Don't Take My Sunday Away - Thoughts on Parenting Young Children

3 years ago

     "I'm working on Sunday."  Four dreaded words that my husband nonchalantly threw my way Saturday evening.  Sunday is this small haven in a week of chaos.  Sunday is a day when I know I don't have the weight of having to do everything all at once bearing down on me.  Sunday is a day when I get to visit with friends, quilt, play xbox with my husband (yes, we do that sometimes!), or do something else fun together.  Sunday is the day we go to church and I get to see other adult humans, many of whom really understand what I go through day to day.  Don't take my Sunday away. 

     In all fairness, it was something he couldn't change.  He has worked on a Sunday maybe twice in the last eight years.  Can I just say, that none of that really mattered to me.  When you start taking away this time from me, I start acting like a toddler.  I pout.  I whine.  I am not happy.  There are not many things in this life that I ask for, but my day of rest is one that I have become insanely protective of over the life of our marriage.  We could work ourselves to death, or we could give ourselves a day of rest, as the Lord commanded, and take some time to actually enjoy our life together.  I choose life, and rest, and glorious relaxation. 

     Here's the thing: I decided to go to church on my own with the kids today.  We go to a family integrated church, so that's kind of a big deal.  No one else is watching your kids except you and your husband...today that meant just me.  Now, I've never taken the kids to church on my own before, and the thought of it actually never crossed my mind.  Why would I?  Baby Z loves to crawl everywhere and try to eat stuff off the floor; my little princess and him spend time in the nursing mother's room with me because she likes to be back there with us, and the big boys usually sit in the main room with daddy.  I can't be two places at once.  Nevertheless, I decided to give it a go today.  I was either being foolish or brave, I couldn't decide.  I wanted that time so badly that I was willing to do whatever it took to get it.  Foolish, I think most would say.  But I was desperate.  

     It didn't go terribly, but it could have been better.  You don't need a play by play, but let's just say that a certain little girl was exhausted and had a melt down over her cards falling on the floor.  Then, about her noodles (with cheese) sticking together.  Then, about her chip that was "spicy" (it was a plain Lays potato chip).  And a huge black widow spider gave me a giant surprise in the back of the church.  Then, my boys were kicking each other and giggling during prayer time, and during communion we almost wound up with grape juice everywhere.  Almost, thank God!  My baby fell over and smashed his head, kept biting me, poked a little girl in the eye, pulled another girl's hair, and I had to carry both little kids out of the church and threaten a major discipline if little Miss didn't shape up.  Okay, you did need the play by play.  We were a mess.  That's just my life.  It feels so crazy when it is just you doing it all by yourself, though.    

     The thing is, I had someone say, "You're brave."  You know what?  I'm not.  Another lady was like, "I would never have come." Stated like it was a badge of honor or something that I came to church today.  I want to set the record straight: I am definitely not brave.  I am selfish.  I wanted to see other adults today.  I missed my friends from church, the ones that are so busy that Sunday is usually it for us.  We don't get "other" time to visit or hang out.  Before I left our house for church, I felt brave.  When I left the church, I realized that I'm just a foolish girl who is selfish and awkward, and I hate it when people think I'm amazing because I do something like this.  It's often out of my own self-preservation.  I'm not thinking of other people; I'm thinking of myself.  I need some sort of human interaction outside of my children or I feel like I'm going crazy.  Facebook and Blogher don't count.  I love them, but they are no replacement for real human faces.    

      Don't take my Sunday away.  Even if it means I am stressed out; I'd rather be stressed out and get to see friendly faces that sit at home stressed out over dishes and laundry and potty training.  I'd rather have my two year old throw a tantrum in the back of a church where I know every mom is thinking, "Man, at least it's not just my kid that does that!"  than be sitting at home, watching that same tantrum and wondering how I am going to get through one more hour if this continues for much longer.  I'd rather miss half the message than not hear any message at all.  I'd rather hear whining over mac-n-cheese at potluck than have to put together lunch all alone at home.  

     Sometimes, I wish I were better at this.  I wish I could be this amazing mom who was brave, beautiful, put together, and knew that she was doing everything right.  I wouldn't have to lean on God if I was.  I wouldn't need a Savior like Jesus to love me and tell me that it's okay if I'm not perfect.  I wouldn't be encouraging anyone, I would just be rubbing their faces in their own imperfections.  I might be a mess, but it's glorious to see God work in the middle of a mess.  It's probably one of the best things in life.  Maybe it's okay that I'm a little selfish about my Sundays; I'm sure God can see through my messiness and knows that I love my Him, my husband, and my kids above all else, or I wouldn't be doing the things that I do.  Besides, I've got a long road ahead of me...He may still make me a better person despite myself.  

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