Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help! My Man Is ALWAYS Around!

Dear God, He's Home!: A Woman's Guide to Her Stay-At-Home Man
Just me and my man.  It's not been too many years since we were dating and I dreamed of spending all our days together, giggling while we worked and inspiring each other as we bounced ideas back and forth over dreamy looks and picnic lunches.  What could be better than that, right?  Um, yeah.  Twenty years later, we got that chance when we moved out of the country to conquer the world for Jesus.  And reality set in.

Since our home is the base of operations here, gone are the days of seeing him off to work with a kiss each morning, teaching the kids and running errands all day, then having his dinner ready when he returns in the evening.  Everything from mealtime to homeschooling to who goes out for groceries has changed, and everyone in the house has felt the heat from the adjustments.

Defining a new normal has been an unexpected challenge, exacerbated by the fact that there just isn't much support out there for wives like me. So when I saw this book coming out, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it.  Even better, this one was a freebie offered to me by the publisher in exchange for my opinions.  Let's just say it was a welcome addition to my e-bookshelf.

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION: What do you do when your husband calls and says he's lost his job? How do you handle a husband who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and is now homebound? Will your routine ever get back to normal now that your loving husband who has been deployed for 12 months is now suddenly back at home? Regardless of the reason he's home, one fact is clear . . . he's home. Dear God, He's Home! is a practical, honest look at how women can deal with a spouse--regardless of the reason--who is forced to become a stay-at-home man.  (**Note: By clicking the title, you'll be directed to Amazon, where the e-book is currently $2.99.)

MY THOUGHTS:  Making the transition from what is considered a traditional family set-up--husband working outside the home, wife considering the house her domain--can be very stressful.  Not only has the author (Janet Thompson) dealt with the situation several times in her life, but she includes the stories of many others facing this change due to health complications, retirement, unemployment, a home office, or some other development.  I found that much of it applied to our situation, even though she didn't specifically include foreign missionaries on her list.  ;)

The book is divided into 14 chapters full of examples, practical advice, scriptures, a sample prayer, and journaling prompts--yet another reminder that I could benefit from journaling.  (Note to self:  Add personal journal to the to-do list.). Focus, Christie. Focus.  Okay.

Each chapter has several smaller sections packed with wisdom, short enough to do each as a daily devotion.  The big focus in on opening up communication so that both the husband and the wife understand the expectations each has.  Several tools are provided to facilitate coming together to shape these expectations into a workable reality.

Although the book is meant to be for the wife, there are parts that can be shared with your husband, such as the sanity tools at the end, and some of the personal stories are from the man's point of view.

The only complaint I might have is that I had a bit of a hard time keeping up with all the real-life examples.  There were so many, which is good for helping the reader connect to the book and realize she's not the first person to pass through this. But I began to confuse the stories and couples as the book progressed through snippets from these stories with each section.  It's possible that reading a print version of this book would have helped with this, but I had an ebook copy and can't speak as to how the layout affects the ease of reading.

I found the book very thorough, in that it dealt with the emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical aspects of this life change. I've definitely added it to my list of recommended resources for missionary wives coming on the field, and I think that going through it together before the big transition would maximize the benefits.

Is it possible I'm not the only one who struggled a bit with this change?  What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to just before the transition? 


  1. What an interesting theme for a book! We do have our own challenges with this. My husband isn't home all of the time, but his schedule is always different and there are seasons when he works from home a lot. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 people, and two of them nap in the afternoons. So, when the two nappers are sleeping (separate rooms at this time since one is a short and one is a long napper), and my husband is working at his desk in the living room, that leaves me and my two oldest kids with only our tiny kitchen to hang out in! It can get a bit cramped. It is also a bit inconvenient to the kids when they want to relax and watch a movie and can't because the living room/daddy's office is off limits all day. Our living room is also where I dry our laundry, so if my husband is doing skype calls or other meetings in there, it can put a kink in my tight laundry schedule (gotta keep a steady flow to keep on top of things with our tiny washer). I can't say that I have any great advice on this other than what you said about communicating about various needs for different rooms of the house and whether or not interruptions are allowable.

    1. Wow! Suddenly my house doesn't seem so small anymore! You're a trooper, Ashley, and it sounds like y'all have had to learn to be quite flexible in order to "make it work". Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Same situation as Ashley here: we also have 6 people in a small two-bedroom apartment. Ever since you first mentioned this book, I've been wanting to get it. We have the added dynamic of being such strong introverts, that a little solitude would be good for both of us. It's definitely a challenge.

    I've actually been praying that our next situation might include some office time for my husband or a little more of an out-of-the-home schedule. (I almost didn't put that out in public, but I think you all will understand. We dearly love each other; that goes without saying! We could just use some space now and then.)

    I do think journaling would help me. I used to write more, when we had a little more physical space. Actually, that's been the hardest part of this current even smaller apartment for me. I usually like having us all together, all the time, but here I can't even find a place to get comfortable and read or write. :-( (Hmm. It's more an issue of space, than having my husband home all the time?)

    I'm rambling. Thanks for "listening." And thank you, Christie, for this post!

    1. I like rambling, Phyllis! I edited this post a trillion times because I felt kinda guilty saying out loud that I was less than ecstatic that we're together practically 24/7. But a little space can be a good thing, for everybody.

      I so admire you women in tiny spaces with small children. Our rental contract is coming up and we're looking into apartments as an option (stuck because we don't want to lose our beloved boxer). I am glad to hear that although it's not ideal to cram all into a 2-bedroom, it CAN be done. :) Right now our bedroom is hubby's "office" but once we open the youth center, he'll be there every day and we'll be a little more "normal" again. Let me rephrase that--we'll be closer to the dynamic we recognize. I doubt we'll EVER be normal again. ;)

    2. I thought of something more that is often an encouragement for me. If I had to choose between this or a regular work schedule for my husband, I'd much rather have this!