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Clergy spouses--check in here! - Page 3

post #41 of 182
Thanks! I knew y'all could make me feel less stressed about it!

Most people thought it was cute...
I would think it would be extremely welcoming to other parents of little ones to see the pastor's wife struggling with the same things they do, toddler behavior issue-wise.
Everyone I've talked to with small children actually likes that my kids are not perfect in church- it doesn't set the standard impossibly high.
All of these statements echo the only comments I've ever personally gotten....to our faces, everyone says how good it is to see the pastor's family in a "real" light, even when that means occasional struggles. Lots of times, ds1 (5.5 years) will sit up front with dh, and sit on the front pew by himself through the sermon. He does really well FTMP, plays quietly with a couple legos or toy cars, and doesn't cause a bit of distraction. But there have been a few times when dh had to interrupt his sermon to remind ds to sit still or be quieter (because I was on the other side of the church, there was no way I could have caught his attention). But after each of those times, I've had so many people (mostly moms, I'll admit) tell me how nice it was, how encouraging it was to see him step between his role as pastor and his role as father that way. That's why is was even more unbelievable to hear that "several" people had complained, yk?

Do the complainers have children- and if so, how long has it been since they were toddlers?
Umm, yeah, they have children. The youngest, however, is older than my dh! They also have grandchildren, but they--of course--are perfect (and rarely at church, but I digress)!

SheBear, have you "practiced" church?
Yes, as I mentioned in my looooooooooong post, we do this, both at home for our evening devotions and when we can manage it (maybe a couple times during the week) we also go to the church and practice in the real setting. And it is working....and it worked with the other kids, too. But it's not going to happen overnight! Church people, more than anyone (IMO), ought to understand that overcoming our human nature is a long, continuous process--why should it be any different for children?? And I know that this stage is temporary, we'll all get through it....but why can't THEY see that? Why make a difficult time worse for us by making us feel bad about it without offering any solution/advice/help?

The ironic thing? The thing that has helped me most in getting through this stage (with each of the kids) was remembering how this particular deacon's wife told me that one of her sons was HORRIBLE during church, and that it continued to be a battle with him for over a year! And she said that it finally got to the point where she realized that he would do anything to get taken out of the sanctuary (even though it meant he would be spanked ). She said once she realized that, there were a few months where she just had to duck her head in embarrassment and beg the rest of the congregation to bear with them, because she refused to take him out of the service after that.

Anyway, I've always remembered that, and gotten comfort from knowing that at least they understood intimately what was going on, and would cut me some slack due to having BTDT....or so I thought.

But we shall survive....and you know, if all that comes from this is that people realize and acknowledge that accomodations for families with small children need to be made a high priority (no, we can't afford to do the whole building project yet--and that may not happen for several years--but we could afford to start on it, to at least build on a comfortable spot for parents (Dh and i were talking about that last night and I told him that when it's done, I'm gonna insist on a plaque declaring it to be the "Andrew Lastname Memorial Cry Room" ).

Anyway, I feel much more at peace about it now....we have a plan. Dh is going to ask for a conference immediately after services tomorrow to discuss the issue (of an acommodation, not our son!) with the whole church. And I'm going to start sitting in the verrrrry back pew, and the first time ds makes a peep, I'll take him out, comfort him, etc. The second time, I'll gather up our stuff and we'll go home. Dh thinks (hopes) that it will only take a time or two of that for people to realize how ridiculous it is! Especially if the deacon has to drive dh home! Okay, so maybe that's not nice (we'll probably just take 2 cars for awhile) but it would be funny!
post #42 of 182
When my oldest was that age, he actually escaped and ran up to the chancel and DH ended up preaching with a toddler on his hip.
We haven't had any total escapes yet, but several close calls with all the kids! And I usually let the youngest go stand by daddy at the end of the service, and he'll hold them for the closing prayer. Guess that will have to stop, too!

This was also the stage when he (the oldest) would start shouting "AMEN!" when he felt his daddy's prayers and sermons had gone on long enough.
That is too cute! ds2 yells "Amen!" too, but when he says it, it sounds more like Swiper the Fox (on Dora the Explorer) when he says "Awww, man!"
post #43 of 182
Church starts for us at 10:30 am. We made it until 10:37 am.

post #44 of 182
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by SheBear View Post
Church starts for us at 10:30 am. We made it until 10:37 am.

Similar experience for Sunday School this morning (and I'm a teacher!)
post #45 of 182
Since your church can't actually build a Cry Room, would it be feasible to have a room wired to where you can hear the service? Or maybe put a closed circuit tv in the nursery so that you can watch/listen. Our last church had that it was nice.

COULD IT BE that maybe people always jump at the chance to gossip, put down, slander the pastor and his family? Maybe that is what this REALLY is all about. Not your parenting skills and your child's behavior. This is how it always is for us. Regular members are just too quick to judge us b/c they have this weird standard that they think we should be living up to...which is really stupid. So if one minut thing happens, it's blown out of proportion.

