A missionary’s life often comes in defined stages. Therefore, one must learn how to adapt to each stage, as well as, know when it is time to not “ignore” your duties because of the stage you are in. Another way to say it is “keep first things first.”
For example, it is easy to ignore your children on deputation. You ignore their need for a healthy diet, daily structure and proper discipline. You convince yourself that deputation is just 2 years or less. Anyone can do this for two years or less. But then you arrive on the field and learning a language is harder than you thought. You say that language school is only 1-2 years. Then you start discipling women and volunteering in all the ministries at the church. While you are going through these life stages, your children are only getting your second best. They are craving for the attention they need from their mother. A pastor’s wife wrote:
“There are many women who can carry out work or duties in the church, but only you can be the wife of your husband and the mother of his children. Other than your walk with the Lord, nothing should be more important to you than faithfully and unconditionally loving your family. The church can enlist another nursery director, singer, teacher, or secretary, but your family cannot enlist another wife or mother. Your family is your first ministry and calling in life.” 
Remember to keep first things first! There are times that you will need to sacrifice some of these “first things” but it shouldn’t be a way of life.
Here are some things to remember in your new stages of life:
Deputation – Your schedule will be hectic. Keeping a healthy diet will be hard. Make the necessary decisions to discipline your child, keep them healthy and from creating bad habits that will be hard to break in the future. Your attitude will be huge in this stage.
Language School – Language is extremely important. You will most likely need to give up a year of being at home with your children to learn the language. If you don’t learn the language it will hurt you more than the year that you gave up. After language school, invite nationals into your home to help you practice the language while you are keeping first things first.
Culture Adaptation – Learning a new culture is very frustrating. You don’t know how to do basic things. Your children and family can sense when you are stressed. Don’t ignore your duties, get lazy and be idle all because life just got hard. Learn to adapt, ask for help and keep pushing forward.
Strive in every life stage to keep the first things first.