My sergeant shoe of parenting
In the span of twenty-four hours my life had made a sudden detour. A season of motherhood that I’d not expected, when a 2yr old little boy entered my life. It was a trip that I hadn’t been prepared for, much less packed.
Jeff and I were asked if we could take in a family member’s son. They were finically unstable to offer the care and responsibility of raising their son. We told them that we were willing to help and our home was his home until they could get back on their feet to properly care for him.
Instantly, I was in a season of raising my two teenage daughters and son but also a young boy who came with a lot of emotional baggage for a child his age.
Opening our hearts and home to this child came with unexpected challenges and health issues that needed to be addressed. Most importantly, we needed to establish security and a stable environment for him
I knew exactly which shoe would be required for this new stage of our lives. I headed straight to my closet to grab my military boots. Sergeant Mom had arrived.
I didn’t pick out the shoe of discipline
A short time after the lasted addition to our family arrived, I was on my way home from grocery shopping. I was frustrated, overwhelmed and at my wit’s end from dealing with all my kids. As usual, Jeff had been on a trip.
As I was getting into my car, my mom called. She asked how the kids and I were doing. Within seconds of her asking, I started crying. Just not your typical cry, I was sobbing.
I was upset about a lot of things. Upset that this whole parenting thing was not something I signed up for. I didn’t want to wear my Sergeant Mom boots all the time. I didn’t want the added parental challenge of potty training, establishing bedtime routines, or teaching someone how to bathe and brush his teeth. I had already flown that trip three times.
I was tired.
Raising four children and being married to a pilot who travels, requires discipline and order. I FELT it was MY job as a mom to establish that.
When you look up the word discipline in the dictionary, you’ll see some common words next to it: control, training, routine, and respect. Reading those words reminded me of how I expect those attributes in my own life and children.
1. Control – I want to control how things will be when my husband is gone, including bedtime, behavior, chores, and our schedule.
2. Training- I want to train them to clean their room, be nice to each other, etc.
3. Routine- I want to establish morning, afternoon, and bedtime routines
4.Respect- I want respect for each other’s things importantly, for me as a parent.
Did you notice the I’s above? I want. I need. I don’t. It wasn’t about me. It was about God who had placed this little boy in my life to care for him, love him, bring stability and routine to his life that only I could do.
There is a verse in the Bible that comes to mind, and I love how it reads in the Message,
“Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old, they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22-6 MSG
Isn’t that what we are trying to do? Pointing them as to where to go so that they won’t get lost.
As a mom, my role is to train, to establish an environment of stability and structure and of course love. And let’s not forget the carry-on of flexibility. If I don’t take the time to pack those and map out those routines, I will eventually encounter turbulence. I can be flying throughout my day, and all of sudden my attitude of patience is no longer working.
Some days flying as a parent and all that is required of me can be tough. Although I don’t always enjoy wearing my military boots, I know it’s the call God has for my life, and I has their mom.
Leaving my shoes at the door
Sharing my struggles with other PW’s, they have opened up to about their difficulties wearing the military boots. “I run the house day in and day out; mostly it’s my rules,” one wife opened up to me. She went on to say, “My husband shouldn’t have to deal with all the nonsense that goes on when he is home, but he does hear about it when he’s away”. It’s a catch 22.
A few other moms voiced,” I’m everyone’s UBER. I’m regularly cleaning up messes, running to the grocery and doctors appointments. Personally, there’re times I feel I need to be in control.” Oh, I can relate. I have no plan to take off my “Command of Discipline” shoe.
When dad comes home, the routine may change up a bit, because now there are two parents. During those times I have to remember that it’s not just me solo parenting it’s we. We are one, and we work together. But subconsciously, I don’t. I continue to wear those shoes and resume to bring order and routine.
Do I still wear those sergeant boots? You betcha! I struggle with taking them off at times when I need to. Every moment of every day. At times it seems like every moment I’m asking God to give me wisdom, grace, and mercy not only for my kids but me as well.
Prayer; In Corinthians 12:10 you say, “For I am weak, then I am strong.” Help me to find comfort that you are in control in those moments of weakness. I feel torn and stretched in so many directions that I do not know which way to go. In the midst of my stress, may I look to you. Give me the strength to handle areas where I feel pulled in. Thank you that I can run to You for wisdom and peace. Amen.
An update ….
That little boy that took me off course is now eleven. He is in 5th grade and is back with his mama. I miss him! He was unquestionably a challenge and full of zealous energy that required many evenings of wine. As I share with you about him, I may not have given birth to him, but I definitely felt as if he was my own. He still his.
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How do you handle discipline in your own life as a wife of a traveling husband? Leave a comment below. I’m sure we can all learn from each other.