A Church Prayer for Mothers of Toddlers
Most people go to church expecting an hour or so of peace and solitude. It’s a time of quiet reflection and usually people leave church feeling serene.
Not me. I usually walk out of church sweaty, hair mussed up, battered and bruised, clothing in a bunch with a tight smile that says I am barely holding it together.
You see, for the past 10 years or so, I’ve always had a toddler with me at church. And like their bathroom etiquette, they have a bag of tricks reserved just for church.
Don’t believe me? Here are several I have endured.
It starts innocently enough. Your toddler starts looking at the hymnal peacefully and you think you might finally have a quiet hour. Then, they start collecting all the hymnals and building a tower in the pew. Once it has reached sufficient height, they knock it over and the books clatter down on to the floor making a racket.
Don’t bother doing your hair when you have a toddler. When you are holding them in your arms so they can “see,” they will turn around and start rearranging your hair. Hair clip – gone, smooth hair ends up looking like it spent the better part of the hour being rubbed with a balloon.
The cleavage plunge
Every so often my toddler will suddenly stab his hand down the front of my shirt in between my boobs. It usually also involves pulling my shirt down far enough to expose my navel. Supposedly he is looking for my necklace, but sometimes I can’t help wondering what is really going on.
There is nothing cuter than a toddler singing along in church. Except when he doesn’t stop. Ever.
The skirt lifter
I rarely wear a skirt or dress. And nylons/tights – forget about it. Nylons and tights invite exploration with little hands, invariably lifting my skirt higher and higher. When I am standing up in church, apparently there is nothing more fun then standing in between my legs under my skirt playing peek-a-boo. Even when I am sitting, skirts are a problem. A toddler shifting around on my lap leads to a flash of thigh to my saintly neighbor trying to focus on the sermon.
Kids can’t keep still. There will always be a part of them moving. And if you ask them to sit still in a pew, then their legs will be going a mile a minute. They kick the seat in front of them, they kick the kneeler, they even kick their own feet together. If they are sitting on your lap, then your legs are on the receiving end of the reverse kick. I always leave church with a series of bruises up and down my shins.
This move is usually reserved for when were are kneeling. My toddler insists on kneeling in front of me with my arms clasped around him. It should be a sweet, endearing moment. However, I am usually trying to avoid the moment when he bolts up onto his feet smashing the top of his head into the under side of my jaw.
As you can imagine church is a challenge. Sometimes I leave saying my very own special prayer.