Bramell, Party of Five: Sunday Again

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Again

Here it is, Sunday again.  And here I am again, feeling guilty.  This is something that happens roughly every seven days.  Let me explain.

Every Sunday I have an internal struggle about taking my kids to church or not.  Before you start judging me, hear me out.  You see, we have a great church that I love.  We just don't go very often.  I joined this particular church when I was 21 years old, fresh out of college.  I've learned a lot and met lots of great people there.  I totally enjoy the pastor that we have and love our close-knit "smallish" congregation.  But, here it is--taking three small kids to church is just plain exhausting.  That may sound selfish, but keep reading.

When Big Sis was little, it was a whole different world.  Mainly, there was just ONE of her.  But also, because she was so quiet and still that nobody even knew she was there.  Easy peasy.  Fast forward a few years, and there are three kids.  When the twins were babies, of course, it was harder to get out of the house due to naps, feeding schedules, our attendance was mediocre, at best.  Then, it got to where I looked forward to Sundays so I could drop them in the nursery and have a couple hours off from diaper duty (sorry!)

Now, in this season of our family, the twins have "aged out" of the nursery.  This means at age three, the kids are no longer able to go to the nursery.  They are expected to sit with parents during the service.  When they turned three, I thought we'd give it a shot.  Um, lesson learned.  Mama cannot handle three kids in church!  There are not enough sippy cups and crackers to help this situation.  I tried to adjust the arrangement several times by splitting up; one Sunday I'd take  only the girls and leave Boy Twin at home, other times I'd only take him.  

My next attempt was to start attending the earlier, contemporary service with the kids in tow.  They like the praise band music, and they don't have to be as quiet and still.  And, there are donuts!  This was an acceptable arrangement for a while.  Until we started potty training.  The last time I took them to church we left the service and went to the bathroom SIX times, we spilled a cup of juice, the girls crawled under two rows of pews and Boy Twin talked during the entire sermon.  I was embarrassed, sweaty and tired after an hour.  That's when I decided we needed a real break.  It's not worth going if I only hear 1/10 of the sermon.  And I can stay home and clean up messes on my own carpet.

I know I'm the mom. I should be able to "make them" behave. But it's not that easy.  I can't make them be still or listen; I can't make them not have to pee.  It's hard to get them up and dressed, keep them clean and make the nearly half hour drive to our church.  People always comment "how cute" they are, but nobody ever says "how good" they behave...or not.  In reality, they probably aren't bothering anyone but me.  But isn't that enough?

I didn't grow up in church, so I have no real grounded reason for this Sunday guilt I feel.  I went to church with my friends for the social time.  But I want my kids to have the opportunity; I want them to learn the stories and songs, and have church friends.  But for now, maybe the teaching at home will have to tide us over until we are in the next season.  I'll try again in a few weeks, and then again a few weeks after that.  In the meantime, we have to do what we can to make our life less stressful and easier in whatever way we can.  That, and I'd rather my kids not be the reason our 100-plus-year-old church building falls down.

Can anyone relate?

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