Faith Kids Motherhood

Being That Mom in the Pew

Being That Mom in the Pew www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Lauren Eberspacher

There I found myself… being that mom in the pew again; the one who is interrupting the service, dragging out her two small toddlers (who are begging for fruit snacks), flinging an oversized diaper bag over her shoulder, shoving her rear in everyone’s face as she shuffled down the pew isle. Yep, that was me. And it was just another Sunday at church for me and my ragamuffin crew.

Some Sundays I wonder if it’s really worth it.

Is it really worth it getting myself put together just to get goobered on, fighting my kids to get dressed in their Sunday best just so they can beg to take them off, arriving late just to leave early or coming with a heart eager to worship and learn only to find myself chasing kids in the back foyer?

Can anyone else feel me? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will I ever sit through a church service again? Will church always be this exhausting?

I have asked myself these questions so many times as I bounced newborns, chased toddlers, calmed tantrums and swayed kids to sleep in the back of the church. I have stormed out in frustration, sighed under my breath and cried in the nursery wondering when things will get better; when I will feel church isn’t just another crazy day at home but a morning of learning, worship and community.

But God is gracious, isn’t He, mama friend? Just when I’m at my wits end, about to let my tired, grumbling heart win, I find myself blessed with these moments….

On a Tuesday afternoon when my daughter starts singing “Blessed Assurance” at the top of her lungs, then she turns with a smile and says that she learned in at church and proudly states that it’s her new favorite song.

When I see my smallest little smiling at the older couple in the pew behind us, knowing how much joy her smile and laughter brings them each week.

That my husband sees the message title, knows that my heart needs to hear what the pastor has to say, and offers to take the girls out so my soul can be filled, making me a better wife and mom.

When I see my daughters running up to the pastor and hug him, knowing that they are learning to love the church and the people in it, and realizing that the church is theirs, too.

When I find myself sheepishly carrying my kids out kicking and screaming from the service, I remember that kicking and screaming kids means young families, and young families means that the church is preparing and growing the next generation of Christ followers.

As I sat with tears streaming down my face last week, my daughter walked over and put her arms around my shoulders saying, “It’s ok, Mommy. I love you and so does Jesus. He’s always here with us,” and I know she is listening.

And then there is that moment… That moment when the tantrums subside, the kids are distracted, my heart is open and He speaks to me. His presence is felt in the depths of my soul, a familiar peace washes over me and for a few short seconds, my hands are free to be raised in worship and surrender to His will of this crazy, tired life that He has blessed me with. And when I drop my tear stained face and look down at those two sets of eyes staring up at me, I realize how worth it all of those “scurry out the door” Sundays are.

So keep going to church on Sundays, tired mama. Those tiny souls, and your own, are so worth it.

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About the author

Lauren Eberspacher

I’m Lauren and I’m a work-in-progress farmer’s wife, coffee addict, follower of Jesus and a recovering perfectionist. When I don’t have my three kids attached at my hip, you can find me bringing meals into the fields, dancing in my kitchen, making our house a home, and chatting over a piece of pie with my girl friends. I’m doing my best to live my life intentionally seeking all that God has for me and my family.
Follow me at:

www.fromblacktoptodirtroad.com

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laurenspach on Instagram

26 Comments

  • Thank you for that Lauren. Your words spoke straight to my heart this Sunday morning. We had special meetings over the weekend and I admit, I felt like I was taking the kids to the restroom more than I was sitting down, listening to the minister. Thank you, from one mom to another.

    • Jeni, I’m so glad it could encourage you. I, too, feel like I’m in the bathroom way more than I should be when it comes to Sundays and church meetings. Thank you for your kind words!

  • When my kids were small, I always said by the time I got to church I REALLY needed to be there! You are where you need to be and doing what God has asked us to do when we have our children. As for the other people in church, we’ve all “been in that pew” and understand what it is to have little ones. At our church, as our pastor says, rejoice when you hear those little voices. It means they are in God’s house when they could be so many other places being influenced by so many other things. As for me, I’m claiming the promise that my child who turned away will return to the Lord.

  • This was beautifully written and so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

    Does your church offer kids Sunday school classes? I loved Sunday school. The kids can still build those relationships and learn about God and faith while allowing you to relax and focus during church.

    • Hi Dee! Thank you for your sweet words! We have a very small church and so we do not have Sunday school for the little ones. We have it for the older kids, but my oldest has some super severe separation anxiety. We are working and praying through it!

  • I truly loved this! At 1 am I’m finally getting a moment, so I decided to reply. My daughter just turned 3 and (we also have a baby girl just a few months old) she kept talking about going up, I just thought she meant up stairs, so I begin to question her. A few minutes later I finally understood what she was trying to tell me. She said “Jesus will come and carry us up, up stairs. He’ll be here soon”! She was so excited! I love that God has blessed me so much with the beautiful family that I don’t deserve. He is so wonderful, and I am so glad God has put me where I am!

