Our sweet precious rambunctious and wild children went back to preschool today and many prayers and blessings on the Episcopal Day School! They have done wonders for our children and we appreciate them so much – especially this time of year when we are more than excited that the kids are back in school!
I got to spend a “Mommy Day” with the kids on Tuesday and we cleaned up and sorted their rooms and moved toys from downstairs and upstairs and got things ready for school. Then we closed out the afternoon driving to Columbia to go to the zoo and see Grammy and MacMac. It was an amazing day! I wish we could do that every day although I realize going to the zoo and cleaning up everything can’t happen every day – but you get my drift.
It was a great day also because the day before a wonderful clergy colleague of mine posted to facebook the question about what other clergy couples do about childcare on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights? It’s a good question and it seemed to strike a chord with a lot of folks. It’s hard. Many talked about awesome and wonderful people in congregations that help out, give snacks, and offer grace. Many also talked about how hard it is to be both Mommy or Daddy or Parent and Pastor at the same time.
For me although I love for my kids to be at Wesley and I love for my Wesley students to be at my home, I love it because there’s no set “thing” that I have to do. If I’m preaching or leading a small group or having a board meeting or there’s some reason for me to suddenly turn into Pastor with my cape and everything, it’s hard for me to balance those two sides of my brain. When the kids were really young they did come with me to Wesley, and they do now sometimes during the day when Mike has meetings and the students are just in and out and there’s no set program. And it is obvious when they have been here – finger paint on the coffee table, game pieces everywhere, the candy basket decimated.
I love being their mom and as Mike said to me the other day, they know that I love them. I never understood my grandmother telling us that “she could eat us up with a spoon.” (Oh Southern colloquialisms) But I love them that much! Not really literally of course but adorably. And I love being a campus minister. I really do love it. Not just kidding, but seriously choosing to do this and feeling called to do it.
The rub comes when those worlds collide and I feel guilty for ditching out on the Freshman Small Group because I want to put the kids to bed or my mind is elsewhere because I’ve been up all night with a sick child and I can’t really be present with that student over breakfast at all in my right mind. Or the opposite – when I wonder what in the world my kids think about this whole Jesus thing or if they’re going to think of “church” or “work” as bad words because that’s what takes Mommy away. It’s such a tension between the two. And I’m not even going to mention when you need time to not be Mommy or Pastor – because that’s a whole different ball game.
So what do y’all do to keep balance? What are some working mom tips? Or ministry mom tips? Or you know, sometimes it’s not even tips, but it’s just that we’re not alone out there trying to juggle. I’m not talking about “Don’t Know How She Does It” with Sarah Jessica Parker because who knows how that will turn out, but how do we feel good about being both Parent and Working Person and okay with the sacrifices and compromises made both ways?
Enoch’s funniest thing about God lately is his very serious questions about Jesus in his heart and how can a person be in his heart and did he shrink and is he just hanging out in there and is he going to get hurt squished in there? Priceless.