Being a mother of three children between the ages of five and two is no simple task. Add a fulltime job and a husband who works at night on top of that and you’ll have my life. I have tried to find a stronger word than ‘exhausted,’ but to this day I haven’t found one. It’s amusing how life can be so exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I often long for time to myself, and when I get it I miss my children and long to have them around me again.
For those who don’t know what it’s like to have a husband who works only nights and whose schedule changes every week here’s what it’s like:
Mornings: I get woken up by one or all three children somewhere between six and seven. They ask if they can watch TV, of course I say yes. Gabriel gets himself breakfast and sometimes even gets some for his sisters while I take a minute and a half shower and rush to put on the first thing I find on the shelf. I then proceed to make sure each child has eaten breakfast, get them dressed, their teeth brushed and shoes and jackets on. Right as we are ready to head out the door Neemias gets home. Kisses all around and off I go with the kids to take Gabriel and Madalyn to school. On a good day Neemias comes with us to walk the clan down the busy streets to school and we stop for a few minutes for a quick cappuccino before he goes back home to sleep since he worked all night.
I then head to church to work in the office and Rebekah comes along. She and I have good and bad days together. It can be challenging to get everything done with her around since she is a momma’s girl. She loves being held and cuddled much more than playing in the church nursery that is right next to my desk. Yet somehow I seem to get all my work at church done on time.
Afternoons: At a quarter to four Rebekah and I head back to school to get Gabriel and Madalyn. We head home for snack and play and often for dance time. My children are NOT a quiet bunch, although many people outside the family find that hard to beliebe as when we are in public they tend to be shy and quiet! They are animated, loud, passionate and imaginative. My ears are often ringing. I never thought I would end up with such a noisy home, but the positive side is that I know my children enjoy each other’s company and truly love each other! At this point hubby wakes up around four thirty or five. I make dinner, we eat (again, a noisy affair…everyone has something to say) and spend a little time with daddy. Then it’s showers for the kids, which is daddy’s job, and jammies are thrown on. We say our prayers, quiet music is turned on and lights out. Daddy goes to work.
Nights: Once hubby has gone to work Rebekah comes out of their room and wants to be rocked to sleep. As I sit on the floor in the kids’ room with her in my arms I listen to Gabriel and Madalyn sing. It’s in these moments, sitting on the hard, cold floor that I realize how blessed I am. The exhaustion of the day seems worth it when I look at the big picture. Once I finally get to bed, around ten or eleven, I fall asleep within minutes, that is, if I haven’t already fallen asleep on the couch (which happens at least three times a week, in which case I wake around two A.M. and put myself to bed)! During the night I always get one, two or three visitors who creep into my bed and sleep with me. I don’t mind much since my husband is at work and I have this huge bed to myself, but I do savor those two or three nights a month when ALL THREE children sleep ALL night in their own beds and I wake up refreshed because no one woke me up in the night.
That is my daily life in three paragraphs. Although I didn’t mention the loads of laundry that I not only have to wash, but hang to dry and then fold and put away. The house must also be cleaned, the groceries must be bought, Gabriel has swimming lessons (because if we will be living on an island my babes must know how to swim) and the kids attend an English afterschool program twice a week at the church while I teach a few middle school girls English. And weekends are not restful, as often husband’s schedule has him working on those days.
There’s so much more that goes on during the week, but this is the gist of it. The main reason I decided to write this all down is because by next week Neemias will no longer be working night shift after working nights our entire marriage (except for our one year in Tinian). As a family we are eagerly looking forward to the future and can’t wait to see what the Lord will provide. We know that each step is a step closer to the island the Lord has placed on our hearts. I wanted to have a record of our life as it is now so that we can one day look back on it and know that with the Lord’s help we can do the impossible. There are days when I don’t know how I can make it through because of stress and exhaustion, but I am reminded that I don’t have to do it on my own. God gives me strength! No one understands what I go through each day, but He does. And believe it or not, that gives me courage to face each new day.