Do his Hobbies Leave You Parenting Alone?

It’s hunting season here in Montana, which means the men in this family are pouring over maps and pulling out camo.

Saturday night my husband and his brother headed out, going east for a scouting trip. This wasn’t a big deal for us, but it was hard for my brother-in-law to leave his wife and three young boys alone for Sunday.

Twenty-four hours is a long time when a woman is parenting little kids by herself.

A really, really long time.

Here's a helpful tip for when your husband needs some recreation but you feel alone in parenting. while he's gone.

After the men got back (and for any guy readers –no, they didn’t see anything), Matt and I were enjoying a cup of coffee on Monday morning and were remembering how hard those hunting trips were when our kids were little.

I remember fighting an internal battle, I said. Part of me felt resentful that you could just take off and be free of responsibility for 24 hours. The other half of me was happy for you to get a day in the woods with your hunting buddies.

I know there were times when he left with a hunting pack weighted down with guilt because I pouted him off at the door.

Have a good time, I would say with my voice. While my eyes would say, Don’t worry about me here just going crazy being a mom all by myself, with no rest or any fun for me. No big deal.

My husband is a professional counselor and very wise, so over coffee I asked, What’s the answer? What would you say to the young mom who wants her husband to have fun and pursue his hobbies but who also is weary from 24/7 parenting?

His answer made me cry right there in the kitchen.

Nothing brings me home quicker than a wife who sends me off joyfully, he said.

Why is that? I asked.

It cements the value of the relationship, he said. Why would I want to stay away when I have her?

Here’s his message to you moms with young kids:

Women, if you want to be a magnet, cheer them off as they leave.

That got me thinking about being a magnet, and I said, What if I were to slip a piece of lingerie into your duffle bag?

He answered, Then I would say to my brother, “Oh, I injured my knee. I’ve got to go home RIGHT NOW.” 

So there you have it.

Anyway, my kids are just about raised, and I’ll tell you my husband’s words are true. The more I have celebrated and encouraged him to pursue his hobbies and enjoy some guy time, the more he seems to care tenderly for me.

(And then there is that whole lingerie thing. Don’t think I’m joking about that.)

You don’t have to feel happy that you’re going to be alone with the kids while he plays. That part is still hard work. But you can smile sincerely when he leaves, as you consider his needs above your own. I think you’ll find that as you encourage his rest and refreshment, he’ll have more energy for you and the kids down the road.

What could you encourage your man to go do for enjoyment in the next few weeks?


Christy Fitwater

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Two Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Better

Two Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Better

“What’s for dinner?” my husband asked.

“Nothing. Just, nothing!” I sputtered out with a bit of impatience and frustration.

My husband broke into a fit of laughter on the other end of the phone. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

So I asked him, “When would I have had time to think about dinner today?”

You see, we were leaving for vacation the very next morning. I had been gone most of the day. Who needs dinner?! We had bags to be pack, loose ends to tie up and a house to be put in order so we wouldn’t return to a mess. I was tired and my mind was focused on the overwhelming task at hand.

As I think about that happening several months ago I can’t help but smile and be thankful for my marriage: a marriage that can be honest, gracious, understanding, and humorous at times J. THAT is how marriage should work.

Here are two elements from that comical discourse between my husband and I, if applied, we could all benefit from in marriage:

  1. Give your spouse grace. In Ephesians 4:2, the Apostle Paul writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Honestly we are all walking a daily battle against to-do lists and responsibilities that pull us this way and that. Having grace with our spouse is seeing our spouse how Jesus sees them, and us. We are all imperfect, yet He loves us more than we could ever imagine. With undeserving love, He moved toward us in humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Give your spouse the same kind of love.
  1. Have a sense of humor. Okay really…sometimes you just have to laugh. Take.a.breath. I really could have gone either way when my husband asked me what was for dinner. Tears were just around the corner. But because he lost it in a fit of laughter, it lightened the whole mood and helped bring down the walls I almost put up as I was trying to defend myself. Humor enables you to minimize what is really insignificant. In other words, take a breath and don’t take everything so serious!

