I am a creature of habit. I love routine. I can eat the same foods every day for weeks on end without getting tired of them. I have no doubt that one of the comforts of a schedule is my ability to feel in control. So, it comes as no surprise that, as Lil' Bit gets older and begins to establish something of a routine, I began to feel more comfortable as a mom. Phil and I have also done fairly well at making sure we each get some time to ourselves for relaxation or catching up on sleep.
However, I have discovered one giant snag in all of our well-laid plans. Phil's job. See, back when it was just the two of us, although it was inconvenient for him to be called away for church stuff or a fire page, it was no big deal. I had things I go do, people I could visit, naps I could take, etc. It may have crimped our plans on an occasion, or four, but I knew what I was getting into when I married him (with the exception of the fire chaplaincy thing), so I managed to take it all in stride. Now that Lil' Bit is here, I find myself reacting much worse. See, today was supposed to be my day to sleep in. Phil has a busy weekend full of church things, but we had carved out a few hours for me to get some stuff done. All that ended with the 3:00 a.m. phone call. Phil was needed. Did I understand? Yes. Not just because it is Phil's job, but because our parishioners are more than that, they are our friends, and I want to be able to help when my friends hurt. I love that Phil has the ability to be with people and comfort them. It is a gift, and one that is worth sharing.
I am, nevertheless, human. I'm going to let you in on a secret. Neither pastors, nor their spouses, are anything close to perfect. They have the same problems and feelings you do. Thus, I get angry and resent that my alone time is gone. I am frustrated that I now have to figure out how to juggle our morning routine by myself. I recognize that this is not the first or last time that this will happen, and it's not as though it's some giant surprise. Phil's job has always been this way. It's just that I find myself wishing, on occasion, that my husband worked a job with "regular" hours. One that didn't involve late meetings multiple days of the week, or being on-call, or always working on weekends, thereby preventing quick weekend getaways. There are many, many days when I feel like a single parent. Coming home after a day at work, picking up Lil' Bit, feeding her, trying to cram down food for myself at the same time, giving her a bath, a little playtime, and getting her to bed, all (hopefully) in time to pump and head to bed myself. It is in these glimpses of single-parenthood that I am grateful that I have a spouse who can and does help me. I just find myself wishing he could help me more. But, things are what they are. We get by. We make do. We adapt. And through it all, I learn that I am a stronger, more capable person that I previously thought. And the truth is, on many other occasions, I wouldn't change Phil's job for anything. I love the community and the support it provides. It is a blessing in so many ways.
But I am human. And no matter how rational I can be about all of this, I will, in all likelihood, still get angry or feel resentful at times. The trick, I think, is to own it for what it is-grief over my lack of control-honor it, and get on with living life the way it actually is. After all, I expect Lil' Bit to roll with the curves I toss into her schedule. Why should I be unwilling to do the same?