Dealing with Separation Anxiety

How am I doing with Jeremy being gone? Am I surviving? YES, we are halfway there… it’s been two weeks since we dropped him off at the airport, and two weeks until the aching subsides with his return. We are coming up on 12 years of marriage, and in that entire time (including months prior when we were dating) we hadn’t spent more than a couple of days apart. Yeah… the interdependency is strong with us. When we got married our goal was to become as one (to think and work in unison), so we relied on each other in everything. It’s difficult to switch gears and detach myself enough to try doing everything on my own again.

I got most of my crying and desolation out of the way before he left; the mere anticipation was enough to rile myself into oblivion, but it stopped right before Go Time. In survival mode, I don’t really have the luxury of stopping to feel so I just let the numbness propel me. The endurance is more inward than outward. I mow the lawn, do activities with the kids, have movie night with them, cook and make shakes, grocery shop, etc. without much struggle. It’s the quiet moments where I’m doing laundry and notice there’s nothing I’m cleaning that’s his. I feel like there’s something missing as I’m getting ready for bed, and notice his toothbrush and towel are no longer there. We talk on the phone and he’s had a hard day, and I realize there’s not much of anything I can do to help him. The kids tell me some version of, “I miss Daddy,” “I wish he was here for us to share this with him,” “When is he coming back?” or “When can he play with me?” and I have to make up a new response to keep our spirits up.

Surprisingly, I haven’t had a breakdown yet; not even when the kids cried for their Dad all the way home on the hour long trip from the airport. In my prayers, I mostly asked for mental resolve because I knew that I needed to be both parents now. God has highlighted a scripture for me in my hours of need, etched into my heart in times before:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Ether 12:27

We are surviving because I’m relying on Him in my weakness. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I feel Him carrying me in my unrest and sending others to lift me up.

There are a few things that are helping with the separation anxiety:

Spending Time with Others

Our friends, neighbors, and family have been so thoughtful and loving towards us. They included us in many July 4th holiday plans, and made the kids feel so special. They check up on me, offer to help me, send encouraging words, leave thoughtful gift-wrapped activities at the door for the kids to pass the time, and invite the kids to play while I take a nap on their couch haha.

Slowing Down

We got sick after the holiday, so I’ve been forced to try to take things slower and be flexible in my plans / expectations. I’ve had to say no or cancel things that I’m now realizing would have been draining on me back-to-back. Keeping things simple and trying to pace myself helps me be a more energetic Mom, but busy enough to not wallow in distress or leave the kids with too much time on their hands.

Scheduling Dates

Before Jer left, we had little rituals and things we looked forward to together. Instead of having it stop completely while we’re apart, we still try to have a virtual date. We watch our current favorite show Loki “together” (at the same time) with popcorn, and on Sundays we check if there’s a new episode of The Chosen.


The challenge is not just the physical distance—it’s also the mental and emotional distance. With the intensity of his Master’s program, the demands on his time and literal faculties are really high. Even when we have conversations, they tend to be short and end with his needing to finish reading or getting rest, and mine often include my struggles and triumphs in single parenting. We’ve still been able to have heartfelt, deep discussions we are used to having together. Today we had long belly laughs over a dirty joke! He tells me about the people he’s met and friends he’s made, the jokes that made his class laugh, why his mind was blown at school today… I keep him apprised of the kids’ shenanigans and my latest overthinking. This week it was rearranging our master bedroom and plans to redecorate it.


I am so grateful for the modern invention of video chatting. Jer misses the kids so much, it really makes his day when he can see them as they tell him their sweet little stories. “Dad, are you having good fun?” F asks every time. We’re able to see Daddy’s dorm room and the new sweater he got in the gift shop, and we’re able to show him the latest LEGO creations and how I moved all his stuff in the closet reorganization haha! Seeing his smile and the excitement in his eyes brings me joy. I love that he still gushes about how beautiful he thinks I am when he sees me running around with my crazy hair and I haven’t showered yet hahaha.

Sharing Photos and Texting

Being able to share the moments in our day with him helps to shorten the distance between us. We don’t have to wait to both be available, and the more consistent updates the better! He doesn’t feel far away when we include him in the small things like what we put in our smoothie today, or how W didn’t wait when he needed a diaper change, or how L read her 2 thick chapter books the same day she checked them out. I make the effort of crafting new meals for the kids so we can send Daddy a picture of them enjoying it, and look forward to making it again when he comes home and we can try it together.

Giving the Kids More Responsibility

Burnout really intensifies my feelings and gives me no way of dealing with it, so it’s in my best interest to take it easy—but things still need to get done! So there’s this amazing thing I discovered—asking for help… L (my oldest) is so thoughtful and has been so eager to help me; all the kids have! It’s so nice to be able to just ask L to empty the dishwasher, watch the timer on the noodles for me, or help me vacuum her room. They help me water the trees and the dying patch of grass outside. They help me juice the limes while I’m making dinner, and gather the ingredients for our daily smoothie. It’s been WONDERFUL!


I have a prayer in my heart almost all day. I pray for my husband as he’s working hard in school fighting the burnout of a semester condensed into one week, week after week. I pray for the kids and thank Heavenly Father for their special qualities, but especially for their grace towards me. They love me even when I was in bed all day sick and exhausted. I pray to have energy to start, and the good sense to stop before I overdo it. I pray about the things I’m grateful for, and the things I wonder about. I pray until my worries and obsessions subside, and I’m so fatigued by my thoughts that I black out haha.

Have any other tips? Hope to have an update when this is all over!

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