It’s amazing to me how many conflicts could be easily resolved if we just step back and give one another the gift of love and laughter. Your spouse is not your enemy. In Christ, you have been joined together to live with and for one another. Be generous. Give often. Your spouse is worth the gift of love and laughter!

What about you?? Is it just me or do you struggle to lighten up, relax and just take. a. deep. breath sometimes???? 



Typecast Mommy


Before my son was born, I thought a lot about what kind of mommy I would be. I’d seen the “types.” Here are a few of them:

The self-sacrificing mom: Overflowing with intense baby love, this mommy spent her days selflessly attending to her baby’s needs without a thought of herself … or a shower.

The home-manager mom: This mom excelled in home arts, such as cooking, cleaning and meal planning. Organized to a fault, this mom also helped maximize her husband’s income by expertly utilizing coupons, sticking to a budget and finding low-cost solutions for household problems.

The frazzled mom: This mommy could barely keep her head above water as she navigated the new territory of postpartum hormones and caring for an infant. Her hair was often in a ponytail, she looked exhausted and, were those perma-tears brimming in her eyes?

The glamorous mom: This mom wore pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital and looked like she had a hair stylist and make-up artist living in her home. She and Baby were always dressed to the nines as they frequented trendy restaurants, mommy-and-me classes and, of course, the gym.

The working mom: This mom returned to work after her baby was born, and while her 8 to 5 day didn’t change a whole lot, she had to navigate the stresses of daycare, surreptitiously pumping in the office bathroom and cramming in all of her household tasks between 6 and midnight.

There are more types, of course, but these were a few that I had observed. I knew the types I was not. Not selfless enough to be self-sacrificing. Not organized enough to be home-manager. I hoped I wouldn’t be frazzled mom. I hoped I would be glamorous mom (But who was I kidding?). And I wasn’t returning to my job, so that ruled out working mom.

I envisioned myself being a different kind of mom altogether. I hoped to continue to do a little writing and editing as a creative outlet and to supplement my husband’s income. I pictured myself sitting at home in a fluffy white bathrobe, sipping coffee and working on my laptop, while my infant son sat contentedly in his bouncy seat. Around noon, after accomplishing an impressive amount of work, I would dress him up in one of his cute outfits and we would meet my husband for lunch. Then we would return home and I would tidy up the house and make dinner while my little angel slept.

Now I admit, that vision was a bit idealistic. But I definitely went into motherhood with expectations—who I would be and who I wouldn’t be. When life didn’t unfold in exactly that way—babies seem to have been created to interrupt (though there is no sweeter interruption in life!)—I soon became frustrated. My picture of motherhood wasn’t happening.

I think new moms have a tendency to “typecast” themselves before they have a baby. One friend said, “I thought I’d be the adventurous mom, taking my baby everywhere. But she had terrible colic for the first six months, so we never left the house.” Another friend admitted that she had once believed she was too selfish to be a mom. “I liked my lattes, alone time and nice clothes too much,” she says. “Now I do my make-up in the car on my way to work.” Still another friend imagined her role as a mother—staying home and caring for her daughter—to be what she had been born to do. When she had to return to work for financial reasons, she felt like her calling as mother was put on hold.

As you can see from these examples, there are too many variables in motherhood to accurately predict what “type” of mom you’ll be. And the truth is, each mom is her own unique combination of types. As a brand new mommy, I was “frazzled mom” more than I would have liked. I remember dropping my infant son off at the church nursery with tears in my eyes from a stressful morning and receiving a tissue from a compassionate worker … more than once.

But you know what: God had a different plan for my motherhood than I did. He intended to refine me and make me dependent on Him as I learned to take care of this new little person He had created (and blessed me with). Many times that process has been humbling. But it’s comforting to know that God is shaping me into the exact mother he wants me to be for my children. And His vision for the kind of mom I can be is far greater than my own. Because of that, my days of typecasting myself are behind me. I look forward to the script God is writing for me in my role of mom.



Suzanne Gosselin PKSuzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and and writes children’s resources for several publishers. After having three children in fewer than five years of marriage, Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children’s pastor, consider themselves on the family fast-track — a blessing they wouldn’t trade for anything. Gosselin is the author of the newly released, Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood (Tyndale – Focus on the Family)


Expectant Parents cover PK

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