  • Just found your blog; I’m excited! I feel ya on this one and have struggled many times myself. I am easily embarrassed when my kids cause a scene and want them to be well-behaved, thinking this shows that I am a good, principled mother. However, God knows exactly who he put us in charge of and the responsibility we have. Raising our little ones up in the way they should go is the way we serve God as mothers…no matter how distracted we get from the church service. God is always there to talk to and worship. Sometimes it has to happen during the post-church nap. 🙂

    • Yes Becca… God CHOSE us for our children. What a gift to have them entrusted to us! Thanks for reading and stopping by.

  • This is awesome!!! I totally have small children (7&5) that give me a battle EVERY SUNDAY!! I get so frustrated when fighting to get them dressed and to stay seated. Then to make them sit down and leave others alone…not asking questions, not talking, and not making a commotion. I am so thankful that God allows me the chance to raise my children in the church atmosphere as well as my singing voice and my husband being called to preach. So I totally agree that eventhough the struggle is real that it is totally worth it!!!

  • Dear Tired Mamas Everywhere:

    You wonder if it will ever get
    better. Wonder if there is really a light at the end of the tunnel—
    even while you wonder incessantly if you will ever have energy again.
    All while you further wonder if you ever will see a semblance of your
    former self again. You are so exhausted. And tired and worn out and
    frazzled and spent. I hear you, Dear One: and I truly feel for you.

    I remember those days.

    I remember three and a half short years ago corralling my screaming
    child in the church bathroom. We were finishing up a weekend of family
    camp, and Littlest One and I were at the sink—her screaming while I was
    cleaning the grime off sticky little hands and feet. I asked her, while I
    scrubbed, where her shoes were.

    Of course, she did not know, answering me with another ear-piercing trill that echoed thunder through my head.

    I tried to figure out what could possibly be so wrong that she needed
    to lose her right lung and both of my ears for it. She spit out her
    answer, the rage evident in her every word. She was upset because she
    wanted a “balloon tree.” That is, a bunch of balloons on a stick.
    Something every toddler must have in order to be happy, I am sure. If I
    remember this day correctly, an extra-strength Tylenol was next on my
    list of ‘things-to-do’.

    I scrubbed the brown bottoms of her
    little feet that day while I tried to talk some reason into her. To no
    avail. Thankfully, a friend came along to the rescue with the diversion
    of a funny story, which was rewarded with one small smile and, in due
    time, the missing shoes. The lost were found, thankfully. But there was
    still the minor issue of her needing the “balloon tree”.

    I left
    the bathroom that afternoon, screaming child still in tow, and met up
    with a second friend. She happened to be talking to another individual,
    but as soon as I approach, she stopped and turned to me. She looked at
    me with compassion, and this is what she said:

    “These times are precious. Someday you will look back on this, and you will remember that this was a precious moment.”

    While precious can be taken to be rare and lovely, it finds its meaning
    in its fragility. Precious can also mean fleeting. These moments of
    childhood, rites of passage and stages of growth, are momentary. They
    are fleeting, and in and of themselves, they are strangely precious in
    their own little ways. Like a beautiful sunset that is here one moment
    and gone the next, so are the moments of childhood.

    My friend
    left this earth one year and two months ago. Her name was Wendy. She
    had five precious children who are now mostly grown and a few of which
    have gone on to live out their own lives with Significant Others. I
    often think of her and remember her advice to me that sunny August
    afternoon.

    While the moment itself was not a stellar parenting
    moment replete with triumph and victory, the snapshot I carry in my mind
    of that day was indeed memorable.
    And three years later, I can look back and say with my good friend: those days were indeed precious.

    Mamas, you will get through this. You will survive. And there will
    come a day when you will reach that light at the end of the tunnel. And
    you will look back and remember that it was indeed a precious time.
    And when that moment comes, Dear Friends: it will be well worth the
    journey.

  • Yes. Yes. Yes. As a mom of a 1 and 4 year old I can totally relate to this. God is gracious. He is merciful. God is patient. He knows our burdens, frayed patients, waning energy levels and repentant hearts. Praise to Him!

