We’ve been parenting together for 16+ years now, but when it is nighttime, I often feel like a single parent.
In the beginning, there was a very logical reason. I was nursing the babies. There wasn’t a lot my husband could do to help. Sure, I could have woken him up to change a diaper after I’d finished the feeding, but that just seemed mean. I was already up.
Once the nursing was no longer an issue, he reasoned that it still made more sense for me to get up. I could fall asleep so much faster than he could after the random midnight crises were tended to. I didn’t argue. I was too tired.
There were, of course, a few times that I insisted he be the one to respond to a child’s cries, only to have the child desperately want Mommy anyway.
He did get up that one night a mouse bit our daughter’s finger. Blood-curdling screams tend to jolt a person out of bed.
And there was another long, long night with multiple near-death experiences (as portrayed by our offspring). When there was yet another call from a far-off bedroom, I just couldn’t do it. I started crying. Eventually, my sobs compelled him to get up and see to the child’s needs. He returned shortly thereafter…to ask me where we keep the clean bedsheets.
(Just one mom on the jury. That’s all I need…)
Our kids are mostly old enough now that nighttime emergencies are few and far between. But our youngest still has the occasional accident or night terror. Or itchy nose (for the love!). Recently, I was up with him four nights in a row (and more than once each night). By myself. Every night. I did not have lovely, tender thoughts towards anyone in those moments.
I recall being awakened the morning after the fourth night by some outside noise. A scratching, scraping noise, over and over again. It took several moments of fighting towards consciousness to identify the sound (and at the same time, trying desperately to stay asleep for just a few more minutes. I was So Blasted Tired!). It was a shovel. My husband was shovelling the driveway.
Just then, the clock radio clicked on. Time to get up. I stayed where I was for a few minutes, realizing that he had been up for more than an hour already. Reading his Bible, bringing in a bin of firewood, getting the woodstove burning for the day, making my coffee, and shovelling our long driveway. All before my alarm went off.
I may be single at night, but praise God from whom all blessings flow, I am married in the morning!