This morning, I’m feeling for the young moms who, like me, sometimes just don’t know how to juggle their Mommy and Pastor’s Wife roles on Sunday morning (or Sunday night, or whenever).
Last week, I asked the ladies in our Pastor’s Wife Facebook Group what topics they’d like us to discuss during this 7 Days of Q&A for Pastor’s Wives.Â Honestly, I almost cringed when these two questions came up!
My struggle lately has been how to manage/teach my 2 year old when I am playing piano and leading songs, and my husband is on the platform doing various things.Â Help!”
“As my children grow out of the baby stage, how do I be the intentional parent I want to be in teaching and helping my children worship at church when my husband and I are serving on stage or in the nursery? Do I need to just cut out my serving in any childcare/music ministries during the church service so I can sit with my children in the pew the whole service? I read Parenting in the Pew and want to start doing it but not sure how to balance that with being a pastor’s wife.”
Why do these questions send me running for cover?Â Because I’ve struggled with this issue as a pastor’s wife and I’ve never really found a great “solution”.
A lot of times, I feel torn.Â Do I focus on being my husband’s ministry helper at church, or do I focus on being the mother of my children?Â It sounds simple enough (obviously, children are more important). But sometimes, the demands of ministry make it seem tough to do both!
As a younger mom, most of the articles I read online or in magazines about ministry and motherhood frustrated and discouraged me.
Your husband is called to ministry, not you.Â You are called to motherhood!
Don’t teach classes or work in the church while your children are young!
nearly made me cry with frustration.
If someone would have said, It’s okay for you to be a ministry partner with your husband, you just have to find a balance that works for your family, it would have eliminated so much guilt and frustration on my part.
The truth is, there has always been the need for me to teach a class, or lead worship, or play the piano… orÂ in some seasons of ministry,Â all of the above!
I’m not saying that a pastor’s wifeÂ hasÂ to do any or all of those things, I’m just sharing my story.Â I have always been the team-player-pastor’s-wife, most of the time because I wanted to and sometimes out of necessity.Â The fact that I didn’t feel like I fit the “good mommyÂ and pastor’s wife” mold felt very defeating.
Â If you’re a pastor’s wife with young children who relates to what I’m writing, I’m glad you’re here.Â Â You need to know you’re not alone.Â It’s okay that you are involved… it’s actually a good thing, if that’s what you are cut out to do and that’s how you complement your husband’s ministry.
I wish I could give you solutions from years of personal experience as a wise, old woman… but since I’m a young woman who’s still learning, let me just share three things I wish someone would have told me years ago.Â (Consider this permission to give yourself a little grace, my friend.)
Here are three myths about being a good ministry mommy:
1. Good moms never let their toddlers eat snacks in church.
2. Good moms have kids who sit like angels or soldiers during church services.
3. Good moms never leave their toddlers in the nursery, or let their kids sit with other people during church.
I used to believe every one of these statements, and let me tell you I was one frustrated mommy!Â
The fact is, I do bring snacks to churchÂ for my little one.Â I’m not talking about a buffet, but things like a box of raisins, small crackers or cereal.Â I also bring a sippy cup of water (unless I forget!).
Another fact: My kids tend to wiggle and whisper in church.Â We are a work in progress!Â At home, I try to make games of sitting still, keeping our eyes closed for a full minute, or other “quiet game” ideas that help train better habits for church.
Yet another fact: sometimes I have a hard time sitting still in church.Â I can listen just as well (or better)Â when I’m moving aroundÂ a bit.Â 🙂
The last thing I want to do is make church seem stoic and lifeless to my children. Discipline and training is important, but heart issues need to be considered first.Â I let my tactile learners take notes or draw during the sermon.Â That works for us!
One last thing to share with you before I go…
My little one sits in the nursery with a trusted friend during part of our weekly services.
My four, six, and eight year olds very often sit with an adult other than my husband or myself during worship services on Sunday.
Why?Â Because both Jeremy and I are on the platform a lot of the time.Â (He is all the time; I am during song service.)
Is this ideal?Â Maybe not for some families.
Does it work for us?Â Yes, it does.
Are our kids perfect?Â No, not in a million years.
Are they learning and growing? Yes, just like I am.
Do I ever feel like I don’t get much out of church because I spend so much time doing this and that, or juggling motherhood and pastor’s wife’ing?Â Yeah, I feel that way sometimes.Â Most Sunday nights I tell my husband, “Today felt three days long!”
But I still love Sundays.Â And, with all the craziness, my kids love Sundays too.
If you’re struggling with managing your young children at church, talk to yourÂ husband, ask yourself if a little more planning or organizing will help, then give yourself and your kids some room to grow.
And neither do your kids.
Other posts in this series: