Every now and then I write a really honest post. The kind of post that has friends and family texting to see if I need help or if I’m okay. I am! I am not writing because I need or want help or am trying to complain (or throw a pity party). I almost always write these kinds of posts so that if there is someone else with these same honest feelings, they will know they are not alone.
I don’t want to hate Sundays. I’m thankful for my husband’s job as a youth pastor, which not only pays our bills but enriches his life and that of the students he works with. I don’t want him to change jobs. And yet…the reality of his job (and the fact that we have young kids) means that I hate Sundays.
Sunday mornings Rob has to be at church early. Despite his help with getting the kids ready, I still somehow end up too late for Sunday School and too early for church. And I’m not even trying to SHOWER. I’m talking about just putting on my own clothes. Maybe deodorant. Makeup only if I’m at a stop light long enough. (On one eye if I only hit one red light.)
Thankfully no one has made me feel extra judged as a youth pastor’s wife, but I definitely feel like there is an unspoken expectation I’m not meeting. I may help behind the scenes, but no one SEES that. What they do see: I almost never make it to Sunday School. I’m either late or feeding a baby. Or both. The last time I heard a whole sermon? I don’t even remember. Probably on TV sometime. Our church has a great nursing room that pipes in the sermon, but that means that I have to choose between listening or having fellowship with the other nursing moms. Sometimes that is the ONLY time I talk to other moms in real life during my week, so my choice is to turn down the sermon and listen to those moms.
After church usually at least one kid falls asleep, which wrecks nap time. For someone like Cooper, who takes two naps a day still (miraculously), this means that rather than two naps on Sunday, she gets that 20 minutes on the way home. That’s it. She is a beast the rest of the day. And when Rob goes to take his Sunday nap (which he highly deserves), she is up and cranky so I am up and cranky. No nap, no rest time for me. And when Rob gets up, it’s time for him to head BACK to church for the night.
I COULD go to church as well and am probably expected to be there on nights like tonight since it was a family pot luck. It might make Rob look bad that I don’t come, since it is aimed at families. (HOPEFULLY not. Though I suspect Rob was disappointed I didn’t come.) But if I go to the pot luck, it means that my cranky girl who took only a 20 minute car nap will take ANOTHER 20 minute car nap and then will be MORE cranky and not go to bed early. I would be driving four kids home just in time for bedtime—recipe for disaster. It’s simply not worth it.
Sunday is a day that almost without exception means counting down the minutes until bed time. It means rushing and bustle and hurry. It means stress, not rest. Sunday feels lonely.
The moment that felt most like church today? Dancing to Mumford & Sons with Cooper in our living room while a pumpkin cake baked in the oven. We lifted our skirts and we twirled and stomped and leapt. Two dimpled girls smiled up at me as I danced and the smell of sweet pumpkin filled the air. That moment felt like what church is supposed to: freedom and joy.
I know church is not about my feelings or whether or not I’m on time (I’m not, ever) or whether or not all of us have shoes on (we don’t) or anyone’s expectations—including my own. But I DO wish church felt more like dancing with wild abandon in the afternoon.(Click to Tweet)
This is my confession. I don’t speak for every pastor’s wife. Some of them have to face much more judgment, which makes me really sad. Some of them probably juggle the kids and helping their husbands and get to church on time looking great and really enjoy it, which is amazing! I’m happy for them. But for me, Sunday feels like a sad shadow of what it should be. I am thankful for all the smiling faces and the genuine how-are-you’s I get, and I do get a lot. One day maybe Sunday will feel more like dancing in the afternoon, but for now I will take any joyful moments I can get.