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Monday, August 1, 2011

Mothering in the Storm

Just as I was finally settling in to watch the news before bed, I heard thunder rumble.  It wasn't the distant thunder type, it was the "Get ready," type and was quickly followed by more ominous booms.  It was less than a minute when the first set of pitter-pats reached my room, and two more quickly followed.  When thunderstorms arrive all three little ones join me in my bed and we hunker down.  Sometimes we all sleep, more often we light candles, make shadows, tickle and giggle our way through the storm.  Even with the recent and horrible storms we've had, they always do pass.  It's natural for mothers to comfort their little ones, to keep them close and safe when storms enter our life and theirs.

The last few years have been stormy in our family life, but the last year was the most acute.  Here are some ways I think I've handled the division of our family well and poorly...
  • We told the children together and reinforced the fact that they have two parents who love them deeply.
  • I have kept as much consistent for the children as possible, especially routines, childcare providers, church, schools and even family traditions like a birthday dinner.
  • Established firm "house rules" and have been brave enough to enforce them strictly.
  • Create a new "welcome home" tradition with notes on the bed.  I'm pleasantly surprised at the delight from a simple note from Mama.  Sometimes I include a favorite candy or little toy just for fun. 
  • Got rid of cable, mostly to save money but the side benefit has been more intentional activities and less tv time.
What I wish I'm not as pleased about -
  • The INconstencies they have to face with bouncing between two homes and the long commutes.
  • Scheduling changes which are beyond my control.
  • Falling into popluarity contests with daddy and sometimes feeling insecure about my mothering skills.
  • Being away from my children at holidays.
 When the personal storms entered our lives, when our marriage failed and our family underwent intense changes, the same holds true.  There was the same need to comfort my little ones, to keep them close and safe.  I'm sure we will face more storms in life - it's part of the human existence in this fallen world.  Financial, relational and more foes will challenge our family for certain.  When those times come, I want to remember the importance of pulling my family close, comforting the pain and creating a safe place to relax, play and remember joy.

If you have journey this road, please share what you are  glad about and what you wish had been different.  Especially - please share if you are a child of divorce ~ Thank you!