Tip #9: Be the Mom

As pastors’ wives, we’re unlike most other women in the congregation attending church with their families. When the church gathers for any reason—Worship, Vacation Bible School, AWANA, Business Meeting, even a simple fellowship meal—our husbands are working. Just like any other dad at work isn’t available to take care of his kids, so our husbands at work aren’t available to take care of our kids.

In other words, when the church gathers, the kids are our responsibility.

This fact has cause me to grumble more than once over the years, especially when my children were small. But I’ve discovered some ways to make “being the mom” at church a little less overwhelming:

  1. See the value. When I recognize that me doing my job as Mom enables my husband to minister to God’s people, I see the Kingdom value in the hours I spend giving time-outs and wiping runny noses.
  2. Check the pace. Remember my first tip: “Be clear on your priorities”? If I overbook myself with church commitments, I may well jeopardize one of my most critical priorities–mothering my children so my husband can do his job. If I’ve agreed to teach Children’s Church and my kids get the stomach flu, it’s not like my husband can skip out on preaching and take care of them. It’s probably easier, especially with young children, not to take on weekly responsibilities. If I really want to take on such a role, I need to make sure I have a sub on call for when I need to miss.
  3. Talk to the kids. It helps when I explain to the children that Daddy has a special job as pastor. He loves them and will play with them at home later, but it’s his job to take care of the people when at church. It also helps when I explain the guidelines for church: Mom will be the one who drops them off/picks them up from any activity/teaching time; they’ll sit with Mom in the service; they should come to Mom for anything they need while at church.
  4. Establish consequences. Being the pastor’s wife doesn’t mean I become a single mother whenever another church member enters the building. Certainly, in some circumstances, my husband can and should help with the kids. But those circumstances can’t be the norm. My kids, sinful as they are, sometimes test me at church simply because “Daddy’s working” and they think they might get away with it. To preempt those times, my husband and I long ago established a rule for our kids: “If you misbehave so Mom has to discipline you at church, Dad will discipline you at home as well.” In other words, our kids get twice the punishment for any infraction at church. It’s unbelievable how much easier that one rule has made my job!
  5. Set a schedule. Being the mom every time the church gathers can be exhausting. Just as my husband needs a regular day off, I need regular time off as well. So I work with my husband to schedule my own much-deserved breaks and/or get a sitter so we can take a break together.


Forget Something?

k4836825Have you ever gotten up to do something and been distracted along the way—completely forgetting to do what you intended? Maybe you promised to have your daughter’s soccer uniform clean and ready for her game that night. Maybe you even washed it, but on your way to put it in the dryer, you became sidetracked. Could be the distraction was important—your son got sick or your husband needed help finding a file for work. Maybe you needed to get meat out of the freezer for supper.

Or maybe what made you lose focus wasn’t so important. Maybe your best friend called to gossip about the neighbor, or a commercial on television caught your eye. Could be you just never made it past the cookie jar on the kitchen counter. Either way, the result was the same. At the end of the day, your daughter asked about her uniform because it was game-time. You rushed to the dryer only to find it empty. With a sinking feeling, you turned to the washer and pulled out a soggy lump—her uniform, totally unfit for the big game. You failed to do what you promised.

Often we fail to do what we’ve promised God as well. We tell Him we’ll attend Worship, study our Bibles, spend time in prayer, memorize Scripture, and nourish those fruits of the Spirit. But we get distracted along the way. Sometimes the distractions are important. Sometimes we have to deal with illnesses, job troubles, or family problems.

But sometimes the things that derail us aren’t so important. We neglect Worship to go shopping or skip our quiet time so we can sleep in. Instead of reading books that nourish our souls, we veg out in front of the television. We spend an hour backbiting our sister in Christ rather than memorizing the Scriptures that command us to love one another. No matter what distracts us, the result is the same. We come to the end of our lives and God asks for an accounting because it’s judgment time. We rush around in our minds, trying to produce a clean garment of godliness, only to pull out our soggy lump of a life and feel sorry for the time we’ve wasted. We’ve failed to do what we promised.

God offers forgiveness for His repentant children, but let’s not waste the life God gave us. Let’s not allow anything, whether petty or important, to distract us from our true purpose in life: to glorify God in all that we do, say, and think. Let’s keep the promises we made to God when He adopted us as His own. Let’s spend time in His Word and in prayer, worship with fellow believers, and encourage one another to grow in grace and godliness.