One of the most common questions my husband gets asked is, “what does a pastor do all day”? It’s definitely a valid question, especially when the only time you see him is when he is talking – talking on stage, talking to parents, or talking to visitors. I mean that can’t be hard, right? Speaking as a pastor’s wife, I can tell you that while he does do a lot, it doesn’t look like your typical 9-5 job. Yes, it’s nice that he doesn’t have to be at the office at 8am every morning, but I guarantee you he’s not home at 5pm every night either. I know this schedule can be hard on my husband, and I don’t want to discredit that, but what’s often overlooked is the wife and children that are left at home.
Having a pastor as a husband comes with its unique challenges, one of those being his schedule, which often means MY schedule. While his schedule is not crazy busy all the time, it’s just very sporadic. He will have a month or two where his schedule is fairly light and then a couple weeks with a trying schedule. During the quiet times he often doesn’t go into the office until later or he will surprise us and come home early. These are also the stretches when I get a little help with the kids, when we stay up late after the kids go to sleep to watch a movie, and we spend whole Saturdays together as a family!
However, I try not to get too comfy as this phase will come to a screeching halt and it will be replaced by his busy, demanding season. Sometimes it’s when he has an event so he has evening practices, all day set-ups, or the actual event itself. It can also be during their planning season which is comprised of extra meetings and off-campus staff days. But the most demanding time is when he has a mission trip or conference. This means he is away anywhere from a weekend to an entire week.
As a mom of two kids under two, these are the times when I feel most overwhelmed. I love it when my husband gets up in the middle of the night with the baby so I can have a full night of sleep. And when my almost two year old is testing his boundaries and my 8 month old is teething, I look forward to having a little break when my husband gets home – except he’s not coming home. He won’t be home tonight and he won’t be home tomorrow because he’s not in the state or even in the country for that matter.
One of the tell-tale signs that we are in the midst of a “busy period” is when I start to get snippy with my husband. I usually take pride in our relationship. We have great communication that we have worked really hard to establish. Our relationship is easy going and goofy, and my husband always helps me see the bright side of things when I don’t want to. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I am not a very understanding wife and my husband’s annoying habits really start to get on my nerves. I know it’s because of his job, but I start to blame him for not spending time with kids and for leaving me stranded on an island by myself.
We are actually in the middle of a busy period right now. Last weekend he was away at a conference, last week he was in and out of meetings, and this week he has an event which means rehearsal time as well. I was about to blurt out a really insensitive comment when I stopped and realized the only reason I was about to say this was because I was overwhelmed. Then I looked at my husband and I saw it. He was tired too. He was overwhelmed. I was so busy worrying about myself that I didn’t even think about how exhausted he must be. Last weekend his conference was with a group of junior high schoolers, and if you are the parent of a child in junior high you know he wasn’t catching up on his beauty sleep! It’s easy to assume that just because he is able to spend some time away from our kids, that he is getting a “break”, when in reality, he’s working just as hard as I am (well maybe not quite as hard).
When I realized I was going to be the wife of a pastor, I don’t think I was completely prepared for all the baggage that accompanied that title. But I also didn’t realize all the blessings we would experience. And I know what a lot of you are thinking right now – I still didn’t tell you what a pastor does! Well, he feeds kids, he throws balls at kids, he manages a budget, and he recruits volunteers. He is a teacher, he is a counselor, he is a custodian, he is a mentor, and he is a parent advocate. He is a pastor. And while it can be tough sometimes, we wouldn’t have it any other way.