Families separated by distance: The top 3 ways that help our home function & thrive.

the top 3 things we do to keep peace and order in our home

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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14 thoughts on “Families separated by distance: The top 3 ways that help our home function & thrive.

  1. Way to go, Meghan! We’ve had seasons when my husband worked out of town for extended periods of time, and it is HARD. My hat is totally off to you for figuring out how to make it work in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved. We used Skype a lot while my husband was gone, and I ate a lot of trail mix after the kids went to bed. 🙂 Seriously, your words about your children not being robots or experiments are so true … you’re their mom and you are most in tune with what they need to function well AND feel loved (not some book or parenting system).

    1. Thanks Lois it is and it takes creativity sometimes lol. We can’t do Skype because my husband still has on old Nokia phone but one day we can upgrade hopefully. I seriously believe it’s by God’s Grace we have made it. In earlier years when I didn’t know what I was doing I never thought I’d be able to live much less thrive through it. So many hours spent crying which saps strength that’s already lacking. I hope I can encourage even one mama! Thanks for your kind words today. Have a blessed week(end)!

  2. I agree with you… the way others do things doesn’t always work in our own situations. My hubby and I are on our second go around with raising kids. My older kids ages (20, 18, 17) and now our surprise is 7 years old. I do things different with him then the others. And I was just thinking as I was reading through your post… “take advantage of those times… cuddle with them… read a book that you’ve wanted to read while they fall asleep next to you and then move them to their own beds before you tuck yourself in” Those years don’t last forever and it will all change before you know it! 🙂 (Stopping by from #HeartEncouragement) Have a great weekend!

    1. Yes Rachel the retucking in is a good one too. We have done this from time to time. Even tonight as finish up something on here, she is asleep beside me. When daddy is home they all seem to super fine but there;s something about knowing mom has that extra empty spot beside her that makes a kid want to sneak in LOL. Thanks for stopping by, and bless you and your big happy family!!

  3. This is really encouraging! My husband does not travel a lot but any time he is gone, I feel similar things so could definitely relate. I commend moms who have husbands who travel a lot!

  4. I agree completely. When my husband is deployed, I have found such better results with compassion and snuggling rather than discipline and using the “dad voice”. This post is so on point! And I love that you mentioned the image of Jesus opening his arms to our children. I need to live by that more! Visiting from Grace&Truth and scheduling to share on my FB page! I know a lot of other military wives will be able to benefit from this post.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I kept picturing it in the back of my mind but got mixed advice from leaders over of the years. At some point you just have to listen that still small voice within even if it seems counter to the world’s ways (or the religious way). God bless you and thankf for your kind words and input. I do hope it helps. I have been confused about my niche for years but finally am seeing where God can take hardships and allow me to encourage others!!?

  5. It sounds really over-simple, but eating breakfast together really helps us to get off to a good start. I love vacations when the boys can sleep in and have a relaxed beginning to their day, but it just doesn’t work to have everyone getting up at different times when we have a job to do!

    1. That sounds amazing, Michele! We love doing breakfast too. Of course Matt isn’t here much but even for the rest of us it means a lot to start off that way. Have you heard of Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey? We would listen to that while we ate a lot of times.

  6. One of the best ways I’ve found to keep the peace is to make an effort to laugh. Me. The mom. The one who has so much to do and never enough time. The one cooking while helping with homework and battling about video game time. Making time for me to laugh can change the whole atmosphere in our home!

    1. YES, Becky amen! I am a fan of Proverbs 17:22!! I always “laughter be like medicine!” I have been learning to loosed up after years of being fearful, bitter and hardened. It is a totally bright big light bulb indeed.

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