Crabby Pants Sunday

Who would have thought taking one little baby to church would be such an exhausting ordeal?  I knew having a baby would change everything in my life, including Sunday mornings.  However, I never expected to be completely drained of energy after a couple of hours at church.

The morning starts with a scramble to get ready.  Will Baby Girl sleep contentedly after her first morning feed and give me time to pump, get dressed, eat, and possibly drink my coffee?  Or will she sleep fitfully for a half hour and then want to be held?  Then there’s the feeding that needs to be done before we leave.

Then there’s the flustered bit of settling in before church begins: Put on Moby Wrap.  Get Baby Girl out of car seat.  Force a nice smile to the congregation members who come to peek at Baby Girl.

As church begins, I usually walk out of the sanctuary so I can try to get Baby Girl to sleep in her wrap.  She’ll usually fall into a light sleep as I pace back and forth for a half hour.  She might doze for the rest of the service but will quickly reawaken as church ends and the noise increases.

There’s more forced smiles as other congregation members come to say hi to Baby Girl.  Yes, she’s a good baby.  Yes, she sleeps well.  Thank you, we think she’s sweet, too.

Then it’s time to feed again, so I duck into the cry room because I haven’t mastered the art of nursing without inadvertently flashing those around me.  By the time she finishes feeding and I change her diaper, Bible study is almost done and it’s time to go home.

Today went much like this, only little extra stressors kept piling on top of each other.  Baby Girl fed extra long for her second feeding, so we left the house later then I wanted.  The furnace at church was set to “sauna”, so Baby Girl and I were both stifling as I paced around with her strapped to me.  She fell asleep for 15 minutes and woke up during the closing hymn, so I knew she would get fussy from being overtired.  People were extra enthused to see her because she was awake, so more forced smiles.  The cry room was just as hot as the sanctuary, so Baby Girl and I both sweated as she tried to nurse under the cover.  Then my nipple shield fell off and I couldn’t find it, so Baby Girl screamed as I tried to get her to latch on without it.  Finally, she spit up all over my shoulder.

At this point, I was ready to call it quits and go home but Baby Girl needed a clean diaper.  She cried as I changed her, cried as I tried to gather our things, and cried as I put her in the car seat.

She promptly fell asleep when we reached the quiet seclusion of our home.  I then had time to ponder what was the point of working so hard on Sunday morning and leaving church without the smallest bit of peace.

I know the “right” answers:  I’m teaching my child how to go to church.  I don’t have to “feel” anything to have God’s gifts work during the service.  Oh, and I should suck it up and deal with it because women get to church with 2, 3, 4, or more kids every Sunday.

However, I’m still grumpy and tired after this morning’s service.  So what do you do when you feel you need to go to church after you’ve been to church?



5 Comments on “Crabby Pants Sunday”

  1. Rebekah says:

    First of all, as a mom of five, let me tell you that at no point while reading this did I EVER think to myself, “Suck it up girl, I gotta do it with five.” I was nodding my head (and maybe chuckling a little because for some reason it is much funnier to read about it happening to someone else than actually living it).

    It is getting better for me now because I now sit with a couple from church. So there are three adults for five kids, it spreads out the work. But there is still the getting ready and all that. Thankfully, all we have to do is walk next door for church, but I have l left church many times crying, holding a crying baby, deciding it just wasn’t worth staying.

    I have always thought Sunday mornings to be the most exhausting and my least favorite time of the week. I am just now getting to the point where I don’t hate going to church. I actually am starting to like it again. I don’t say that to be depressing, just to be honest. I will say though, that I have never REGRETTED going. All the times I told myself it was pointless, but went anyway, in the end looking back now, I am glad we went.

    The best advice I can offer is to expect all this. If you go in expecting to be able to sit and ponder a scripture reading, or to be able to concentrate and enjoy even one verse of a hymn, you will be disappointed and frustrated with humanity, and worse, your child. But if you don’t expect those things, those times when they actually happen, will seem like magical gifts. It was through motherhood, and often those feelings experienced during about church, that taught me the meaning behind the words: “Lord be merciful to me, a poor sinful being.

    And thanks be to God, He is.

    • Katrina says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Rebekah! I knew church would eventually get hard after having a kid, I just thought it would be easier while the baby is still in the “portable” stage.

  2. Julie Wall says:

    A some point, some lovely congregation member will ask if he or she can cuddle the crying baby. You say, “She’s a little fussy…” When they still want to cuddle the crying darling, you let them and enjoy a little time in the Word. You are blessing that person with that cuddle time and you are getting blessed to. It all balances out. Steve takes every crying baby from every frustrated momma at church. He loves the snuggle whether they are crying or peaceful. He only hands them back when they poop….

    • Katrina says:

      Thanks for that perspective, Julie. I guess one of the disadvantages of being so new to the congregation is that we’re all still trying to figure each other out!

  3. […] wrote about how difficult Sunday mornings are a few months ago.  However, yesterday I realized that Sundays have gotten easier than when […]

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