Over-the-phone prayers, protected family time, listening to our guts…
…these are all things we’ve implemented in our home since my husband’s job keeps him on the road right now.
We are over four years into this, so I feel more confident about our choices now that I have tried a few methods and watched the results.
Instead of being frustrated with the way things are, we dedicated a lot of prayer and discussion to what we can do during this season of my husband being gone so much.
One of the issues families coping with separation have to face, is that of the nighttime routine.
With only one parent at home most days and nights, battles must be chosen wisely.
My youngest is in a stage right now where one of four things can happen:
- She immediately untucks herself from bed and gets in bed with me.
- She has a meltdown if I try to make her stay.
- She stays in bed because she fell asleep by the time we all got a drink, went potty, and said prayers.
- She stays in bed all night (ratio of this happening is maybe 2 out 7).
I have tried winning the argument folks. I have tried being Mr. Mom and seeing if mustering up my manly voice and threats of toys taken away etc, would motivate her to stay in bed.
The only thing it accomplishes is making things worse and with a result of less and less sleep.
The nanny reality show, if anyone is familiar with it, may disown me, but I have discovered better results from letting my kid cuddle with me.
They say we are supposed to show them who’s boss and keep at it so they don’t get confused, but in my own situation in dealing with kids who miss their dad, I discovered they don’t so much need strict control (to make up lack for daddy) but rather more of something else:
They seem to almost need more affirmation than what I deemed the necessary amount.
They are not some experiment. They are not robots. They are humans who have emotions and feelings, and trying to “train” them so they won’t go wrong when they are adults just wasn’t working.
I felt as if I was doing a suit change in a kitchen closet at times. One minute trying to handle things as if dad, the other swooping in to be mommy.
I am not two people. Something had to change. We couldn’t even depend on using the phone as a doable method for “discipline” talks.
It only proved to stress out the situation more, unless we put it off for way after everyone cooled down and daddy was stopped for the day.
I found that when I switched my mindset from “teacher” and “trainer” to “giver of love” that my kids naturally began to open up to me more, and thus became better listeners themselves.
Their demeanor has began to change s l o w l y from having a seemingly empty love tank, to more joy and desire to participate in things.
Mainly, I have changed.
No it’s not perfect and there are still normal sibling tiffs. There’s even the typical challenge of wanting their way over doing the right thing.
What I mean to say in this post, is that in loving them out of the abundance of a peaceful heart given by God, I have watched my kids attitudes shift to a more hopeful perspective.
Instead of parenting from the idea that I am the adult and my way is right, this new perspective of parenting with arms wide open (because I keep picturing Jesus’ arms open to the little kids), has proven to give more positive results than a gavel ever did here in our home.
My husband has no problem diving into playing with the kids when he comes home.
Somehow after years of turmoil and stress in trying to cope with the effects of his job keeping him over the road, by God’s grace we are finding these top three ways are what works for us.
I am so thankful for God’s help. I hope if you are dealing with long distance relationship struggles, that this will be of help to you too. Remember, every family is different.
Trial and error are your bffs! – Tweet
Do you have some staples in your family life that allow peace to reside on a daily basis, though your lifestyle or circumstance may be challenging? I’d love to hear, share below!
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