Mothers as Traveling Ministers
One of the things that modern Friends have lamented, in my hearing at least, is the lack of practical details about how earlier generations of women managed to leave their households for extended periods in the service of God.
This may be excessively detailed and boring to most people, but it has occupied an enormous amount of my time and energy over the last month, along with the spiritual and logistical preparations for my part of the traveling ministry I’m engaged in. And it’s my blog, so there.
A partial explanation of the arrangements I have made in preparation to be away from my household for five days:
My husband will drop our younger son off early at the home of a neighbor/classmate whose parents will then take him to preschool at the usual time. After lunch at school, another classmate’s parents will take our son to their home until my husband can pick him up. Our older son will go to a classmate’s home one day and stay at the school’s extended day program two days. This is a balance between imposing on our friends and paying for childcare. In preparation, I have hosted extra afterschool playdates at our house with these classmates. Over the weekend, my husband has invited another father with two sons to join them on an outing to a nearby wetlands. I also traded workdays at our cooperative nursery school so as to work the Tuesday before I leave, rather than the first morning I get back.
I have prepared menus and shopped for groceries for the week, as usual. I purchased more prepared foods than usual (like frozen pizza) to facilitate my husband making dinner after rushing from work to pick up both boys and then home. My husband is a competent cook, but this is still a hard part of the single parent routine. I baked and froze extra batches of zucchini muffins and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for snacks for the week. Our sons are used to helping set the table and clearing up for meals.
My husband and I share these duties in any case. I’m leaving the laundry and dishes caught up. The boys are accustomed to emptying the dishwasher and folding/putting away their own laundry. I don’t know if the floors will get swept or the sinks cleaned while I’m gone – if it really needs it, they’ll manage. My husband is always more likely to vacuum than I am anyway.
Other Friends have agreed to call our house and check in with my husband on several evenings, to be friendly and see if he needs anything by way of material or moral support.
We are blessed.
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