– John Hugh
I’ve learned that when I come home, often my real work begins. It’s vital for everyone – not just pastors – to walk through the door ready to meet whatever demands come at you. This is the daily work of being a husband and a father. It’s most important.
So, in the midst of this season, as we physically, emotionally, and relationally prepare for a move, we have to keep our house in order. It’s a team effort. Therefore, I do my best to cook (still learning), clean, clean some more, bathe the kids, read to them, and put them to bed. Not always in that order.
We’ve found that when we work together, everything flows better. It simply can’t fall on Mom or any mother. The bottom line for us dads is we cannot check out when we walk through the doors. Life in the home is too important. Life together is just that: living and serving together in the daily tasks, routines, and functions of making a home complete.
I haven’t always succeeded in giving this first priority. Like many, I can be determined, focused, and dedicated to my daytime job, giving all I have to my work. You want to come home & rest, for your home to be your respite after a long day at work.
But your wife and your kids don’t ever deserve your leftovers. So why should you ever give them only what’s leftover each and every day? It takes real discipline to save energy and be just as focused on the home front. That’s how I’m trying to live.
The results of this are plentiful: we enjoy the time together, we grow as a family each day and evening, and we can face each challenge, from cleaning the kitchen to making an international move together. It brings us closer. It actually becomes a joy to do. And then we all sleep well at night.
How are we getting ready as a family to move to Paris? As I said here, it’s so easy to give up on family dreams when you are a hodgepodge of sinners struggling to live in the same house. This week, it became very clear it’s logistically impossible to tackle future plans when the bulk of everyday chores still fall on me. With lots of complaining (even from the husband, who looks at his home as a respite and not a workplace), we started a new family habit: all cooking, all cleaning, and all laundry is now a group effort.
With a middle child with autism, that is no small feat to organize. In the past, I’ve been easily unnerved by the inevitable complaining and chalked up my desires to wishful thinking. But with a big move ahead, my simple lack of time overrode any hesitations and fortified my resolve. So we do cooking, cleaning, and laundry together, which makes for laughs, hitting, tattling, and memories.
Homemade brownies from scratch – thank you to my youngest & oldest.
Immediately dropping a favorite book, turning off SportsCenter, or getting off the phone to help me – thank you to my husband.
Prepping a spaghetti dinner – thank you to my middle child, the most compliant child yet with the child with the biggest fine motor challenges.
Daily folding of laundry right after car pool pick up, but before a promised snack – thank you to my 3 musketeers.
“You have no idea what the future holds; you can’t limit yourself to what you only know now.”
We limit our thinking and possibilities when we believe people can’t change, people can’t learn new tasks, people can’t work as a team. Thankfully, our God is much bigger than our expectations. By rallying my family to serve one another, the future seems less daunting when we are a team of 5.
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