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Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Sunday Circus

When I was young I used to love Sundays because they were relaxing, and as soon as church was over I could chill out, sleep all day, do whatever I wanted. But, since having kids, Sundays have taken on a completely different meaning. They've gone from being the most relaxing day of the week to quite possibly the most exhausting day of the week.

We usually get up around 7:30am. I get breakfast started while Marc hops in the shower. I get the kids and myself fed and start cleaning up when Marc stops through to grab his plate (or bowl) and eat quick before he has to leave for his 8:30 pre-church meetings. After he's gone, I get the kids' church bags together - a couple of story books, a couple of toys, a notepad & pen, and a quiet book. Then, I get the diaper bag ready - diapers, wipes, water and snacks. Since church right now is right in the middle of when we'd have lunch, I pack up a ton. Today, for example, I had pretzels & cheez-its, grapes, clementines, fruit snacks, animal crackers, applesauce, yogurt raisins, and granola bars. Just in the last month I've had a couple of people approach me after the first meeting, commenting on how much money I must spend on snacks!

Anyway, so once all the bags are ready, I start getting the kids dressed for church. This process is sometimes much harder than other times, but if everyone cooperates then it should only takes maybe 10 minutes. But that is a very big IF. I usually try to plan for it taking roughly a half hour. I really am much more optimistic than that last sentence makes me sound!

Once all the kids are dressed and ready, it's usually about time to feed Lucy. That used to be the time when she'd go down for her morning nap, but she has now transitioned to just one nap a day, but she still insists on getting her morning feeding in. Then, if I'm lucky, it's finally my turn to get ready, while keeping the peace between siblings and making sure they don't get into any major messes with their church clothes. Sometime around 10:30 Marc returns to pick us up and lend an extra hand. We're usually able to make it just in time to get to our seats and get settled in before the meeting starts at 11.

Then, the real fun begins! And, by this point I'm already exhausted! An hour of keeping three kids still, quiet, and happy. Marc is finally sitting with us - the first time ever (since we've had kids) and so it has gotten a little easier. But, it's still a lot of work. Somehow I'm usually able to get something out of those meetings and feel renewed by them. And, really, with how energetic and boisterous my kids are on a normal day at home, they do really well at church with all the rules we expect them to follow. They know to be quiet, the know not to run out into the aisles, they know how to partake of the sacrament, they know it's a special place where they are expected to act differently. And, for the most part, they do really well.

The exhausting part is there is no mental break to just zone out. There's constantly someone who needs something and you have to be right on top of it before their impatience takes them to the screaming-bloody-murder phase. I guess there is a little break after the first hour, when we take the kids to their different classes. Except that Lucy is two months shy of being able to start Nursery and she's about six months too mature to just sit quietly on my lap during the adult classes. So, she and I do a lot of wandering right now. And I sometimes wonder why we're even there.

And, then there are other times when I watch Ben get up in Primary to give a talk and he does such a good job, or I watch Lucy fold her arms as soon as she hears the word "prayer", or I listen to Hugh pray all on his own in Nursery. Those are the moments when I realize it's all worth the exhaustion of getting them there, keeping them there, and then coming home and all of us crashing. I don't get an entire day to sleep away, but I have plenty of other moments to sleep. And, the precious moments we spend at church are far and away some of the best we have as a family. Plus, I'm pretty sure the majority of people at church appreciate all of the happy sounds from the children... and I'd really hate for them to miss out on that if we weren't there! It must be quite the show - our little traveling circus!


Juwmama said...

Meg - It's so good to "hear" your voice again. Welcome back online, I've missed your words. :-) You're doing everything right and apparently having fun doing it...most of the time. :-) Keep up the great mommy-ing. LOL JULIA

Kelly said...

This will be so much fun to read to the kids when they are older, or having their own kids. It's funny how the craziest, most frustrating of times create the best memories and stories. My mom still talks about her early mothering days of trying to get us out the door for church! Apparently, I was the two year old who had to strip naked when mom wasn't looking. :-)