No doubt that mamas of littles need the spiritual food and adult companionship that can be found in attending a good church. But sometimes getting there can be so hard, especially if you ever have to go by yourself with the children. Today I’m going to share a few ways that I make this process easier at our house. (And, as always, this is one woman’s story; there are other ways.)
1. Go to bed earlier to get up earlier. Please don’t just try to get up earlier unless you want to embarrass yourself snoring during church. Or doing that whole drop-head-jerk-it-back-up thing. Stop whatever you are doing and put yourself in bed as soon as possible. Then get up and give yourself a few precious minutes alone (or if your kids pop up when you do, at least you have a few extra minutes to snuggle and love on them).
2. Lay out the kids’ clothes the night before. For some unknown reason, finding church clothes for the boys takes me five minutes on a Saturday night and thirty minutes Sunday morning. Lay it all out: socks, underwear, hair bows if you have girls.
3. Pick out, try on, and approve your own clothes. Don’t just throw together an outfit and decide it will do unless you know you love it. Especially if you’re pregnant or postpartum, try it on. Otherwise you’ll be trying to pick out another outfit in the morning when you hate the first one and you have the bonus of feeling ugly/fat/dissatisfied. Put the clothes on your body and decide if you like them. Then take a picture so you can remember it for later.
4. Pick a simple breakfast and eat it every Sunday. Save yourself the mental fatigue or the argument with the kids over what’s for breakfast. We do chocolate muffins (from a mix) every single Sunday morning- and only Sunday morning. The kids look forward to it and I never have to think about it. I’ve also always loved the idea of making Sundays special.
5. Pack the diaper bag + anything else you need the night before. Again, a process that seems to take an hour if I wait until Sunday morning. Stock up on diapers, wipes, extra clothes, whatever you carry. Lay out Sunday school materials, music, teaching materials, etc, the night before so you can just grab your bag in the morning.
6. Have the kids stay at the table if they aren’t the one you are getting ready and then have them sit back down. Getting one kid at a time ready cuts down on sibling fights and lessens the chances of everyone running through the house screaming when you just want them to put on their shoes. Granted, you also have to teach them to stay in their seats but it’s worth the effort.
7. Build in buffer time. If you know you HAVE to leave by 8:45 to get to church, plan to leave by 8:30. Then when you are undoubtedly behind you still have a few extra minutes.
8. Be committed. If attending church is optional, you’re going to skip when you get frustrated in the morning. Tell yourself- and the kids- “we just go to church” and push through the hard and get there. Then when you drop the kids off in their classes to learn with their friends, you can sit in peace and quiet with adults and soak up some knowledge too.