  • Loved this!!!! Speaking as a mom of a 23 year old son who is getting married this year and is loving and serving the Lord with all his heart, it is soooo worth it!!! I could have written most of your post…only back then Blogs weren’t out there, but my journals tell a similar story. Week after week my “number” would appear in a little box at the front of the church beckoning me to the nursery. Sometimes it would happen multiple times in a service until I relented and just stayed there. As my son grew we had “cheerios and juice” that only came out on Communion Sundays (how can we expect little ones to understand why mommy and daddy get a snack and they don’t). He had books and paper in the pew (he’d watch us writing and taking notes) . And yes, we too experienced the embarrassing moments when we wanted to crawl under the closest hiding place available…especially the afternoon of a Pastor’s ordination service and we had relented in allowing him to sit with some friends…in the front row. Not a wise decision…especially when the three boys were left alone during a special prayer time in the middle of the service. When tiny giggles errupted to loud laughter….my husband couldn’t get to him fast enough! We were told later by many that they were finally pleased to see our son was normal. Yes it’s hard work, but most good and rewarding things are hard . Now as I look to the front of the church most Sundays and see my son on the worship team, or Directing Day Camp in the summer at the church, or as he teaches in a Christian school, or looking forward to his marriage to a darling Chrisitan girl, every minute was soooo worth it. His little mind heard truth from an early age and despite the tears and exhaustion etc… I will forever thank the Lord for helping me to parent in the pew . Blessings to you.

    • Ha, I have said the same thing about communion SO many times! Extra snacks on hand on those Sundays, for sure! Thank goodness we aren’t doing this parenting thing alone.

  • i feel sorry for your kids. They’re going to probably be racist, homophobic, transphobic, and extremely closed minded all together. 🙁 I pray they get out of that church.

    • I don’t know much about Lauren’s specific church, but I know her. She is bubbling with love and the desire to share about Jesus, and I have always been impressed with how much her heart goes with others who are in need. It is challenging when we have different views about what church should be and what it should teach, but I wouldn’t stress too much, Lena G Bunny. These kiddos will grow up knowing that they are loved and that they should always be looking to help others and we definitely need more of that in this world.

  • My 10 yr old son sits in the pew nexf to me with tablet in hand playing Minecraft, but I know he hears, my 12 yr old daughter sits on the otherside of me doodling in the little notebook she keeps with her Bible, but I know she hears. Both are raiding the baggy of hard candy, but I know they hear. I am planting the seed, and I know they hear, and one day they also will look up and listen attentively, they will sing from the hymnal without looking, they will kneel at the alter and know why they did so…… because I know, though they may not look like it, they hear.

    • Yes! Planting seeds of Truth in our kids hearts and minds is exactly what we need to be doing. Good job, mama!

  • Isaiah 40:10-11 “Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” You are being gently lead, sweet mama! I have loved that verse. My one recommendation would be to not worry about who is wearing what, including yourself. Don’t make more work for yourself by “dressing up.” Our Father knows. It is more important that you are there with a desire to learn than anything else. Maybe have a special (but comfortable) outfit they can wear ONLY to church. Those little dress clothes can sure be uncomfortable. You will still end up leaving many services. But always remember that He knows! And His response is to GENTLY lead those with young. What an awesome picture of the love of our Great God. <3

  • Lauren… I could have written this. You so beautifully put to words my every Sunday! The tears, frustration, loneliness, wondering if I will ever get to listen and learn again! We are also a very small church, with my family being pretty much the young family of the church, with one 16 mo old little guy and me 30 weeks pregnant with our little girl. For the most part, people are considerate with my navigating ‘toddlerhood’ for the first time, but I have had an older lady snapping at me for my then 14 month old making too much noise ‘coloring’ with his crayon in the back pew. (The ‘children should be seen not heard’ crowd makes me crazy!)

    My hubby is a deacon, SS teen teacher, song leader, sound room guy and youth leader, so I have very, very little help at church. I can’t tell you how much your post encouraged me by my realizing I’m not the only young mama in these shoes, with these feelings! <3 Thank you so much for writing this! <3

  • Young moms, you are doing such important work when you bring your children to worship. As an older (60) woman without children, I have a suggestion. Please seek out one of us older women and ask her to sit with you during worship. She would love knowing that she is helping you. It will make her feel that she is necessary to the congregation. It might be the one thing that relieves the depression she is hiding thinking she is useless and forgotten. Stay the course and know that your efforts are not wasted.

  • I am also that mom. One night while we were having a revival my daughter took off running down the aisle toward our pastor. The pastor’s wife motioned for me to stay seated and I watched as my pastor reached down and picked her up and held her until service was over. I am now embarrassed that I am often found during service by one of the deacons having a snack so morning sickness doesn’t get the better of me. He never says anything. Just smiles.

    I take comfort in remembering that at 1 week old, my husband and I stood in front of our congregation and dedicated ourselves to raising our daughter to know Christ. The entire church stood up and said they would help us. So…when my daughter makes too much noise, causes a scene, or accidentally exposes the entire nursery to Hand, Foot, and Mouth (I thought it was a heat rash), I may be embarrassed, but I also know that my church family will continue to love and support me. They promised!