I will never forget, before my husband was called into our Branch Presidency, the first Sunday that I went to church with four children all by myself. I left a feverish Josh home sick and went off to brave the weekly three ring circus that is sacrament meeting on my own. I was sure that I would not survive. But I did. I'm happy to say I even made it through the entire meeting without having to remove one kid. I mean, it's really insignificant that Henry stole all the hymn books from everyone in the front row and Sam and Jordan got into a face pinching fight severe enough to cause the woman behind me to reach up and intervene. But we all STAYED in the chapel. Bonus points for that, right?
In the end, I was just glad to have made it through with my slip still hidden under my skirt, all of my jewelry still on, and my credit cards all in their proper slots inside my wallet. We all made it home -- children and mother still alive, shoes, ties and tights still attached to the person of origin. Not a bad showing for single parenthood.
Then my husband received that call... the "your wife will be on her own for every Sunday for the rest of forever" call. As we approach the days of having FIVE children, I think of what this will mean for our sacrament reverence. Heh. It will certainly be interesting. But you know what I worry about more? Getting five kids READY for church. I'm convinced there is some cosmic force that only exists on Sunday mornings that makes children slower, clocks faster and everything more complicated. (That same force stays in your house when you are actually at church and continues to mess things up. Seriously. Does your house ever look worse than it does right after you get home from church on Sunday?) Monday through Friday, my children are up before daylight, dressed and ready with time to spare before school. On Sunday? Everyone sleeps in. Church shoes are nowhere to be found. There is not a single kind of cereal that anyone likes. And excuses pour forth from little mouths like drool from a slobbery dog.
"My tie smells like garbage. I CAN'T wear it."
"Someone stole ALL my dress socks."
"Church is boring!!! I don't want to go!"
It seems the simplest solution is to just wake up before dawn. Get an early start, give yourself plenty of time to do all that is required. Except, does it really matter? When babies need to nurse, diapers need to be changed, and things as earth-shattering as ties that smell like garbage keep filling up the morning, perhaps we mothers of young children are simply destined to be late for church, all the time, and then, once we arrive, to sit in a sea of chaos and discombobulation. I used to feel guilty about the chaos - the noise that I KNEW was driving everyone else in the chapel insane. And then Sister Julie Beck, our wonderful General Relief Society President told the sisters at a regional meeting here in my stake that young moms need not worry. "Reverent children are weird!!" she said.
I swear those were her exact words. Makes you feel better, huh?
MommyJ is an aspiring writer and stay at home Mom to four children, (with number five on the way) including a vibrantly active set of 6 year old twins. She lives with her children and husband of nine years in a tiny town in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina - a place she considers the loveliest on earth. While she mourns the absence of any shopping options beyond Wal-Mart, she loves the presence of so many trees to help buffer the constant noisyness of her home. She hikes to enjoy time with her family, runs because her love for food requires it, writes to maintain her sanity and blogs as often as her crazy children and busy schedule allow on her personal blog, www.mommysnark.blogspot.com