Attending church on Sundays is one of the biggest hurdles I have encountered as a mother of a toddler. Mostly because in addition to being a mommy, I am also a pastor’s wife, so it is a bit more difficult because my spouse can’t be there to help me out. All of you church-going single moms and moms that have husbands that work on Sundays, you feel my pain. Even when there are two parents present, taking your toddlers to church can really make a person feel insane. The struggle is real people, the struggle IS REAL.
Church is very important to me. My faith is a big part of my life and I feel like it is the most important thing that I can pass down to my child. That being said, going to church with a toddler makes me want to jump out of a moving vehicle or get a root canal (I’ve had two; they’re not pleasant). One Sunday morning was so bad that I went home and immediately posted to a Facebook group that I was so frustrated, I needed a bottle of wine. Not a glass…a bottle.
It’s not my daughter’s fault. She is at a stage of natural exploration. She wants to run around to explore, show everyone her pretty church dress, and go see her daddy at the front of the church. These are things that she is normally allowed to do. So when it comes to training her to sit still, it feels like I am trying to tame a bull. Now, I have never tamed a bull. I think I went to a rodeo once where there may have been a bull. I am a city girl and like most city girls, most of my knowledge of bulls is that they are wild and in movies people ride electric bulls in drunken bar scenes.
Anyway, from the time that Zoe started crawling at around 8 months, it has been a struggle at church. It started with her just climbing all over me, but as she gets older, more and more she has felt the need to run everywhere and yell. When I come home, I feel like I have run a marathon and that we’ve successfully distracted everyone in the service from learning anything other than the fact that toddlers are highly entertaining. And I think to myself, “Hopefully know one saw Zoe reveal my pink bra or my underwear when I bent down to scoop her up.”
I pack so many toys and treats to help keep her occupied, which only works for about 15 minutes. Once she realizes that there is an escape route from our row, it’s over. Most of the time, I spend the majority of the service standing in the back or outside of worship holding her.
So the question is, why even go? Well, to be honest, I NEED this. I need the social interaction with other adults. I need to see other parents. I need to be reminded of the forgiveness from our Savior. It is important to me that attending church be a big part of her life from the very beginning.
A few words to the people around the parents of toddlers in church:
- We are sorry for the distraction.
- Please do not tell us where the nursery is, we are aware.
- Please do not point out how active our children are, in case didn’t see the sweat dripping off of my forehead, we are aware of this as well.
- Thank you for smiling at us.
- Please offer your help. If we don’t take it, offer it again in the future. Some days we want to think we can handle it on our own, but we will soon realize that this is not true and give in to your graciousness eventually.
- Thank you so much for the patience and respecting our desire to raise our children to worship with us.
To my fellow church-going moms:
- I feel your pain.
- Don’t give up. At some point, they will be very tired on Sunday mornings. Keeping them awake will be far more entertaining.
- The music drowns out most of the “for no reason” toddler screams.
- Sit by other moms. I’ve found that the kids tend to entertain each other. Plus, the other kids might have better toys.
- Take the help from the people around you.
- Bringing your little one to church will bless them for the rest of their lives.
Now, lace up your Sunday best running shoes and catch that toddler.