My husband leaves for work, and all of a sudden I feel like my child has come down with Subsitute Teacher Syndrome (STS) . Y’all remember the excitement that you got when the teacher was out? The rules got bent and broken, and it was like a staycation at school. I should be messaging all of my substitute teachers and asking them for forgiveness. From my findings I believe that STS is embedded into every child’s DNA. Some of us, still struggle with it as adults. PJ knew that the Sheriff was out of town, and although I manage a bit of the household on a regular basis, the authority and protection that we are used to having was absent, and to a child that calls for two actions, more partying and more crying. Either there’s a such thing as STS or there was kingpin child dealing pixie sticks to my child after church.
One night while listening to AFR (American Family Radio) I heard some very useful advice on what to do when your husband is away. It was to not make your husband feel guilty for leaving. For example, instead of letting your child say “Daddy I miss you, and when are you coming home?” The more encouraging thing to allow your children to say is “Daddy I love you and I can’t wait to see you!” I tried to apply this advice myself, though I admit I shared some of my grievances with Paul. The time away allowed me to appreciate and pray for Paul in ways that I do not when he is here. Perhaps I should feel this way everyday, but I hadn’t because I had taken my husband for granted.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed being able to stretch out in the middle of the bed like a starfish, and wake up on Paul’s side without any protest. But all the while I missed my best friend and the protection and security that he provides. Every night I had to check to make sure that the door were locked…. at least twice, and I was very strategic as to what lights I left on. Psalms 91 was my mantra.
I felt as if I needed to record myself saying, stop, come here, put that back, and change into the deep voice to be as effective.
So this is how it went down…
The Six Day Single Mom Saga
Sat Day #1– We Went to Target for therapy. It worked.
SunDay# 2 – I Murdered A Centipede.
It had literally been years since I killed a bug. Well at least something that was larger than a fruit fly or an ant. That was something that I was a little bit proud of. Being that I’ve been married for almost three years, the math adds up just right. I’m not saying that I haven’t had the opportunity to kill a bug, I just let them live until my husband comes on the scene to persecute them and then assassinate the intruder.
Sunday night when I arrived home and turned light on in PJ’s room a house centipede was chillin’ right above PJ’s crib. My immediate reaction was, “Ahhhhh Naaaawww!” I walked out into the hallway and thought “Why Lord, Why?” The one day my husband is gone, a big ol’ bug is in the house, and the kind that was Paul’s arch-nemesis at that. I thought “Lord, you want ME to kill this thing?” And I had to take this one out by myself. Why? Because it was threatening my off-spring so… It. Had. To. DIEEEEEE!
So I got myself together and said this scripture.
“The Lord has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind”
This is what should have been saying,
“Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19
When I finally got myself together, I grabbed Paul’s shoe (because I definitely won’t kill’n that thang with mine). I closed my eyes and faced my fears. I KILLED THAT JANK!
Monday Day#3 Pulling Poop
So I admit it… while Paul was “away”, he was actually in town. Normally he drives somewhere on the east coast, but this time he was away for the week at a nearby university. On this particular day PJ and I chose to visit even though our time with Paul was very scarce. When it was time to say goodbye I locked PJ in the car seat, Paul kissed PJ goodnight, and we were on our way across town to our home. But before we could even get one mile off the campus I smelled something terrible. It wasn’t like a dirty diaper smell, it was more like someone had took a swim in the sewer and had hitchhiked a ride in my backseat.
It was PJ. I thought what did I feed that child. I was very confused as to why it smelled soooooo bad. I admit, I gambled.. I thought if I drove a bit faster I could make it home without having to stop to change him. It was dark and stopping to change a dirty diaper was the last thing that I wanted to do.
That gamble was over when I looked back to check out the scene and PJ was offering me a hand full of poop …like HE was doing ME a favor. As if he was serving me chocolate mousse on a poo-poo platter.
My worst nightmare came true… and I didn’t even know that that was my worst nightmare.
I pulled over at the nearest grocery store, I wiped the chocolate mousse off of PJ’s hands and face, and I changed his diaper (which was the only thing that he wore home). I grumbled in disbelief through the entire process.
This stunt of PJ’s was a cry out for his daddy. We were both upset, but after a bath and a cry out to the Lord for grace we were able to get a decent night’s rest.
Tuesday Day #4 12am Fedora – Yes this was happening at this time… Don’t ask why.
Picture of PJ in Fedora Hat
Wednesday Day#5 Veggie Tale Marathon
I normally not a proponent of long hours of television – especially for toddler. But at day #5 I was desperate.
Thursday Day#6 – Survival Mode – Anything Goes. I kept him alive with food and shelter. Enough said.
What I realized was that without Paul around there was a big gaping hole in our family. In our own ways PJ and I were both crying out for Paul’s God given given authority over our family. It was so peculiar to me because I realized that having Paul around fulfilling his role as a husband and father makes me a better mother.
Having a husband to be a father to our children helps me to fully immerse myself in the role of a mother. I can nurture without limits. I can give hugs, healthy snacks, encourage, and instruct in a way that is completely natural to me. During our time without Paul, I had to take on his role along with my own which made me tired, irritable, and quite frankly not good at either one. After going to work, driving around to run errands, cooking dinner, I didn’t have the energy to play with my growing toddler boy as Paul normal has. If if I wasn’t feeling well… oh well — rest wouldn’t come until PJ’s bedtime.
As much as society believes it is so, the father’s role can not be replaced. Mothers can never be fathers and fathers can never be mothers. If one could replace the other, those living without a mother or father wouldn’t cry out so desperately for that missing parent. If mommies could be daddies sufficiently, we would never ever hear the cries or grievances of those raised without their father. There would be no complaints because the job would be done efficiently by the one parent. But most make do with what they have available. God is the only one that can fully fill the void of a missing parent.
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Psalm 27:10
Now with all this being said I tremendously respect those moms and dads who take on the enormous task of single parenting. It is not easy. I was only one my own as a “single” parent for six days and I was in awe at the reality that so many women and men take on. They do it because they have to, because they love their children. And during my six days I didn’t have to worry about finances (expect on my trip to Target) or take on a second job to make ends meet. My six days alone with PJ was more like a pathetic mockery of the true circumstances that many families strive through.
I have lived in both realities, I’ve lived in a single parent home and now I am blessed to be a mother in a two parent home. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’m that brave to do what my mom and so many others have done. But I know that God gives special grace to those that need it.
Tell me about your time home alone without your spouse. What do you do? How do you cope? Military wives (the other heroes), single moms, and wives with traveling husbands like mine I want to hear from you.
4 Sing praises to God and to his name!
Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.[a]
His name is the Lord—
rejoice in his presence!
5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.