Coping

May 1, 2008 at 9:26 am (Uncategorized)

I got a sweet email from a homeschooling Mom in the UK yesterday and I thought I would share an excerpt of her email here and my response.  Maybe there are others going through similar situations and have wondered the same thing.

We are American but have been living in England for the last nine years.  In November my husband lost his job here and got a new job in Missourri.  Since January he has been there for three weeks and here for one.  I know it’s nosy of me but sounded to me by your blog that you have been living apart for awhile while you relocated and I was wondering how you coped.

Hi,

Thank you for your email and kind words about my blog.  I will be praying for the sale of your home in England.  I can completely understand what you are going through!  Our house has been for sale for over 15 months and still nothing!  It is NOT fun. 

Regarding your question about coping with being apart as a family I thought I would share some of what we did to help us through our looooong one year plus ordeal… Before reading any of my response below please know that I did NOT cope well all the time.  There were many moments when I just wanted to give up!  There were times I was whinny and pathetic!  There were many times I felt very sorry for myself. I  am FAR  from perfect, but here are a few things that I found helpful to get us through the long haul.

Surround yourself with good supportive people – I was so blessed to have a wonderful supportive homeschool group to lean on.  I had people watch my kids, drive me to get car repairs done, help trim the trees in my yard. Etc, etc, etc.  I could not have made it through that very long year without all the love I received from the Christians around us.  Our neighbors were also a huge source of support to me.  They did all kinds of things for me.  They made sure our trash toter was taken to the street on the right days, made us delicious meals when they knew I was exhausted.  Had the kids over to play. The list goes on and on!  I am a very independent person, so accepting help is not easy for me.  But, this was a blessing beyond compare.  The saying "No man in an island." certainly was proved true for me during the months I lived without my husband.  I am so grateful for all the folks who loved on us and got us through in one piece.

Join a good Bible study – This was HUGE for me!  When my husband first left for his new job I debated about whether or not to do a Bible study.  I mean surely in a few weeks I would just have to quit.  HA!  I ended up doing THREE full Bible studies.  Two of them were Beth Moore Studies and quite lengthy!  Not only did I learn SO much from those studies I got a lot of great prayer support from the other ladies in the group.  Which brings me to the next point…

Don’t idealize other peoples situations – One of the unexpected blessing I received from going to Bible study was getting a glimpse into the lives of other women.  I did NOT find it at all coincidental that in the last Bible Study I was in there was one women who’s husband was currently in Iraq and another who’s husband was about to leave for Iraq!  There was also one lady who was divorced and another going through extremely difficult time with her current family situation.  It is a little hard to feel sorry for yourself when you see what others are going through and know that your situation could be worse. 

Find a way to get a weekly break for yourself – This was also a real life saver for me.  For the 1st eight months that my husband was away I had a teenage babysitter once a week.  This was my time to run errands, do my Bible study, go out to eat with a friend.  This time got me through when I felt I was losing my mind.  I knew I had a set time to revive and I NEEDED it!  Once my oldest turned 13 I stopped having a sitter and would leave him with the kids for a few hours once a week after they had gone to sleep.  This allowed me to still do my Bible Study and get out for a few hours a week but I also was able to……

Hire cleaning help! – This was a wonderful treat for me.  In the last few months I was getting really run down.  Having someone else clean my house one day a week was awesome!  Since the house was on the market it had to be clean and I was worn out!  So this was great while it lasted!  LOL

Stay strong for your kids! – Honestly this is probably what kept me going.  Have you ever heard that saying "If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy."?  Well, I completely agree!  I had to stay positive and upbeat so my kids would do the same thing!  If I would feel myself getting negative I would see it in my kids.  No, I wasn’t all I should have been all the time.  But, they did inspire me to do my best with my attitude.

Communicate as best you can. – This one was hard for us because my husband is NOT a phone person.  BUT, he did great at calling me every day when he got off work.  Then he also called every night at bedtime to say prayers with each of the kids.  This was a huge blessing for all of us.  The kids knew that they would be getting a little Dad time each day.  Dad was able to keep up on what was going on in their lives too.  I think my blog was a big blessing for my husband.  He was able to see what was going on at home on a day to day basis and didn’t feel as left out as he would have without having my blog for information.

Have FUN when Dad is home – One thing I found very important was to not just look at every minute Dad was back as work time.  I did usually have a list of things I needed him to do when he was back for a few days,  But, we also did as many fun family things as we could.  We went to movies, out to eat, We made 2 trips to California together as a family. One time when he came back we all went and stayed at a hotel for a couple nights so we could enjoy the pool and time together. 

Enjoy the time you have left in your current location – We tried to do everything we had said we would do "later" and get it done NOW!  We went to all the local sites we had not yet seen.  We made 3 or 4r trips to California.  We basically just looked at it as a loooong weird vacation!

Find online support – Online support was HUGE for me also.  Not only blogs but yahoo groups I am in.  I found places where I could be "real’  I could cry.  I could ask questions.  I could bounce ideas off of others who cared about me and were not going to judge. 

Start packing!  – Okay, I didn’t do this one, but our move would have been MUCH easier if I had!  LOL

Start purging – This one I did to a point.  I started getting rid of things I knew we didn’t need.  It is so easy to hang on to all the baby gear you no longer need when you are staying put, but why move it?  I should have done more and we had to get rid of a LOT at the last minute, but I did get a start on this one.

Trust God – I really tried to keep in mind that even though this all does not seem like it could possibly be Gods plan that "We know that God causes all things to work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Know that this too shall pass – Keep in mind that this all will end.  I KNOW it doesn’t seem like it.  I thought our time apart from Dad was going to do on forever!  But, we made it through.  I know that as hard as it was we have some great memories that we made even during the difficult times.

I hope this helps!  Keep me posted on how things are going and if you ever need a ear to listen or a place to vent feel free to email me!


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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    Hi Jamin,
    I'm not in this situation currently, but I really appreciate your great ideas. You are by far the most creative person I know and I enjoy your blog greatly. Today I went out to get some craft supplies to do some of your preschool crafts, mentioned in the Homeschool Minute. Your blog is a real ministry! Thanks for taking and making the time!

  2. Her Son. said,

    She really is still having nightmares about what they found under my bed.

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