Your hubby is awesome!
post #46 of 182
Well, the prob with the building is that there IS no such room. There's just the lobby, 2 bathrooms, the sanctuary, and the fellowship hall. Oh, and a small pastor's study behind the pulpit (would be waaaaay distracting for me to go in there during the service! ) and a broom closet.

So, until we actually build *something* there just are literally zero options. It's just an old building, built before such amenities were given much thought, yk?

Good thing is, this situation has lit a fire under dh to really be pressing the issue of an expansion. It would be quite possible to add a small section to the existing building and have it wired with closed-circuit TV, etc. It's just up til now, no one wanted to be bothered with an interim plan...everyone was just excited about the big, long-range building plan, KWIM? But it's obvious (to us anyway, and dh is trying to make it obvious to others!) that we can't just muddle through until the new church is built. We NEED something to address this issue right now. So, that's where it stands...

As far as the motivation for the complaint, I really do think it was mostly a double standard thing. Because there are at least 3 other toddlers in the same age-range as ds who also regularly make noise during service, and nothing was said to or about any of them.

And dh said that after I left church yesterday, the 2 little foster girls I mentioned made QUITE a racket, and yet the deacon who had such a problem with our son just went on and on about what a blessing they were, and how good it is to hear children's voices in church! (which is absolutely the attitude I would want him to have....I just want it extended to my kid, too!)

Fine....I know the double standard is pretty much inevitable. I've always known that, and expected it to some degree. It just frustrated me more than I expected when it actually happened! Which is why venting to y'all was so helpful!
post #47 of 182
Originally Posted by SheBear View Post
Well, here's the situation. Our church puts family-integrated worship as a high priority. We don't have Sunday Schools, or staffed nurseries....we believe that children should be welcomed into the worship service as part of the family, part of the church, and not separated from their families.
I envy that a lot. Dh was the "Pastor of Children and Family Ministries" at an EFCA church up until July of this year. We were there for a little over two years and ended up leaving because we were very much more into family ministry as in the whole family together and they were very much the "children can't learn outside their own age group" and "children should not be in the main church service, they belong in the children's programs." It went very much all the way to the top with the senior pastor often asking my dh why he couldn't point out to families that they *needed* to take their children to the appropriate location.

*sigh* I don't know why I didn't think of posting a thread like this back then...it certainly would have been nice to see that we weren't the only ones.

Anyways...back to your regularly scheduled discussion. We're still trying to figure out where to go from here (home church?) while adjusting to life on the "other side". Still struggling with finding a church where children are welcomed...it's kind of sad, really...
post #48 of 182
That's a tough spot, pampered_mom! I am so thankful for our church, in spite of my current aggravation (which I know is just temporary and it is already starting to work out!)

We went to a different church one night to hear a special speaker. Ds1 was barely (maybe) a year old, and this was a totally strange church to us.....no way we would have put him in the nursery even if we'd been otherwise inclined, yk? We hadn't been there 10 minutes before we'd been approached by at least 5 different people, all of whom wanted to show us to the nursery. They were of course very pleasant and helpful--up until we made it clear we didn't intend to drop him off with strangers in a strange place! At that point, almost as if they'd been trained to do it, each of them had identical reactions--their lips tightened, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed. Then they all said, "Well....I guess that's okay if you want to try it. But if he gets fussy, you know you're going to have to leave with him."

Don't get me wrong, I respect their position and their right to conduct services as they see fit, but I do think it would do ALL churches well to learn to be more friendly and welcoming to families--especially new families! Some families may be perfectly happy with a nursery arrangement in a church where they are at home and know the other members, etc., but walking into a new church? Well, i can't think of a single mom of my acquaintance who would willingly turn her child over to a staff of strangers!

Anyway, I know what a blessing our church is, and I try hard not to take it for granted. I don't know anything about EFCA, or what your doctrinal beliefs are, but if you want to PM me with your location, I'd be happy to ask dh if he knows of any family-friendly churches in your area!

post #49 of 182
Hi there! I don't exactly fit in here I guess. I'm a pastor's wife but I'm also an ordained minister too and DH and I just started sharing one full time position at a church. We belong to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Anyway. For the last four years I wasn't working and so a lot of what you were writing really resonated with me. Especially your last issue, SheBear. My girls (2 and 4 now) both went through stages where they would FREAK out when they saw DH at the pulpit. "DADDY! DADDY! HI DADDY!!" They wouldn't stop til he acknowledged them. The church was totally understanding and even liked it. I think those people have other issues. I swear, some people just look for things to pick on pastors about especially if they are bothered by something they won't tell you that thing. YKWIM? I'm always suspicious of the, "A lot of people have complained to me thing." I feel like people just say that sometimes to give an extra boost to their complaints. In our new church, my just turned 4 YO had a bad Sunday last Sunday. She was feeling insecure and didn't want to leave us. She ended up coming and sitting with us on the chancel til Children's Moment. And when I was asking for prayer concerns she jumped in and gave a long explanation about this cat she saw at the vet's office she needed to put on the prayer list. : No one minded.
I wish I had found you all when we were at our last church and I wasn't working. I had a lot of the people expecting more of me because I was the pastor's wife. It was hard. Anyway. Thanks for listening!
post #50 of 182
Originally Posted by sunnylady303 View Post
We belong to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
We belong to the Christian Church too! Not DOC though. I agree with you on people just wanting to pick apart the pastor's family.
post #51 of 182
Originally Posted by sunnylady303 View Post
I'm always suspicious of the, "A lot of people have complained to me thing."
I was always suspicious of that as well...especially when it came from the senior pastor and he could never tell dh who it was that was part of the "a lot of people". Dh is such an approachable person, I could never understand why people couldn't just come right up to him and let him know their concerns. Especially since that's what Jesus said we were supposed to do first.

SheBear - We're not particularly sold on any particular denomination, the EFCA was just where we ended up when searching for a job. The particular church where we were at is somewhat indicative of the EFCA and in other ways not (the EFCA is one of those "independent" associations meaning there are certain things that all EFCA churches hold in common, but large variations when it comes down to particular churches). It was unfortunate because they presented themselves as one way when we were going through the whole hiring process, but within the first year it became clear that they weren't how they presented themselves to be - wishful thinking?

I guess right now we're struggling with reconciling "church" as it is usually practiced in the west with the desire to not spend so much money on buildings, programs, etc (or $30,000 on a sign) and rather spending that money on actually helping people in the community. We're thinking something ala "Organic Church" by Neil Cole.

I'm glad to hear that your situation is already starting to work out. I think that having children in the service is so important. I think that by modeling our faith in that way (and them seeing other people, other ages) can speak so much louder than any words we may have to say.
post #52 of 182
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by pampered_mom View Post
I was always suspicious of that as well...especially when it came from the senior pastor and he could never tell dh who it was that was part of the "a lot of people". Dh is such an approachable person, I could never understand why people couldn't just come right up to him and let him know their concerns. Especially since that's what Jesus said we were supposed to do first.
People relying on an "invisible army" rarely have a leg to stand on.

Things have been really tough since DH was made senior. He is going in around 8:30, coming home between 5 and 5:30, and then going back from 6:30 til 9 or 10.
post #53 of 182
annettemarie - That time table is pretty common around here, too. dh now tries, as often as possible, to come home before 4:00 if he is going to be out for the evening - that way he is home and ready to play with the kids and eat with us if he won't be home for bedtime. Fortunately, he is in a church that is very supportive of him as a father. For a couple of years he was in a church that didn't support his home life and it was very hard on us all - it was when we were homeschooling. This church is wise enough to know that caring for their pastor makes him much better at his job!
post #54 of 182
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping it will get easier once they hire an associate or an administrator, but for now, it's really hard. We were considering bringing Michael home anyway (he's our only one in public school) but one of the reasons we're really super seriously considering it is so we can have a little time together as a family.
post #55 of 182
annettemarie - I know it can be tough both on your dh and the family!
post #56 of 182
It is hard when your hubby is expected to do it all. My hubby is the youth/children's/associate minister. So he is spread real thin. Gone every night of the week..
post #57 of 182
Thread Starter 
So, tonight I'm going to see Hairspray! I'm so excited. I pumped milk for the baby, which I've never done before, and DH is taking him (Daniel) with him to the church for a baptismal counseling meeting. A youth group kid is coming over to sit for the other three.I don't know if he'll take the milk or not, but I'll only be gone a couple hours, so it won't be the end of the world if he doesn't, although I hate to think of him being sad without me.

But I'm excited. DH has worked 12 days straight with no break, which means I've been "working" 12 days straight with no break. And this is supposed to be a great touring company, and I am a Broadway freak.

If you have a second, say a little prayer than Daniel does OK.
post #58 of 182
Hey, this is cool! I was wondering if there was a a thread sorta like this earlier today. I am a PK(preacher's kid), so I understand lot of the things you all talk about.
post #59 of 182
Wow! Long time no see! How's everyone doing?

We are doing well...the church is growing and seems to be thriving. Another church (in another part of the state) appears to be "courting" dh....if they call him as pastor (and if he accepts the call--he's not real sure how he feels about it yet) we'd be moving, which of course is very difficult to consider, but also exciting in other ways. It would be a much smaller church, one that desperately needs to grow and become a part of the town/community it is in....right now it is just a handful of people--wonderful, good-hearted people, but they don't know how to reach out into the community, how to see the needs and figure out ways to fill them, yk? The idea of serving such a church is both exciting and scary!

Our present church was a lot that way 10 years ago, when we first moved here, and God has blessed it--and blessed dh's ministry--in a wonderful way. I know He could bless this other church similarly, but it is still hard to think about leaving this church, where my kids have formed friendships and attachments. If we moved, we would literally be the only people under the age of 40! There are currently no children in the church--none! That's scary, but I know God could bless, and would bless if we are faithful!

So anyway, just thought I'd share since y'all know where I'm coming from, and because I obviously can't say anything to anyone in real life!
post #60 of 182
Thread Starter 
It's great to hear from you, mama!

I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but will definitely be back!
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